Mapping Approaches to News Literacy Curriculum Development: A Navigation Aid
22 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2013
Date Written: November 14, 2013
For the current round of Why News Matters grantees, the McCormick Foundation has funded a diverse set of programs and organizations from varying backgrounds to develop innovative news literacy curricula. Building upon insights from earlier conversations among the grantees and discussion at a recent workshop on this topic, the present brief seeks to provide a concise map of the space of news literacy, point out how to understand existing curricula, identify potentially relevant resources, and ultimately, serve as a practical 'navigation aid' for designing a curriculum.
The basic questions that go into designing a curriculum will be quite mundane: who is this for? What should they learn? Why should they learn it? How should we accomplish this? But the answers to these questions can be anything but mundane. This brief attempts to be a guide around the what and how questions, as these are the places where grantees will be making the key choices when designing curricula.
We begin by briefly covering learning theory as a background for what kind of teaching is possible. Then, we talk about formats for learning news literacy, and lastly we talk about the possible content of news literacy curriculum. Throughout, we give examples of McCormick grantees and others (many of which appear multiple times for the different categories under which they fall) as a way to make these classifications concrete so that grantees starting off in curriculum design have a sense of the resources that exist within the formats and type of content they are interested in exploring.
Two caveats are important: First, we have aimed to incorporate helpful feedback from the grantees on a draft version of this document. However, as this is a contribution by the Youth and Media Team at the Berkman Center, we acknowledge that not all grantees might agree on every point made in this document. In fact, our hope is that the brief will invite and inform discussions about the ways in which we can think about news literacy and curriculum development. Second, and more fundamentally, there is some disagreement whether the broad interpretation of news literacy with its different approaches as presented in this document is helpful or not; again, we invite (and are happy to engage in) a debate about this conceptual question.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation