Media Education in Canada: Enduring Issues and Recent Developments

TitleMedia Education in Canada: Enduring Issues and Recent Developments
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Landry, N.
Affiliation (1st Author)Teluq (Universite du Quebec)
Section or WGMedia Education Research Section
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeMERT1a
Slot Code (Keyword)MERT1a
Time of Session9:00-10:30
Session TitleMedia Education Policies in Evolution: Shaping the Agenda
Submission ID6021

Canada has a long history in media education (Andersen, Duncan and Pugente, 1999). Over the last four decades, Canadian educators, activists, academics, policymakers and public servants have worked to define the field by: refining the theories, arguments and core concepts of media education (Piette, 1996); defining pedagogical approaches and curricula surrounding the notion of media literacy (Silverblatt & Eliceiri, 1997); establishing pedagogical and socio-political objectives for media education (Aubin, 1998); and identifying key audiences and publics for media education (MediaSmarts, 2013). Although they are regularly positioned among the world’s leaders in these areas, Canadian media educators continue to face persistent difficulties, including a lack of resources, insufficient training and ambiguous objectives. This paper will provide a brief socio-historical presentation of media education in Canada, make a critical assessment of the current state of media education in the country, and provide a summary of the remaining conceptual ambiguity and theoretical controversies surrounding media education. In light of recent technological and pedagogical developments, this paper will also revisit what are arguably the key concepts for media education in Canada, as defined by the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Media Literacy Resource Guide (1989) and adapted in a number of ways since then (Share, 2009). The critical deconstruction of these foundational principles (or “concepts”) will provide the framework to address the difficulty of fostering media literacy in an ever-changing media environment. This paper will present the preliminary findings of research currently underway in partnership with the Quebec Press Council. Research questions include: What is the state of media education in Canada’s two most populous provinces? How does the persistence of conceptual confusion and theoretical disagreements in media education literature get translated in the practices of media educators? How is media education legitimized, explained and defined in these two provinces?  Focusing on Ontario and Quebec, this research is based on the analysis of policies, curricula, and media education toolkits, as well as on interviews with key actors in the field of media education.   Andersen, N. Duncan, B. and Pugente, J.J.  (1999). “Media education in Canada – the Second Spring.” In Feilitzen, C. von, and Carisson, U. (Eds.). Children and Media: Image, Education, Participation. Children and Media Violence. Yearbook from the UNESCO International Clearinghouse on Children and Violence on the Screen.  Göteborg: UNESCO, Nordicom. Pp.139-162. Aubin, F. (1998). La représentation du public en éducation aux médias du consommateur averti au citoyen éclairé. Montreal : Thèse (M. en communication)--Université du Québec à Montréal. Media Smarts: Ontario Ministry of Education. (1999.) Media Literacy Resource Guide, Intermediate and Senior Divisions. Toronto, Canada: Ministry of Education. Piette, J. (1996). Éducation aux medias et fonction critique. L'Harmattan Paris ; Montréal. Share, J. (2009). Media literacy is elementary: teaching youth to critically read and create media. New York: Peter Lang. Silverblatt, A. Enright, M. and Eliceiri, E. (1997). Dictionary of Media Literacy. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.

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