1) What do you do?
I am a Focus teacher and History teacher at a private school for middle and high-school students with learning disabilities in New York City, Winston Preparatory School. As a Focus teacher, I work one-on-one with students in various academic areas based on need, including decoding, encoding (spelling), reading comprehension, written expression, academic problem solving (organization, executive functioning), and social problem solving. For each Focus student, I create a curriculum based on goals formulated by both informal and formal assessments, and use various reading and writing programs (e.g.,WILSON) to enhance instruction. I also create a curriculum for both my History classes based on the learning profile of the groups. Because I am able to create my own curricula based on student need, I definitely work to include media within both classroom environments.
2) Tell me about your latest work or project in media literacy.
Our school is trying to enhance our use of technology within the classroom so that our students have multiple ways of learning; being hands-on with technology definitely has its benefits! I try to infuse technology into my classes, especially History, so that the students can not only be engaged, but to help them visualize and understand the concepts more readily. In History class specifically, we have a focus on current events. With the upcoming presidential election, the media has demonstrated that there are many types of media bias, and that many media outlets have some form of liberal (ex: MSNBC) or conservative (ex: Fox News) bias. My high-school students have been exposed to various types of media, and they have identified whether or not there is a clear bias, whether it would persuade viewers to think a certain way, and which voter demographic would be more open to viewing/listening to certain stations. For those students who have not been aware of these biases in the past, they are now more cognizant of this, actively making choices about which media outlets they will use as actual news sources, compared with those they take less seriously.
3) Why is media literacy important to you?
Media literacy is important to me because it effects our daily lives. There are many people (students and adults) who do not realize that there are biases within our media. At the beginning of the year, I had students who took what political analysts were saying to heart, and not analyzing whether or not there would be any bias in what they said (ex: Bill O”Reilly and his opinion about a President Obama’s policy). I think that this is an important skill that is not directly taught in schools, though it definitely should be! Everyone, not just students with learning disabilities, should learn this skill.
4) What are you most excited about in the media literacy field?
I am excited to be working with students using media, and having students learn how to identify important aspects of the media they may have not considered in the past. It affects how they think about what they view, and thinking critically about media is always a good thing!
5) Why did you become a NAMLE member – what benefits do you see to membership and how will it support your work?
I became a NAMLE member so that I could connect with other educators, and to learn more about how I can use media literacy within my classrooms. By learning more about media literacy myself, I will be helping my students to learn, and share this knowledge with others!
Category: NAMLE Action!