Date of Award

2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Curriculum and Instruction PhD

First Advisor

Larry D. Burton

Second Advisor

Delyse Steyn

Third Advisor

Art Silverblatt

Abstract

Problem. England and Australia are the frontrunners in the establishment of media literacy education in schools, providing performance and content standards, norm-referenced tests, and pre-service university training for a specialty in media education. Canada is also in the advanced stage in the development of a media literacy curriculum. The United States, although a major producer of media, lags behind these countries in preparing its teachers and students to understand the media. Although national education standards and the curricular frameworks of all 50 states now contain one or more elements calling for some form of media literacy education, only a handful of schools teach media literacy.

Purpose of Study. The purpose of this study was to describe the history and background of the New Mexico Media Literacy Project (NMMLP), an established media literacy organization. In addition, this study aimed to explore the processes and techniques adopted by this organization in training individuals to implement principles of media literacy in various settings.

Method. This qualitative case study design sought to document a media literacy program in the United States. The study investigated its curricular materials, instructional practices, and training methods for teaching media literacy. NMMLP was chosen as the organization to be studied.

Results. Six key themes connected to the research questions were derived from the data. These were: (a) change, (b) critical thinking, (c) role play, (d) training model, (e) relevance, and (f) networking. The inception of NMMLP came as a result of one person‘s dream to fight the media‘s hegemony over individuals‘ lives and bring about change. One of the core principles taught by NMMLP as an agent of change was to develop critical thinking skills in its trainees. Role play, training models, relevance, and networking were found to have contributed to the success of its training programs.

Conclusions. I discovered that the practices of NMMLP confirmed statements made during the interviews. The staff indicated that NMMLP stays abreast of current issues concerning individuals or groups within our society. For example, because of the focus of electronic and written media on body image and because society continues to emphasize the ‗need‘ for women to be thin, NMMLP produced a DVD-ROM called Media and Body Image, which points out the media‘s influence on society‘s perception of the ideal body image. Visiting this organization allowed me to see how it trains individuals as well as how it responds to matters affecting our society. I found a common thread in NMMLP that has sustained it from the time Dee Dee Downs started the organization to the present—networking. Networking has been its lifeline. NMMLP implements best practices as delineated in the Core Principles of Media Literacy Education in the United States formulated by the National Association for Media Literacy Education. Its work also follows guidelines suggested by many media literacy education scholars.

Subject Area

Media literacy--New Mexico--Case studies, New Mexico Media Literacy Program, Andrews University--Dissertations--Media literacy--New Mexico--Case studies.

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