"Starting with literature and computer sciences and ending with physical education, media education should be integrated into all school subjects", says Valeriy Ivanov, the president of the Academy of Ukrainian Press.
During the conference “Practical Literacy: International Experience and Ukrainian Prospects" that took place on April 16-17, organizers held a discussion on how to implement media education. The conference was organized by APM with MYMEDIA’s support. It gathered more than a hundred teachers, scientists, media experts from all over Ukraine, to share their experience on implementing media literacy in schools and out-of-school education.
There are plenty of things participants got a chance to share with one another. The pilot phase of media education in Ukraine started back in 2010. During that time, 120 schools participated in the project by launching media literacy classes for high school students as well as providing selective courses. Ministry of Education developed study programs and textbooks for schools and colleges, and it also published books for adults and launched a course for teachers. At the present moment, this course is being taught in all of the institutions where teachers increase their professional qualifications. The latter is very important.
AUP actively participated in all of these processes. One of the last projects was the translation of an American textbook on integrating media education into other subjects. At the end of April 2015, the Academy will present a large-scale study "The implementation state of media education in Ukrainian schools ", and in May, it will organize training for the librarians called "Practical Literacy".
"We know well how it works in Northern Europe, Germany, and we would like to implement the same system in Ukraine, but it is impossible without help of the Ministry of Education and Science. There are no technical problems yet, " says Valeriy Ivanov.
Some participants of the conference are more pessimistic. For example, Svitlana Gorina, the Head of European Research Association, statedin her commentary for Mediasapiens that the Ministry of Education did not particularly support the implementation of media literacy in schools. Teachers and civil organizations are the ones who do all the work, so everything depends on their initiative.
It is necessary to push the state for active educational reforms and implementation of new methods into the educational process, says another conference participant, Oleksandr Mokrohuz, associate professor in Chernihiv Teacher Training Institute. Such conferences are important not only for the teachers who will be able to share the experiences and ideas, but also for the reformation of Ukrainian media education as a whole.
"By the end of the conference, we have adopted a resolution that will be forwarded to the Ministry of Education and the National Academy of Sciences. This way, the teachers will get the opportunity to convey their needs and ideas to the Ministry of Education so it can support them”, says Oleksandr Mokrohuz.
"After a Summer school on media literacy, I got really excited, used up all my notebooks and started to use new methods in my Lyceum," says Anna Novitskaya, the teacher of Media Culture in Mykolayiv Economic Lyceum. She adds: "Every year, I look forward to this conference. Teachers have such a thing as professional burnout. I really do not want to turn into a "worn-out" teacher, and this is why the conference is like a breath of fresh air tо me. I have already planned a minimum of 12 innovations for my class."
Olena Kutsenko, Methodist of "Crimean film center", thinks that the main advantage of the conference was the creative impulse and the experience exchange: "Despite the fact that I have more than 20 years of experience in media education, I always get a boost of creativity from my colleagues. Every teacher has an artistic potential, and the conference enables an exchange of ideas and views which can be used on practice”. The political situation in Crimea did not decrease Olena’s teaching enthusiasm.
The participants named the lack of class hours the main problem of teaching media literacy at schools. In most schools, this subject is not even in the curriculum, so the teachers have to figure out how to give children the necessary skills after the school time.
"I would really want the state to treat us seriously instead of merely pretending, so we get at least one or two classes a week to organize meaningful lessons", says Tetyana Chelombytko, a teacher of world literature in Kharkiv gymnasium № 14, «For example, I do not teach media education as a separate subject and apply it only in extracurricular activities. We need full classes, so the children develop a holistic view of what media are, how they work and how to notice the manipulations independently. "