Media literacy skills and curriculum links

Media Smart’s materials are based on the main concepts and practices of media literacy teaching. I have written them aiming to develop pupils’ abilities to ‘read’, understand, produce, discuss and write about print, still and moving-image advertising. They are based on active learning and discovery, and depend heavily on discussion, group work, practising communication in different media formats, and open-ended enquiry. Importantly, they are objective and do not begin from the premise that advertising is intrinsically either harmful or beneficial.

The pack has a number of objectives:
  • To provide strategic approaches for the critical and responsible use of advertising material in education
  • To move children on from a broad awareness of the functions of advertising to a more focused understanding of advertising which is underpinned by the key concepts of media literacy.
  • To provide teachers and children with a range of active learning resources, including both real-life examples and constructed case studies across a range of commercial and non-commercial contexts

Advertising literacy skills

Be Adwise 2 has been produced to teach the following advertising literacy skills, seeking to develop pupils’ critical understanding of, and ability to talk and write about:

  • The languages of advertising
  • How real examples of advertising construct meaning in a variety of media forms how images, sound, copy and editing contribute to meaning in print, radio and TV advertising
  • How advertisers target products at specific audiences/markets
  • How advertising is produced by the advertising industry
  • how a campaign is developed from initial brief to final product
  • the roles and production processes within an advertising agency
  • the role of advertising in underpinning other media products
  • The regulation and control of advertising
  • The messages and values represented in advertising
  • The use of different gender, age, social, cultural, ethnic and lifestyle groups in advertising the values and lifestyle choices associated with product advertising
  • Selected debates in contemporary advertising
  • Controversial advertising techniques
  • Use of celebrities and characters in advertising
  • Use of premiums in advertising
  • Food and drink advertising aimed at children
  • Toy advertising aimed at children
  • Animation

The materials also emphasise that advertising, like all media, represents information and ideas about the world that are worth serious investigation, and that close analysis of this, through media literacy teaching in the class, can be a source of enormous pleasure and creativity.

Jenny Grahame, English and Media Centre

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