Literacy through Film: Using Media as an Outlet for Social Change
Have you ever seen an advertisement and thought, what is that for?, or how did they come up with that? I’ve seen many. Our lives have become increasingly saturated with persuasive marketing campaigns and consumer messaging, so much so that we often tend to only “tune in” to those that seem directed more personally towards us. Being aware of these messages, of where they come from and what agenda they serve, is in part what it means to be media literate, a learned skill that has become an increasingly important quality for youth to develop.
November 4–8 is Media Literacy Week in Canada, and to celebrate, the NFB Education team has partnered with MediaSmarts, a Canadian not-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy. This year’s theme is What’s Being Sold: Helping Kids Make Sense of Marketing Messages. The goal is to encourage parents and educators to gain a better understanding of the huge influence of marketing and consumer-based messaging. It’s a chance to discuss brand saturation and talk openly with youth about the marketing they encounter on a daily basis, and the effect this may or may not have on them. “Young people are surrounded by advertising everywhere they turn and on an increasing number of platforms,” says Cathy Wing, MediaSmarts Co-Executive Director. “It’s important that we help them recognize when they’re being marketed to and how to understand the messages that are targeting them.”
Unwrapping the Pink Ribbon
Our Toronto and Montreal Education Studios will be hosting a full-day media literacy workshop based on the film Pink Ribbons, Inc., a revealing documentary that looks at the popularity of breast cancer marketing campaigns, ultimately questioning their purpose, value and bottom line. Join us for an interactive discussion that will spark students’ interest in examining the advertising-heavy world we live in and the real intentions of the messages we see daily. The workshop will highlight a range of curriculum links, including language arts, social studies, and information technology, and will include a variety of clips from Pink Ribbons, Inc. that will generate discussion and debate. We will have several activities to spark students’ creativity, including the opportunity to “pitch” an original idea for a documentary they’d love to make if given the opportunity. If you would like your class to join us for this workshop, be the first to contact us!
In addition to these workshops, there are many fantastic ways to engage youth in these conversations and further develop their everyday literacy skills. A selection of resources is available on our site, and there are also several organizations dedicated to sharing information and resources with parents, educators and students. Here are a few stand-out sites to check out:
- MediaSmarts is a Canadian not-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy. Its goal is to ensure young people have the critical-thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens.
- The Association for Media Literacy is another great resource if you are interested in tackling these issues with youth and peers.
- The Centre for Media Literacy offers excellent free resources and activities that immerse students in discussions about the importance of media literacy in their everyday lives.
Sign in to your CAMPUS account to watch Pink Ribbons, Inc. via our online Screening Room, learn more about the issues we will address in the workshop and further your understanding of the power of media messaging.
To find out more about Media Literacy Week, including this NFB workshop and other events, visit http://www.medialiteracyweek.ca/. We hope you find ways to highlight the importance of media literacy throughout the week, and if you would like your class to participate in our special event, leave a comment on this post or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.