The internet and social media play a vital role in how today’s young people access information. Many from Generation Z spend a significant amount of time online, relying on sources like social media, YouTube videos, and various digital platforms for information. However, studies indicate that this reliance often results in difficulty in distinguishing between reputable and untrustworthy sources and information, leading to misinformation and fake news. The widespread dissemination of misleading information is concerning since it can impede participation in democratic processes.
Integrating media and technology into the classroom has enhanced learning engagement, fostering creativity and future professional opportunities. However, there are also challenges, including instructors’ difficulties in adapting to the digital environment and concerns about effectively integrating Critical Media Literacy (CML) education into language instruction. Due to the absence of an integrated framework, many educators feel apprehensive about incorporating critical media literacy into English as a Foreign Language (EFL) programs. This may result in students lacking the critical media literacy skills necessary for active participation in democratic engagement.”
This study, published in the Journal of Education Media International, proposes a new framework for integrating CML into EFL teaching to address these concerns. The framework encompasses learning resources, media selection, and instructional practices, with the goal of aiding EFL teachers in effectively teaching CML. This, in turn, empowers students to navigate the complexities of media and information within a democratic society.
Critical media literacy instruction in Asian context
As EFL instruction is prevalent in many Asian countries, this study is set in an Asian context, specifically Indonesia, where Critical Media Literacy (CML) has not yet been incorporated into the national curriculum. CML education has gained popularity in Asian countries, recognizing the importance of CML skills. In South Korea, for example, attempts have been made to incorporate media literacy into the curriculum to assist students in comprehending and navigating the digital domain. However, there were still concerns regarding the spread of misinformation and its impact on society. Japan, with its digitally savvy population, has also acknowledged the need for media literacy and initiated initiatives to enhance it in educational institutions. Like many other countries, India and Vietnam are struggling with the issues posed by misinformation and fake news and are working to establish critical media literacy education.
Despite Indonesia’s rising focus on digital media and social platforms, CML teaching has yet to be included in the country’s national curriculum. Many countries recognize the significance of CML in today’s digital world and aim to integrate it into their educational systems, especially in EFL courses. Incorporating CML in language classes is effective as it allows students to learn language meaningfully by analyzing and evaluating language use and content in specific texts, while practicing communication through the media production process. Students can improve their CML and language skills by participating in media source analysis, content evaluation and critique, and media source and content discussion.
Drawing a new framework for critical media literacy integration in EFL context
In recognition of the necessity for an innovative framework to integrate Critical Media Literacy (CML) into EFL classes, a study examined the existing CML instruction framework in conjunction with the language teaching framework. This examination considered the requirements identified through input from EFL teachers. To incorporate CML into the EFL classroom effectively, teachers must align their instruction with the curriculum and standards.
Teachers examine into the theoretical foundations of CML concepts, taking into account students’ characteristics and language proficiency levels when selecting learning materials and media in line with the curriculum and standards. As part of their teaching approach, appropriate resources and media can foster student-centered inquiry, facilitate discussions, and encourage argumentation and creative expression.
A comprehensive understanding of the theoretical foundation and CML principles encompasses information literacy, digital literacy, communication skills, analytical and critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, collaboration, and cultural and social literacy. Moreover, when integrating CML into EFL lessons, teachers must assess students’ individual characteristics and language proficiency levels to cater to their unique potential, abilities, and learning needs. By considering both students’ characteristics and language skills, teachers can effectively support all students.”
Bringing the framework into practice
Teachers can use two teaching strategies to incorporate CML integration components in EFL courses: media understanding and media creation. Teachers might start teaching media comprehension by having students research and examine different sources of information. Instead of identifying texts as unbiased or impartial information bearers, students may be trained to properly comprehend the production of media posts as a social process. Students are encouraged to deduce who wrote or provided the information in the text. In this scenario, students may be required to evaluate a variety of pieces of information. They must comprehend that all media messages have an aim determined by the producers and the delivery mechanisms.
Students are encouraged to read the material to grab particular knowledge and process and interpret the information to improve their ability to analyze information. Students are encouraged to study and perceive material from several viewpoints, including social, cultural, educational, political, and economic considerations. Teachers can adjust the intensity of the analysis and the activities employed in these activities based on the student’s skill level and experiences.
Another teaching strategy is media production. Students must be educated to be information users, creators, and communicators of knowledge. Therefore, a media production strategy is required. Students should be taught to understand their roles in media consumption to locate themselves in meaning-making processes and to engage in media development, publication, and dissemination of information. In short, through a lengthy period of CML education in EFL classes, students become media literate with complete comprehension, cultural and social awareness, and empowerment as a part of society.
Afrilyasanti, R., Basthomi, Y., Laily Zen, E., & Fauziah, H. (2023). Addressing Information Overload in Smart Environment: Framework for Critical Media Literacy Integration in EFL Context. Educational Media International, 60(1), 31-47. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504851.2023.2178623