Building 21st-century Teachers: An Intentional Pedagogy of Media Literacy Education

From Section:
Theories & Approaches
Jul. 01, 2011
Summer, 2011

Source: Action in Teacher Education, Vol. 33, No. 2, p. 194-205. (Summer, 2011).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)


This paper identifies media literacy education as an essential framework for housing a sophisticated repertoire of knowledge, skills, and dispositions for 21st-century teacher preparation.

This article illustrates the ways in which media literacy catalyzes essential knowledge, skills and dispositions by
(1) contextualizing technological proficiency,
(2) promoting pedagogical excellence, and
(3) enacting democratic ideals.

Contextualizing Technological Proficiency

In 2002 the U.S. Department of Education federally mandated No Child Left Behind that, required all students to be tested for technological literacy at the end of the eighth grade. Consequently, each state developed technology as a separate subject area to be tested with accompanying body of state standards and performance indicators.

Media literacy empowers teachers and students to be critical thinkers (Considine, 2009; Rodesiler, 2010) and creative producers of an increasingly wide range of messages using image, language, and sound.

The key for many teachers is to leverage existing technical skills to compel students to think critically and act creatively to apply their knowledge.
However, making technological proficiency meaningful requires teachers themselves to be media literate and to be able to access, evaluate, produce, and communicate using a variety of technology forms.

Enacting Democratic Ideals

Research also suggests the proliferation of new media technologies is a major influence in driving democratic practices among young people in the United States and even worldwide.
Teachers therefore need to be prepared to guide students through a variety of resources and technologies and be reflective of their practices.

Educators and community leaders must find ways for students to access equipment and services within their schools and communities.
They also need to provide at-risk students with equitable access to a participatory culture where to a large extent technological proficiency determines access to and the production of knowledge.

Promoting Pedagogical Excellence

A recent summit report Redefining Teacher Education for Digital-Age Learners recommends that the 21st-century teacher needs to know how to teach in multiple modalities, to coordinate students' formal and informal learning experiences, and to teach as a member of a learning team (Resta & Carroll, 2010).

The author concludes that the ultimate goal of teacher preparation should he to cultivate educational leaders that equip their students with the ability to critically engage beyond the surface of technological acts toward more creative and responsible roles as media-literate citizens.

Considine, D. (2009). Teaching and reading the millennial generation through media literacy. Journal of Adolescent &Adult Literacy, 52(6), 471-481.

Resta, P., & Carroll, T. (2010). Redefining teacher education for digital age learners. Summit Report. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Rodesiler, L. (2010). Empowering students through critical media literacy: This means war. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies. Issues and Ideas, 83(5), 164-167.

Updated: Oct. 29, 2019
Democracy | Media literacy | No Child Left Behind (NCLB) | Teacher education | Teaching technology skills | Technology integration | Technology literacy