This past Friday I had the unique and privileged opportunity to facilitate a workshop for a group of Toronto Catholic District School Board colleagues. In coming together as part of a self-directed professional development day, it was a humbling experience to spend time with people who selected to be engaged in a shared and active learning experience.
Focusing on the idea of media literacy as a mode to enable cultural responsive teaching and learning, the workshop provided teachers with a critical overview of not only media thinking but doing.
As part of the thinking, teachers were challenged to embrace media literacy as critical literacy that can readily nurture global and thus transferable comminivatice skills and provide a platform in which students can explore real world narratives and importantly share their own. When speaking to media such as popular film through a sense of “realness,” the conversation is not merely about the cultural realities of a particular artifact but the articulation of the student. This is to say that empowering students to shape their stories and share them – regardless of subject or curriculum – is pressing and transformational.
As teachers shared in the learning it was important to ground the context to the everyday. I realized someone in the room could be thinking: How does this connect to me and my curriculum?
Importantly, the students are the curriculum and the opportunity to engage them to share who they are shouldn’t be seemed as an after thought. Whether it is the A within STEAM or a mode to share student experience, media such as video production has a place in all curriculum if utilized with purpose.
The epicentre: the foundation for all of this is in the secondary level in which I teach is the Individual Pathway Plan Portfolio. Such a learning portfolio, if leveraged and designed effectively can be a place where students grow as a effective and skilled communicators along with responsible citizens who share their critical points of view, stories of themselves and reflections on learning. The portfolio, a place that can transcend curation, becomes the distribution space for student articulation.
As shared with my colleagues during the workshop, the start of each course could begin with a mobile video project where students create a 1 minute biography about themselves. This biography then becomes embedded within their portfolio. This allows the portfolio (a media artifact in and of itself) to be not just about learning but the students. This is only one example of how video can become REAL CINEMA that transcends anyone curriculum.
Think about it. With students readily streaming video and intrenched within media culture, how can we pass on including their language with purpose? We have a responsibility to ensure that students move from a place of passive input to active output.
For more on this, read my article below from The Catholic Teachers Magazine – published by OECTA.