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In Case You Missed It: Media Literacy 101

Pedestrians walk past a newspaper stand with copies of The Wall Street Journal and a front page report on Russia's invasion of Ukraine are being sold in Los Angeles, California.

Earlier this year, we asked you what you wish you’d learned in school, but didn’t.

Our series, “In Case You Missed It,” dives into these topics with leading experts and educators so we can help catch you up. As part of the series, we’ll talk about civics and finance and nutrition.

But today, we’re getting into all that you didn’t learn in school about media literacy and critical thinking. 

Here’s how Tammy fromMinnesotaput it:

“I think they need to teach critical thinking in school and it should be a separate unit but it should be applied throughout all the other classes in history and science and it applies to everything. Part of the problem we have I think in society, in general, is people accept what they’re told without questioning it and that’s a problem because clearly, people are told lies.”

Critical thinking skills are at the heart of media literacy – and there’s a movement to make media literacy a requirement in schools across the country.Last year, Illinois became the first state to pass a law requiring it in all high schools.

But what exactly is media literacy? How do you teach it? And if you didn’t learn it in school, what do you need to know now


-First, breathe.

-Check implicit biases.

-Who is the person sharing information? Are they credible?

-Verify the information elsewhere.

-Remember that social media doesn’t incentivize fact-checking.

— 1A (@1a) March 28, 2022

Additional reading recommended by our guests:

  • The National Association of Media Literacy Cyber Citizenship Initiative has resources that teach media literacy to K-12 students: www.oercommons.org/hubs/cybercitizenship
  • National Association of Media Literacy education (for definitions of media literacy and to find out what’s happening around the country and world): www.namle.net
  • The Illinois Media Literacy Coalition to learn more about efforts in Illinois: www.ilmlc.org
  • Media Literacy Now, if listeners want to learn how to get media literacy into the policy discourses in their states: www.medialiteracynow.org 

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Amanda Williams