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-a cross-media application;

-a theoretical application of the media;

-a conceptual framework;

-incorporates analysis of a message delivered by the media and the techniques used to create that message;

-borrows from communication, film and cultural studies;

-British, Australian and European influence.

Media Literacy builds on the following outcomes of Media Education and media studies:

-an awareness of the impact of media on the individual and society;

-an understanding of the process of mass communication;

-the ability to analyse and discuss media messages;

-an awareness of media context as a text that provides recognition of culture;

-production and analysis skills;

-traditional and non-traditional literacy skills;

-an enriched enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of media content.

Media Literacy: Teaching Through/About Media. There has also been confusion about teaching through media and teaching about media. Duncan (1993) states that teaching through the media, while concerned with the language of media, primarily focuses on using media as a vehicle to initiate discussion or as a motivator for Language Arts>

In teaching about the media, the delivery system, i.e. the medium and the message, are examined. Teaching about the media stems from the notion that media shape the world in which we live and therefore it is becoming increasingly important for students to understand the infrastructures of society. Media Education explores the media within a sociopolitical framework through analysis and production. This includes preparing students to understand the production and dissemination of information, the growth of media industry, the development of commercially based media, the role of advertising, and audience negotiation of print and non-print text(I.Rother).

We share the opinion of Ch.Worsnop, V.Gura, V.Monastyrsky, A.Korochensky, J.Pungente, S.Penzin, I.Rother, D.Suess, T.Shak and others who consider that media literacy is the intended outcome of media education. However, we also pay attention to the opinion of D.Lemish who says that originally there was a difference, with media education being more a wider concept and media literacy perceived as being more a specific translation of critical analysis of media. Media studies was more an academic term for theoretical studies. I think today it is almost impossible and unnecessary to separate between them. Therefore in my mind today they are interchangeable, and it is not beneficial to try to theoretically make a distinction. This is also the reason why I accepted all of the above definitions of media education and media literacy because I think they are either complementary or saying the same thing in different ways. It does not seem to me to be critical to agree on a very specific definition of such a wide field (D.Lemish).

Chart 3. The experts attitude to the main purposes of media education/media literacy


The main purposes of media education/media literacy:

Average of the points given by experts for this purpose:


to develop person’s critical thinking/autonomy



to develop an appreciation, perception and understanding & analysis of media texts



to prepare people for the life in the democratic society



to develop an awareness of social, cultural, political and economic implications of media texts (as constructions of media agencies)



to decode media texts/messages



to develop person’s communicative abilities



to develop an appreciation and aesthetic perception, understanding of media texts, estimation of aesthetical quality of media texts



to teach a person to express him/herself with the help of media



to teach a person to identify, interpret, and experience a variety of techniques used to create media products/texts



to learn about the theory of media and media culture

137 (47,90%)


to learn about the history of media and media culture


The analysis of the data of the Chart 3 shows that media education experts consider all the above mentioned aims important, but mostly distinguishing the development of critical thinking/critical autonomy (84,27%), the development of appreciation, perception and understanding & analysis of media texts (68,88%) and the preparation of a student for living in the democratic society(61,89%). The outsiders of the rating became such goals as to learn about the theory and history of media and media culture (from 37,76% to 47,90%).

Just the two experts expressed the wish to add to the list of media educational goals. Thus, the Russian media educator A.Korochenskyi thinks that another main purpose is the development of creative skills of students (with the development of critical thinking and critical autonomy) and the American R.Cornell adds to the list the goal to prepare media practitioners for a career in our field.

It should be noted that the foreign experts on the whole gave a higher rating for the goal of preparing students for the life in the democratic society, while their Russian colleagues paid more attention to the goal of developing skills of perception (including the aesthetics), evaluation, understanding of media texts. Besides, experts from all the countries placed the aim of the development of critical thinking and critical autonomy in the first place.

Comparing our results with the results of the similar survey, conducted by A.Sharikov in 1990 (23 experts took part in it) [Sharikov, 1990, p.50-51], we encounter the coincidence of the opinions concerning the importance of developing critical thinking abilities. But the high rating of the aim of the communicative abilities’ development, shown by the survey in 1990, didn’t repeat itself in our case.

The main theories of media education

The next question concerns what media education theories are considered most important by the experts. The results are present in Chart 4.

Chart 4. The experts’ attitude to the main theories of media education/media literacy


The main theories of media education/media literacy

The number of the experts, preferring to base on the given theory:


Critical Thinking/Critical Autonomy/Critical Democratic Approach



Cultural Studies Approach



Sociocultural Approach



Semiotic Approach



Practical/Hands-On Production Approach



Aesthetical/Media as Popular Arts Approach



Ideological Approach



Uses an Gratifications Approach



Inoculatory/Protectionist/Hypodermic Needle/Civil Defense Approach


Besides the theories given in the chart, some experts added other approaches that could be the basis for the media educational process: ethical, religious (S.Penzin), instructional systems design (R.Cornell).

The overwhelming majority (84,61%) singled out the approach of critical thinking as the leading one (that totally correspond to the leadership of the analogous aim in the previous question). Then quite evenly follow the cultural studies (69,23%), sociocultural (65,39%) and semiotic (57,69%) approaches. Predictably, the least popular among the experts (15,38%) is the protectionist approach (that is concentrating on the protection of the audience from the harmful influence of media). Besides, foreign experts support the practical approach, uses as gratifications approach and ideological theory, while the Russian-give preference to the aesthetical approach. The aesthetical orientation of the Russian media education has a long time tradition, so the results just confirmed a well-known fact. In our opinion, the non–popularity of the ideological approach among the Russian experts is quite comprehensible too: Russian pedagogic, having experienced the strict ideological pressing, today is very negative about the ideology in the educational process, although, ideology still (in an obvious or concealed manner) remains the influential power in any society, and therefore cannot but be reflected in any educational processes.

I understand media literacy as the result of media education. In general, predominant among media educational concepts are the cognitive, educational, and creative approaches to the use of mass media potential. However, at the implementation level most media educational approaches integrate the three components. These are:

  • acquiring knowledge about media history, structure, language, and theory —the cognitive component;
  • development of the ability to perceive media texts, to read their language; activation of imagination and visual memory; development of particular kinds of thinking (including critical, logical, creative, visual, and intuitive); informed interpretation of ideas (ethical or philosophical problems and democratic principles), and images — the educational component;
  • acquiring practical creative skills of working with media materials — creative component.

In each particular model these basic components are realized differently, depending on the conceptual preferences of the media educator.

The learning activities used in media education are also different: descriptive (re-create the media text, reconstruct the personages and events); personal (describe the attitudes, recollections, and emotions caused by the media text); analytical (analyze the media text structure, language characteristics, and viewpoints);>

Moreover, while working with media texts young people have many opportunities to develop their own creative habits and skills. For example, they may write reviews or mini-scripts; they are exposed to representations of their cultural heritage — and through these to the personal, historical, national, planetary and other perspectives on those events. While studying the main media cultural genres and forms, scanning the development of a particular theme within different genres or historical epochs, becoming familiar with the>

The important element in media education curriculum is the evaluation of the level of students media literacy.

Classification of Levels of Media Literacy/Media competence

Table 1. Media Literacy/Competence Levels’>

Media Literacy/Competence Indicators



Motives of contact with media: genre- or subject-based, emotional, epistemological, hedonistic, psychological, ethical, intellectual, esthetic, therapeutic, etc.

Contact (Communication)

Frequency of contact/communication with media


Knowledge of media terminology, theory, and history


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