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Teachers' perceptions of media education in BC secondary schools : challenges and possibilities Namita, Yoko


The inclusion of media education and integration of media literacy into the K-12 school curriculum is seemingly well established in Canada. Despite successes, media education does not yet have widespread acceptance. For example, in British Columbia (BC), research suggests that media education has not been significantly implemented into the curriculum. In order to identify a baseline and the challenges that media education faces, this research focused on a case study of Lower Mainland, BC secondary schools in order to understand the implementation of media education. One notable challenge is a lack of research on this topic; this dissertation contributes to knowledge of teachers’ perspectives on or perceptions of media education and literacy. The case study includes five data sources and an analysis of texts. The data sources include: Pre-service teachers (n=42), In-service teachers (n=24), English and Social Studies teachers (n=17), Department heads (n=4), and teachers experienced in media education (n=4). The research addressed four questions. First, what are in-service and pre-service teachers’ perceptions of media literacy? Second, what is the current status of media education? Third, what kind of support is available for media education or for teachers to integrate media literacy into classroom instruction? Fourth, what are the obstacles and challenges that teachers encounter when teaching about the media? Findings from this case study suggest that media education is only partially included in the secondary school curriculum in Lower Mainland schools. In this case, media literacy is also hit or miss, and depends on teachers’ interests and time made available to address topics that fall outside of the conventional English and Social Studies curriculum. Experienced teachers manage to find their own ways and means for media education practice, but for other teachers, immense challenges and obstacles prevent even a recognition of the importance of media education and literacy. A lack of teacher awareness of existing resources compounds the challenges, and opportunities for professional development are limited in BC. In summary, the recognition of media literacy’s importance does not in this case necessarily transfer to media education in practice.

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