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The NAPLAN Debate!

Since the implementation of  NAPLAN testing, there have been debates about the effectiveness of the testing regime.  It is particularly in the media where these debates occur. An example of this is in articles  I presented in the last post, suggesting that NAPLAN and the results from these tests are contentious.

Several recent arguments that are constantly in the headlines include:

  • The problem that teachers are continually teaching to the test.
  • The overall decrease in students’ general literacy levels.
  • Increase in schools sending students home, or parents choosing to keep children at home to boycott the testing in order for schools to get a higher ranking on the ‘My School’ website.

I would love to know what your views are on these debates! Feel free to leave any comments!


So after some suggestions from some peers I thought the best way to express the importance of the deconstruction and use of the 5 questions from the media literacy framework was to provide a few examples from myself. These media articles are actually examples of literacy education in the media. First, we have a tv advertisement on the ALNF Wall of hands, followed by 2 opposing newspaper articles on literacy.

Please watch the following you tube clip.

(Australia Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, 2010).

To view my personal response to this TV advertisement with the application of the 5 media literacy questions, click on the link below.

ALNF Wall of Hands TV Commercial – response

Next is a newspaper article from the Sydney Morning Herald. To read, follow the link below.

School literacy plan is failing, say opposition. (Patty, 2010).

Like before, to view my response to this article with the application of the 5 media literacy questions, click on the link below and you will be directed to my views.

School literacy plan is failing, say opposition – response

Here is the final example of a text from the media. It is also a newspaper article from the Sydney Morning Herald. To read, follow the link below.

Students defy data in literacy bliz. (Burke, 2011).

To view my response, follow the link below.

Students defy data in literacy bliz – response

So there were a few examples of the way that I interpret some media texts using the questions developed from the literacy media framework. I encourage you to leave a comment expressing your views on the 3 media texts.

When viewing media text please remember these few things.

Kellner & Share (2005) encourage that media be viewed not as a transparent window, but rather as a created and constricted message. Media experiences are often quick and do not allow time for deconstruction which is the case in most TV advertisements (Thoman, 2003). First and foremost, media is a commodity and must be viewed as that. In understanding and analysing media, students need to interpret the motivation and source of the media (Kellner & Share, 2005). Critical media literacy really starts to play a key role in allowing an individual to participate fully in society and democracy (Morrell, 2002).

In a world where the TV is on 24/7, kids constantly being on the computer and browsing the web and technology now at our very own fingertips, it is obvious that the media has now gone tech savvy on us. Every where you look and everything you listen to has a hidden agenda. So do you think you have control over your own interpretations of the meanings in everyday media messages? Or do they simply manipulate us into perceiving what they want us to? The goal of teaching media literacy as articulated by Thoman (2003) is to develop skills that help students become critical and literate in all media forms. These skills are important because it helps students to be able to direct their own understanding rather than letting the medias visual and verbal interpretations do it for them. In order for students to develop their own interpretations, educators have identified 5 core concepts that everyone should know about media messages.

5 core concepts as articulated by Kellnar and Share (2005).

From these concepts Thoman (2003) has developed 5 vital questions that should consciously asked before students develop and interpretation of the media text. These are:

  1. Who created this message and why are they sending it?
  2. What techniques are being used?
  3. What lifestyles, values and points of view are represented in the message?
  4. How might different people understand this message differently from me?
  5. What is omitted from this message?

So next time you are laying on the lounge in front of the tv and an ad comes on, stop and think about what it is you are taking in, and apply these 5 questions. Please, if you have any video clips, ads, newspaper or magazine articles that you think are a good example of the need of deconstruction in the media, post them up!!

How important is literacy?? This particular question is one of major debate that has surrounded our Australian education system and society in general of recent times. But before I baffle you with the importance of literacy, we first need to have an understanding of what it is and what it means. If I asked you what you thought the meaning of literacy or literacy teaching is, I’m sure your answer would be ‘simply the process of learning to read and write’. As a pre service teacher I would award that answer a mark of 3/10! The definition of literacy especially in today’s society is comprised of many elements. Its not just the process of learning to read and write, but moreso as stated by Kellnar and Share (2005) it “involves gaining the skill and knowledge to read, interpret, and produce certain types of texts and artifacts and to gain the intellectual tools and capacities to fully participate in one’s culture and society” (pp. 369). I would like to reiterate the part about fully participating in ones society. With the every growing era of technological revolution, and the heavy emphasis and influence of the media in today’s society, the term multiliteracies has become important. Multiliteracies now takes into account the many differing ways that we now communicate and moves away from the dominate thought of literacy as reading and writing.

As mentioned, the media has a major influence over everyone in today’s society. Thus it is vitally important that media literacy is taught to students in schools. Media literacy involves the interpretation of many verbal and visual images that we take in daily from television, newspapers, computers, magazines and varies other forms of media and advertising. As a pre service teacher I’m aware that “we must prepare young people for living in a world of powerful images, words and sounds.” UNESCO, 1982

For more on media literacies I thoroughly recommend reading “Expanding the definition of media literacy” by Bill Walsh which can be accessed from the link below.

Definition of Media Literacy