Two way education needed

This time is marked by growing number of immigrants and asylum seekers, coming mostly from Middle East, but also from other unstable places, such as African countries and even European. Most of the time, cultures from which people come and that to which they come differ dramatically. Such experience might be shocking especially for young people: kids and teenagers, who being put in another culture might lose the ability to communicate with others and socialize. Media play crucial role in our lives, and it almost became invisible, some people do not pay attention for their use of media. In contrast, for immigrants the many faces of surrounding media in new culture should be obvious, for the reason that it would seem new and unknown. This problem is already acknowledged, immigrants need media literacy classes, they should be taught about media landscape of culture they are in. However, is there something that immigrants might teach media educators; can the process of learning be two-sided?

Wan Shun Eva Lam, an associate professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, Evanston, in her recent studies about media usage of immigrants focused on how immigrant youth incorporate media landscape from culture where they come from with landscape of culture they are in. She discovered that on-line behavior of some youngsters differ, while they use various social networks and sites. She comes to the statement “that we need a broadened understanding of how immigrant youth may tap into diverse linguistic and cultural communities across national borders for learning. Understanding how these young people access resources could lead us to reconsider how our educational practices could enhance their language and literacy development” (Eva Lam, 2013). The way students create a multilingual space around themselves within media breaks geographical boundaries and help students develop their language skills.

In a way this immigrant experience is connected with a concept of global society. Immigrant youth by using media create a space, where global society become more that a myth. This should not go unrecognizable by media educators. There is one possible teaching approach which might involve a transnational framing of relevant curriculum topics (e.g., the global economy, immigration, environmental health) that would provide a chance for students to use multilingual skills to learn more about various issues on national and transnational levels. Students may gather information from different media on different languages, ask their peers from homelands and overall portray specific issue from various perspectives. Wan Shun Eva Lam concludes that “in so doing, we may foster students’ ability to move across different media platforms, social networks, and languages” (Eva Lam, 2013).


The author Sergei Glotov is a master student in media education



  • Eva Lam, S. W. (2013). What immigrant students can teach us about new media literacy. The Phi Delta Kappan, 94(4), 62-65. Retrieved from



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