Development of a proposal for media education and curriculum interventions for teacher education/colleges of education in KwaZulu- Natal province.
This research focuses on and responds to the neglect of Media Education within teacher education proposals. It is premised upon the importance of Media Education in a democratic society, particularly its role within the curriculum development. Most importantly this research study is aimed to create an informed basis from which to influence both curriculum planners and policy makers of colleges of education to include Media Education as a core component of the programme for student teachers at those colleges of education. As the starting point of this research, the following definition is accepted: Media Education (as the word suggests) attempts to educate about media, to construct a critical approach to information offered by the media, to contextualise those agencies that produce media. The role attached to Media Education is to develop and nurture critical abilities of learners, to nurture autonomous thinkers who approach information not as transparent, but as constructions that are selective and partial (Prinsloo 1994: 19). Research was conducted at Umbumbulu College of Education to seek information about the understanding of Media Education of lecturers at the college. The results of the survey indicated that: • There is a lack of understanding and familiarity with Media Education by lecturers. • Lecturers constantly confuse Media Education with the use of media as a teaching resource. • Lecturers have not been exposed to literature and texts which are related to Media Education. • In terms of the role of Media Education in developing critical understandings of media, lecturers experienced difficulty with the concepts of 'critical understandings' and critical thinking. • Within the college there is no coherent strategy in the form of modules, worksheets, and syllabi that are specifically designed for Media Education. In view of the above, this research proposes a development of a Media Education curriculum to be developed as a speciality subject which can be taught along with other fields of study at a teacher training college. This initiative locates Media Education as an intervention that proposes critical pedagogy. To enable this, lecturers and curriculum developers of the college need to recognise the value of Media Education and to familiarise themselves with Media Education as this is a new field of study within traditional black teacher institutions. The research finally recommends both ongoing professional development of college lecturers interested in Media Education as well as collaboration with other educators who have expertise in and knowledge of Media Education. It proposes that Media Education be offered at all levels of study within the college, from Pre-Primary level to Secondary level of study as a speciality course in its own right.