Robin Carlier, Media Literacy 2019, wins the Media Literacy dissertation prize
His dissertation is entitled "La manière dont les professionnels de l’éducation ayant suivi des modules de formation continue en éducation aux médias implémentent celle-ci dans leur pratique éducative" ("The way in which education specialists who have completed continuing education modules in media literacy implement it in their educational practice"), and the sponsor is the former president of the Media Literacy Department, Patrick Verniers.
The jury formed by the CSEM underlined its interest in this applied research work which was able to shed light on something completely novel: feedback and concrete practices of education specialists who have completed continuing education modules in media literacy. It noted the benefit of the qualitative methodology adopted by the student, combining observation of training days, questionnaires and individual interviews. Far from providing definitive answers, this work nevertheless addresses relevant questions relating to the systemic positioning of media literacy in school curricula and in preliminary teacher training, as well as the material conditions necessary for the integration of media literacy in education.
Summary of his dissertation
Following the likely future reform of preliminary teacher training within the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, it seemed interesting to me to explore continuing education in media literacy, something that constitutes a major issue in teaching and sometimes constitutes the only training in medial literacy that some education specialists receive. I therefore tried to obtain information on the continuing education modules provided in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and contacted the staff in charge of them in order to learn more about their practices and recommendations.
I attempted to answer the following research question: "To what extent does continuing education in media literacy in French-speaking Belgium improve the media and didactic skills of education specialists to the point of being able to involve media literacy throughout their professional practice?". In view of my research question, it is essential to formulate a general hypothesis and two sub-hypotheses.
The general hypothesis is as follows: continuing education in media literacy in French-speaking Belgium does not improve the media and didactic skills of education specialists to the point of being able to involve media literacy throughout their professional practice.
The two sub-hypotheses resulting from the above hypothesis are as follows:
1. The continuing education modules in media literacy in French-speaking Belgium do not develop the media and didactic skills of the education specialists attending them;
2. Education specialists who have completed one or more continuing education modules relating to media literacy in French-speaking Belgium do not involve this topic throughout their course.
After having presented the theoretical results relating to this research as well as providing its contextualisation, I performed three methodological steps in order to answer my initial hypotheses: an analysis of the continuing education syllabus according to a grid containing specific criteria, an online questionnaire sent to participants, and semi-structured interviews with the volunteers from this group to find out more about their media literacy practices upon completion of training. They also made recommendations regarding continuing education in general within the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
The results obtained on the basis of this research lead to reflection and avenues for continuing education in media literacy and allow the research question to be answered objectively. In view of the interpretations of the results by way of the two sub-hypotheses of this research, I can assert, with a measure of confidence, that continuing education in media literacy in French-speaking Belgium does not improve the media and didactic skills of education specialists to the point of being able to involve media literacy throughout their professional practice. As has been demonstrated in this study, the education seems to enable only a minority of participants to involve media literacy throughout their educational practice, even if it satisfies most of the criteria in the analysis grid for the initial phase of the method. Can continuing education alone compensate for the lack of support in programmes and standards, in material and technical conditions, etc.? There are so many factors that cannot be compensated for by education, so we have to understand the conditions that must be satisfied in order to enhance the inclusion of these practices.
My work was able to shed light on something completely novel: feedback and concrete practices of education specialists who have completed continuing education modules in media literacy. This also made it possible to understand and point out, beyond the shortcomings of certain training courses, the general limitations of our education system when it comes to media literacy. If this, via my dissertation, is relevant to teachers and educators, it must be said that it therefore indirectly affects their students within the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. The results obtained by this qualitative method thus demonstrate that it is possible to gather useful information for the design of continuing education modules. It could constitute the premise of formative evaluation practices and improvement of training systems. The flow of training and the very formal nature of "satisfaction surveys" as currently used deserve to be complemented by a qualitative assessment of this type. I am convinced that, if carried out on a larger scale and on a longitudinal basis, this form of qualitative evaluation would enrich continuing education practices and make it possible to satisfy the demands of teachers. Providing the resources and time to enable educational staff to fully promote media literacy in their professional practices as well as making concrete arrangements to train them to do so should be one of the priorities of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation in terms of improving the quality of holistic teaching of media literacy. As shown in this dissertation, the issue with education lies not only in the component studied here, but is general and depends on other criteria beyond continuing education alone, such as the systemic problem of initial training, not to mention the points of support in frames of reference and teaching programmes and technical and material conditions in classes. One of the major challenges to be taken up in order to improve the media skills of citizens concerns education, and in order to rise to this challenge, we must start by focusing on the training of students but also, and even more so, that of education professionals.
Source: CSEM article