Twelve pedagogical colleges across Ukraine will soon launch a media literacy course for secondary school teachers-in-training, thanks to a new media literacy curriculum developed with support from the U-Media project, which is supported by Internews. Media literacy courses teach people how to consume media wisely, giving them the tools they need to recognize accurate, fair, and balanced media, and to reject biased, inaccurate and harmful media.
The Academy of Ukrainian Press (AUP), with U-Media support, launched a pilot media literacy program in 2011 to give college and secondary teachers the skills they need to instruct their students in media literacy. In March 2013, the Ministry of Education and Science recognized the success of this pilot when it announced the introduction of a media literacy course for Ukrainian secondary schools and pedagogical universities, schools that train secondary school teachers. AUP employed international best practices to develop a media literacy curriculum for Ukrainian universities, colleges, and schools in cooperation with the Institute of Innovative Technologies and Content of Education of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.
In August 2013, the Academy held a five-day Media Literacy School for 17 competitively selected teachers from pedagogical colleges in Kherson, Donetsk, Volyn, Kyiv, Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Vinnytsya, Transcarpathia, and Ternopil oblasts, and the city of Kyiv. Every day, trainers led 10-hour work days with lectures, fieldwork and evening viewings of films about media literacy.
Despite the long hours, the trainees were enthusiastic about participating. They learned about media influence and psychology, how to distinguish genuine news content from advertising, new media technologies, principles of critical thinking about media content, and the ethical principles of professional journalism. Teachers will bring these same lessons to their own students, accompanying them with practical exercises where students will create their own media products, including newspapers, radio programs, websites and blogs. The trainees also visited TV channel “1+1” to see firsthand how a newsroom works and meet the chief editor of the TSN news program, Tetyana Pushnova.
“The training helped us take a more sober look at media,” says participant Olha Fast from Lutsk Pedagogical College in northwestern Ukraine. “The first thing that I will do [upon returning home] is provide a seminar for all the teachers at my college. It should result in united efforts to help children become media literate and cautious in their use of media.”
Twelve of the 36 pedagogical colleges participating in the AUP program have included the media literacy course into their 2013-2014 curricula so far: six launched the course in September and six others will offer it beginning in January 2014. AUP continues to offer support for teachers through its regional training centers in Kharkiv and Crimea and resources on its website.
Media literacy programs developed with support from Internews are also being introduced into national curricula in Armenia and Bosnia. Internews’ work in Ukraine is supported by USAID.