3 Tips for Setting Media Literacy Goals for the Rest of the 2018 School Year

At the beginning of the school year, we provided some tips and tricks in this blog post to help maximize your literacy goals for the 2017–2018 school year. Now that you’ve dusted off the holiday glitter and packed up your winter décor, it’s time to look at your goals for the second half of the school year.

Do you have media literacy goals for your classroom, school, or district? Media literacy continues to be an important and hot topic in education. If you’re looking for some good strategies to set media literacy goals, look no further.

1. Get SMART.

You’ve likely ready it before, but I’ll say it again: Setting SMART goals is one of your best bets to make sure your goals get off the ground, find life, and reach the finish line. As a refresher, SMART goals are:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

Approaching your goals using the SMART framework can help you redefine a maybe not-so-great goal into one with the power to make changes. For example, an un-SMART goal for media literacy may be something like: Add media literacy components to current curriculum.

By using the SMART framework, this worthy (but lackluster) goal can be boosted to: Add critical analysis of text to two ELA lesson plans before the end of the 2018 school year.

You’ll notice this goal becomes more Specific by changing “media literacy components” to “critical analysis of text.” It is now Measurable with the addition of “two ELA lesson plans.” The goal is not too far-fetched in its reach, making it Attainable and Realistic. Adding a date for completion also makes it Timely.

 It can take some practice to become proficient in writing SMART goals, but the payoff is well worth it. And remember, no goal is ever set in stone. They can be changed or adapted to your needs.

2. Start small, but give yourself room to grow.

Infusing media literacy into your classroom, school, and district is key to student success.  Students are largely unable to differentiate news from advertisements, and prefer to get their news from social media. Educators can play a significant role in helping students verify and assess the stream of information they are constantly absorbing.

 That being said, infusing media literacy into your goals should be a marathon, not a sprint. After all, you’re trying to develop new skills among a body of students. That’s a tall order!

 Start by researching what pieces of media literacy you would like to integrate, and identify low-hanging fruits. Media Smarts has a list of tips for integrating media literacy10 into the classroom that can help you get started. Perhaps you already have curriculum that can easily be tweaked and gives students the opportunity to create media, not just analyze it. Or, maybe doing some research to get familiar with media trends before you bring media literacy to students is the best place for you to start.

 By starting with small, obtainable chunks, you’ll build the momentum you need to achieve larger goals for your students.

3. Decide what a media-literate student should know.

When creating goals, sometimes the best place to start is at the end. In your perfect world, what does a student who is media-literate look like? What skills does he or she possess? What knowledge has he acquired in his education? What special abilities does she have in media literacy?

The Media Spot developed the “Target Student Media Literacy Profile,” which may give you some ideas:

By determining the skills and abilities you would like a student to achieve through their media literacy education, you’re more likely to make inspiring goals that can help you get there.

By creating SMART goals, identifying smaller wins to start, and determining what makes a media-literate student for your school community, you’ll be well on your way to gaining momentum in media literacy for the remainder of the 2017–2018 school year. Good luck, and remember that myON is always here to help!

Elyse August

Elyse is Vice President of Services at myON. She has worked with educators, communities, families, and students across the nation to build sustainable programs that promote personalized literacy.