Media literacy for educators

A GROUP of Malaysian educators and media practitioners have been working together to design the country’s first media literacy curriculum.

The partnership is made possible with the setting up of a national movement called Media Education For All (ME4A) with 15 educators as its founding members.

Along with media professionals, the founders seek to design the curriculum catered for Malaysia’s local context and needs, ME4A said in a press release on March 11.

Over the past two months, the educators have received training on a wide scope of media literacy topics, including its role in creating more awareness of democracy, biases, information disorders and information verification. They were also shown how to embed these concepts into their lessons.

Universiti Putra Malaysia Faculty of Educational Studies senior lecturer Dr Aini Marina Ma’arof said the comprehensive, hands-on training has served as an instrumental grassroots effort to kickstart the initiative at the national level.

“Currently, there is no standardised national curriculum or curricular guidance in Malaysia on media literacy, nor is there dedicated funding for supporting teachers’ professional development in this area, ” she said.

English language teacher Hazwan Hamdan from SABK Maahad Ehyak Diniah Islamiah in Batu Gajah, Perak, said the series of workshops has equipped him with the skills to create safe media usage.

“All this while, we’ve relied on others to expose the truths or lies presented in the media. Now, I can start off my own investigation into the news I read, such as doing a reverse image search to know its origin, ” he said.

SJKC Kuen Cheng 1, Kuala Lumpur, teacher Jessica Ch’ng is involved in developing a module on information verification with the other co-founders.

“What excites me about working on this curriculum is that it will help educators and students have important conversations on how they consume and create media. Everyone should be made aware that being media literate is a right, not a privilege, ” she said.

ME4A media mentor Darshini Kandasamy, who is Malaysia Information Literacy Education co-founder, said the curriculum is crucial as educators will be better prepared to help youth of various age groups process information, discern for themselves what is real and fake, and become more responsible citizens, both in the physical and digital spheres.

The ME4A movement is facilitated by education social enterprise Arus Academy, in partnership with impact and investigative journalism collective The Fourth.

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