Field-Based Teacher Education in Elementary Media Literacy as a Means to Promote Global Understanding

Summer, 2011

Source: Action in Teacher Education, Vol. 33, No. 2, p. 144-156. (Summer, 2011).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article describes a university-school partnership that supports the professional development of preservice teachers and elementary teachers.


In Spring 2009, a team of researchers, preservice teachers, elementary teachers, a gifted and talented specialist, and a school library/media specialist collaborated to integrate media literacy into a unit of instruction for students in Grades 3 and 4 in an elementary school at in the metropolitan Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

Program Elements

The authors introduced the instructional principles and practices of media literacy education.
The authors wanted to support children's critical thinking and communication skills while deepening their understanding of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East.

A variety of learning activities were used in this project, such as activating Prior Knowledge
and disrupting stereotypes.
These activities were led by preservice teachers who demonstrated some lessons and activities which were then further extended by elementary teachers.


The findings reveal that by encouraging students to seek information independently and present their findings to their peers, children deepened their knowledge of the region and recognized common misconceptions.
This teaching opportunity heightened the children's curiosity and their confidence in research and self-expression.

Furthermore, by disrupting stereotypes, children were encouraged to recognize and resist the common stereotypes of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East.
The techniques of close analysis, combined with a filmmaker visit, supported the process of children's understanding of the constructed nature of film.

This case study of a university-school partnership shows how a partnership between preservice teachers and elementary educators may help combat stereotypes, support critical thinking about media and technology, develop composition and creative skills, and promote children's global understanding of the people and cultures of the Middle East.

However, the authors address to four important challenges and limitations which were discovered in the process of this field experience.

These challenges include teacher resistance to the use of current events news about the Middle East, maintaining a focus on student-centered technology use, ambivalence about the use of mass media and popular culture in the elementary classroom, and an appreciation for the emotional and moral potency of narrative film.

Updated: Jan. 14, 2013