Media Literacy Week! (Day 3)

Wednesday, October 23rd

This week is U.S. Media Literacy Week! The mission of the week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education all across the country.

So far this week we have learned what Media Literacy is, examined our own media usage, and gained an understanding that all media messages are constructed. We also learned that the authors of those messages have a purpose for sending those messages and usually something to gain from them.

Today, we’ll discuss stereotypes in media messages and how to teach students to recognize them. We are all familiar with librarian stereotypes. Just type the word “librarian” into a Google Image search, and it returns a multitude of mostly white, mostly female, glasses-wearing, book-carrying, sometimes shushing images. Luckily librarians are trained to deal with this type of thing, and many of us have embraced this stereotype as a long-standing tradition. (See Nancy Pearl Librarian Action Figure, “With Amazing push-button Shushing Action!”). –>

Stereotypes are exaggerated beliefs about a person or group of people. By learning more about stereotyping and how to identify it in media messages, students will learn to understand their own exaggerated beliefs and perceptions.

Renee Hobbs, a professor and founder of the Media Education Lab, offered this activity idea in her twitter feed:

This activity can be adapted to have students re-design advertisements, reshoot commercials, or redevelop websites. Get creative! You can also use these resources compiled by Frank W. Baker’s Media Literacy Clearinghouse:

See if your students can identify a stereotype in a form of media and bring it in to you tomorrow.

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