Exploring the complexities of personal ideologies, media literacy pedagogy and media literacy practice
Media literacy refers to one's ability to understand, analyze and produce media messages. Media literacy scholarship has demonstrated that there are various perspectives on how to teach media literacy but research has not focused on how the complexities of media literacy teachers' personal ideologies and media consumption practices are connected to media literacy teaching. In this study, nine media literacy teachers who teach in public schools, private schools, and community settings were interviewed about their thoughts about the media, their media habits and their approaches to media literacy practice. Findings illustrate that there is a complicated relationship between teachers' ideologies about the media and their media literacy practice. Teachers mainly described teaching about the media in ways that are associated most with the interventionist paradigm of media literacy and teachers' described ideologies focus on the tremendous power of the media in the culture and the potential impact media has on their students. Two of the teachers described practices that are representative of the goals of critical media literacy, but other teachers rarely discussed aspects of their media literacy practice that encouraged students to locate individual understandings of media messages. Findings also demonstrate that schools are not fully supporting the implementation of their media literacy programs; often media literacy instructors do not have educational backgrounds or training in media literacy.