International Perspective

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International Perspective

Despite pockets of thriving academic dynamism in the UK, as evidenced at the 2010 Media Literacy Conference (MLC) and in collaborative forums, such as the Manifesto for Media Education, The International Media Literacy Research Forum and the Media Education Association, it does seem that UK media education policy lags behind more forward-thinking Nordic countries whose strategies have emerged from historical mass media pedagogic practices dating back to the 70’s. The Finns in the field abide by this simply axiom:

“The central themes of the media education tradition are learning by doing, hearing the voice of children and young people and the active development of media skills.” (Finnish Society on Media Education 2010:16 my italics)

As distinct from the Finnish interpretation of the word, tradition has an altogether Victorian interpretation in this country, nuanced in favour of the 3 R’s and elitist Leavisite persuasions. Ken Robinson, in his introduction to the NACCE report (and elsewhere in the RSA Animate version of his ‘Changing Paradigms’ TED talk), alludes to this fundamental anachronism and the need to re-think the processes of teaching and learning:

“The foundations of the present education system were laid at the end of the nineteenth century … no education system can be world-class without valuing and integrating creativity in teaching and learning, in the curriculum, in management and leadership and without linking this to promoting knowledge and understanding of cultural change and diversity.” (1999:16)

The Finnish Society on Media Education Policies & Finnish Media Best Practices booklets (2010) distributed at the MLC, outlines widespread national legislation supporting fluid, cross-curricular learning both about and through the media from the early years, throughout formal schooling and into other social spheres such as libraries, youth work, school clubs, museums and arts centres. See below a table of themes and objectives in all tiers of Finnish education, embodying what Jewitt might describe as “an inter-textual web of contexts and technology” (2008: 47) with the intention of fostering individual expression, critical analysis, collaborative enquiry, active citizenship and well-being:

Finnish Media Education Policies

Finnish Media Education Policies: approaches in culture and education (2010)

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