A brand new Media Literacy Training Invoice?

A brand new Media Literacy Training Invoice?Bournemouth’s Professor Julian McDougall, head of the college’s Centre for Excellence in Media Follow, assesses the findings and suggestions of a report from the All-Social gathering Parliamentary Group on Media Literacy, which requires a brand new Media Literacy Training Invoice.

In late March, I attended and wrote a couple of Westminster Discussion board internet occasion on Subsequent steps for tackling pretend information and bettering media literacy. There, LSE’s Sonia Livingstone reminded attendees of the fluid and dynamic nature of media literacy and the necessity for it to facilitate deeper, vital understanding of media versus what I name a solutionist rhetoric. Sonia lamented the absence of a shared analysis framework, citing a latest examine by her LSE colleague Lee Edwards and likewise stressing her concern, shared by all of us working in media training, that the UK Authorities’s On-line Security Invoice is essentially ignoring training. Addressing the ‘data dysfunction’ requires not simply regulation and on-line sources however, as I’ll talk about right here, a transparent academic coverage.

In April, the All-Social gathering Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Media Literacy printed a report into the media literacy panorama in England, which concludes by recommending a brand new Media Literacy Training Invoice as an pressing precedence for presidency:

Introduce a Media Literacy Training Invoice to drive the implementation of media literacy training in academic institutions consulting kids and younger individuals on their experiences of media literacy training.

Nonetheless, the context for that is necessary, lest we elevate our hopes too excessive, too quickly. An APPG is a casual cross-party coalition of back-bench MPs and Lords who look right into a coverage situation and make suggestions to authorities however don’t have any official standing inside parliament, and this is likely to be why no point out was manufactured from this work on the discussion board occasion, and likewise why it may not go additional. We will see.

Report findings and key suggestions

The APPG’s doc assesses academics’ perceptions of scholars’ media literacy, with 52{66dc31293c2260cb9172669df609ae161dc6e72a8b49d2ae72b9a1fbbc7d2bf4} judging this to be missing of their college students, and reporting that solely 7{66dc31293c2260cb9172669df609ae161dc6e72a8b49d2ae72b9a1fbbc7d2bf4} of faculties take into account media literacy to be part of their citizenship curriculum. The group conclude with a set of suggestions, motivated by this new Media Literacy Training Invoice, together with a media literacy lead in each faculty to supervise the combination of media literacy into the nationwide curriculum.

Within the element of the report, the APPG has recognized the issues we within the media training neighborhood have lengthy been conscious of. These embody the small numbers of scholars taking GCSE Media Research (round 20,000) and the absence of media literacy within the citizenship curriculum. The connection between these domains has been assessed in depth by Gianfranco Polizzi on this weblog.

However – bizarrely, in my opinion – the advice is for each the GCSE Media Research studying goal for college kids to “develop and apply their understanding of the media by each analysing and producing media merchandise” and the Key Stage 4 component of Computing which goals to “develop their functionality, creativity and information in digital media” to be situated as an alternative within the English curriculum. How English itself would must be reformed to accommodate this isn’t inside the scope of the report which recommends:

Combine core on-line media literacy abilities corresponding to fact- checking, the creation of digital media and the ideas of disinformation, misinformation and malinformation inside the English nationwide curriculum and differentiate these abilities for learners of all ages.

A greater plan could be to reform the Media Research curriculum to be extra straight aligned with the imperatives of media literacy within the digital ecosystem and make this a compulsory topic in each faculty.

In any other case, there’s an inherent contradiction in, on the identical time, lastly recognising the pressing vitality of media literacy for each little one in each faculty while hiding it away inside English. The problematic cultural politics with regard to integrating media inside English have been addressed greater than as soon as, most not too long ago right here by Steve Connolly.

