Develop students’ capacity for critical thinking
Encourage students to think critically by questioning what they have learned and what they see around them in the larger culture. While we may not have control over the text books that are used for certain parts of the curriculum, we can use their gaps and biases as an opportunity to analyze the problem. For example:
- After reading a novel with a narrow viewpoint (e.g. one kind of family, white people only), we can ask students, “Who was missing?”
- When novels are focused only on male characters, we can talk about it with our students.
Media literacy activities also help students develop insight into a variety of negative stereotypes, including unbalanced or extreme views of relationships or violence. The organization Companies Committed to Kids has media literacy lesson plans and activities for students from the primary to intermediate levels.
In addition, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario offers a resource to facilitate exploration of media literacy. Click here to download.