November 30, 2004

Media Education in Malta

Church schools in Malta have been teaching media education at the primary level and secondary level as part of their regular curriculum since October 1981. It is formally taught in Grades 4, 5 and 6 of the Primary level (ages 8 to 10) and Forms 1 and 2 of the secondary level (ages 11-12).
The programme builds on the belief that media usage:

- Is an enjoyable experience for children. They should be helped to analyse the root of their enjoyment, assess it critically and enhance it.
- The childrenÂ?s citizenship credentials of the audiovisual civilization in some areas tend to be stronger than that of their teachers. When teachers look at students as hopeless victims or blotting papers they are oversimplifying and making a superficial assessment of a complex situation. A non-directive or problem posing approach should be adopted. The teacher takes the role of a facilitator and elder seeker.
- The media should be for the service of the human person and not vice versa. As a consequence the user should change from a passive consumer to an active media partner.

The programme has four aspects:

Formal aspect: Familiarise students with the conventions of the language of different media. As a result students will be able to "read" the media.

Content aspect: Students will be helped to assess critically the message that the media present and be able to judge the values and life styles portrayed.

Societal and organizational aspect: Students learn that media messages are produced by organizations with definite ownership structures and which operate according to particular production techniques. These organizations work within a society which influences the media while it is itself influenced by the media.

Production aspect: Students are helped to "write" with the media by being given the possibility and the opportunity to express themselves through their own productions.

In order to help teachers and students three workbooks, written by Sr Riches Grech are used in the primary level. In these workbooks information is intentionally held to a minimum while practical activities are emphasized.

For Form One of the secondary level Fr Joseph Borg and Dr Mary Anne Lauri have just written Exploring Media Languages. This book emphasizes the formal and production aspects of TV, the cinema, newspapers, radio and the Internet. They are now working on the book for Form 2 which will emphasize the societal and organizational aspects and the contents aspect. This takes the place of their book "Media Studies" which had been used for a number of years.

Fr Joseph Borg:
Dr. Mary Anne Lauri:
Chris Schuepp
Young People's Media Network - Coordinator
c/o ecmc (European Centre for Media Competence)
Bergstrasse 8 / 10th floor
D-45770 Marl
Tel: +49 2365 502480
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