When media education meets English language teaching

Due to its importance nowadays, Media Education has been regarded a separate educational sector. What if Media Education meets English Language Teaching (ELT)? Can they be integrated to enhance each other?

The involvement of language is the first prominent similarity between them. ELT, by its nature, focuses on English language. Through training on receptive and productive skills of English, leaners learn to understand the language in certain contexts and produce appropriate language in realistic situations. For Media Education, the involvement of language is less tangible yet important because it is one means of expressing ideas and exchanging messages through kinds of media. Therefore, language can definitely assist users’ to critically analyze input from media so that they have reasonable judgments and finally make good use of the media.

Secondly, as culture is usually embedded in language, it goes naturally into the ELT process. Along with language input, learners gradually acquire the worldview from not only English-speaking countries but also places where English language is prevalent. At this point, awareness of cultural identity is essential to participate effectively in intercultural communication (Friedrich, 2012). Regarding Media Education, media users in different regions usually show distinctive habits and preference. However, due to globalization, it seems that worldwide media use are converging into certain features. Therefore, cultural sensitivity and transcultural perspectives are also what media educators have to take into consideration.

Thirdly, the possibility of this combination stems from the diversity of topics covered and teaching methods. While acquiring a new language, learners are exposed to various contexts and topics from daily life to global issues. To build up a proper language competence of such diverse disciplines and skills, teachers need to adopt methods flexibly which can range from mechanical practices to creative ones. About Media Education, it is also a cross-disciplinary field which requires a multidisciplinary teaching approach (Verniers, 2015) to train users towards thorough understanding and critical reaction. Basing on this similarity, the method of Integrated Practice in Teaching English as an International Language has been invented and welcomed by worldwide language and media educators (Nobuyuki, 2002).

These 3 similarities open up many prospects for integration of Media Education and ELT. When calligraphy met computers under the talent of Steve Jobs, the revolution of computing fonts and interface has been ignited. While media is spreading rapidly into every corner of life, it is high time to find out innovative ways to implement Media Education instead of considering it a “closed” discipline, and integrating it into other fields which share certain similarities can be a solution.

The author Thao Nguyen is a master student in the international Master’s Degree Program in Media Education

 

Reference

  • Friedrich, P. (2012). ELF, Intercultural Communication and the Strategic Aspect of Communicative Competence. In Matsuda, A., Principles and Practices of Teaching English as an International Language (pp. 44-54). Clevedon, GBR: Channel View Publications.
  • Nobuyuki, H. (2012). Participating in the Community of EIL Users through Real-time News Integrated Practice in Teaching English as an International Language. In Matsuda, A., Principles and Practices of Teaching English as an International Language (pp. 183-200). Clevedon, GBR: Channel View Publications.
  • Verniers, P. (2015). Four Scenarios to Consider Regarding the Future of Media Education. In Kotilainen, S., & Kupiainen, R., Reflections on Media Education Future (pp. 291-294). Göteborg, Sweden: The International Clearinghouse on Children, Youth and Media.

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