An exploration of media literacy education programming in undergraduate teacher preparation institutions in the United States : presence and practice.
Media literacy education (MLE) helps students to foster critical thinking skills and build their capacity to navigate media use based on well-rounded media literacy (ML) principles. Media literacy education functions as an innovative and constructive pedagogical tool for the teaching and learning process if approached appropriately. Although MLE seems to be more frequently practiced in the K-12 classrooms, it is not equally implemented throughout postsecondary education, particularly in teacher preparation institutions (TPIs). The purpose of this case study was to investigate and describe the current presence and practice of MLE programs in TPIs. Two phases of data collection were conducted through an online survey, semi-structured interviews, and content analysis of course syllabi. During the first phase of data collection, teaching faculty members and program coordinators from TPIs were contacted through emails to participate in the online survey. From the pool of participants, interviews were conducted and common categories and themes emerged as data were analyzed through a naturalistic inquiry lens. The findings of this study show that there was increased media literacy presence and its various forms of pedagogical practices in TIPs in the U.S. In addition, findings revealed that while media literacy is taught in both standalone and integration mode, it is evident that the integration mode is most predominant. The study also revealed challenges in implementing media literacy; time constraints and lack of training were consistent themes from the data. Chief recommendations posed address implementation through pedagogy and practice for TPI leaders and in-service teachers. Finally, greater consideration for future related studies including direct classroom observations, examining teacher-student relationships, and assessing accreditation and state-level standards are posed.