The report’s diagnoses are necessary and sobering, however hardly stunning. The impression of the DfE’s non-statutory steering on misinformation is minimal – 47{66dc31293c2260cb9172669df609ae161dc6e72a8b49d2ae72b9a1fbbc7d2bf4} of academics had not heard of it, solely 14{66dc31293c2260cb9172669df609ae161dc6e72a8b49d2ae72b9a1fbbc7d2bf4} of faculties have carried out the suggestions. The brand new On-line Media Literacy Technique, with its allocation of funding to the stakeholders recognized by the mapping train, and training, on-line security invoice and proposed laws are included within the APPG report, however with no clear sense of any of this being ‘joined up’ with the suggestions right here for training.

Additional suggestions

The important thing advice is for this new Media Literacy Training Invoice to replace the curriculum, as detailed above, but additionally:

  • To rework trainer coaching and CPD with particular media literacy parts (that is one thing we will all get behind.)
  • A tradition and ethos change to incorporate extra connection between the web security invoice and college management technique; the aforementioned lead in every faculty for ML, but additionally a collaboration between Ofcom and Ofsted to “replace the varsity inspection framework to increase the safeguarding duties of faculties to incorporate making affordable efforts to coach kids to be media literate and protected on-line.”
  • A media literacy toolkit is to be produced for the DCMS portal; all academic institutions are to have a media literacy coverage and funding needs to be allotted to assist mother and father, households, media organisations and wider society.
  • There may be additionally a route for Ofcom to replace their definition to incorporate ‘larger order considering abilities’ and for a UK Media Literacy discussion board to “collaborate with world strategic companions just like the European Fee, U.S. Division of State and UNESCO.”

The dangers of solutionism

These proposed interventions in faculties are located as one a part of a broader ‘pathway to constructing stronger disinformation resilience’. The solutionist rhetoric is, after all, one other case of beginning out from the mistaken place.

As David Buckingham wrote in 2017 about the concept that media literacy is the reply to ‘pretend information’:

This argument clearly frames media literacy as a protectionist enterprise, a type of prophylactic. It oversimplifies the issue it purports to deal with, overstates the affect of media on younger individuals and underestimates the complexity of media training.

This has been additionally argued, from an proof base of a long time of analysis, on my own and plenty of others corresponding to Sonia Livingstone, Steve Connolly and the Media Training Affiliation, our personal work in CEMP.

Though there’s reference to inventive engagement with media and important studying of media within the broader sense within the report, media literacy tends to be seen – because it does within the current authorities technique – as focussed on the web and resilience to misinformation as an ‘on-line hurt’, versus the extra holistic, agentive and dynamic method to the makes use of of media literacy for constructive change, which the analysis and training communities argue for, together with UNESCO, based mostly on a long time of analysis. This latter method addresses the paradox that unhealthy media ecosystems aren’t brought on by a scarcity of media literacies a lot because the poisonous makes use of of them.


We are able to lament the shortage of joined up considering, the absence of any recognized, significant session with media literacy analysis communities and the best way that the reductive and protectionist, regulatory framing of the web media literacy technique will almost definitely be repeated right here.  However to conclude, the core discovering – that UK faculties are not educating kids to have interaction critically with media – is true, and welcome. Likewise, the core advice – that each faculty needs to be mandated to coach kids about media. And there’s no argument in anyway in opposition to the introduction of a Media Literacy Training Invoice and the issues it could mobilise – trainer coaching, a useful resource toolkit and the inclusion of media literacy in how faculties are assessed.

Nonetheless, whether or not this occurs inside English (as proposed), by a brand new Media Literacy topic and qualification or by a reform of what’s already there (making Media Research a compulsory topic) is essential. To advise authorities on the urgency of tasking the DfE with the implementation of a Media Literacy Training invoice while on the identical time hiding the educating and studying of media literacy away inside English, is contradictory. Media literacy must be discovered by each little one at school as a core, discrete curriculum. This might be welcomed by mother and father, college students themselves and nearly all of faculty leaders, I’m positive. Something much less is a missed alternative.

This text displays the views of the writer and never these of the Media@LSE weblog nor of the London College of Economics and Political Science.

Featured picture: Photograph by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Hafidah Rosyid

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