Creating critical thinkers through media literacy: Andrea Quijada at TEDxABQED



when I was growing up I was going to be Wonder Woman no it's true it wasn't just those shiny red boots all those fierce bullet deflecting wristband what really fascinated me was that magic golden lasso of truth Wonder Woman could find out secrets and untold stories with the toss of an accessory it was kind of amazing as I grew older I became increasingly fascinated with what people didn't tell me I didn't have a golden lasso so I had to figure it out so when my parents said no we won't have a TV in the house I figured it meant we want everyone in the neighborhood to think we're weird because everyone did think we were weird for not having a television ironically it was my parents who gave me my first media literacy lesson for my mom deconstructing movies like Cinderella or Flashdance – my dad deconstructing television commercial I learned early on to look for that untold story one time we were at my Nana's house she had a TV and a commercial came on and was one of those ads where a man gives a woman this large diamond ring and she smiles tears up and the music swell indicating that they are going to live happily ever after my dad turned to me rolled his eyes and said well I guess I don't love your mom because I never gave her a diamond it was comments like that that taught me media could be decoded so from there really when you think about it I think that my fate as a media literacy educator was probably sealed by the time I turned ten as a media literacy educator I get to travel the country teaching student teachers and parents how to deconstruct media at a time when young people are interacting with media for over seven and a half hours each day it's critical that they have deconstruction questions in their tool belt and they can ask questions like what is the text and subtext of this message the text is what we see a photograph of a young girl holding hands with an adult we have three colored stripes and other information at the top and the words reading writing color coordinating the subtext is what we don't see it's essentially our interpretation and students bring their own opinions into the classroom so they can each have their own answer they love this subtext varies from hey she's learning about art that's great – well it's so cute she's dressed just like her mom – huh are they telling us that it's more important for girls to be worried about what they're wearing then doing math that leads to an untold story which is what is the actual saying is it reading writing and color-coordinating no it's reading writing and what what is it arithmetic right well not all students know that they're not the target audience which is another important deconstruction question who is this message for they research that come back and now we can have a conversation about a second untold story which is that girls are nudged out of math with all kinds of products like t-shirts that say I'm allergic to algebra and dolls that say things like math is hard now the classroom can have a conversation about the collective impact these messages have on our culture and job interviews and our economy once students know how to deconstruct media they have gained a superpower and while they can't see through walls they can see through ads sitcoms and even newspaper articles joseph is an 8th grader he wasn't even participating in class until media literacy was introduced his reason well it's the media literacy connects school to my real life so it's something I can use every day other students create counter ads on their final day of media literacy class this is when they take an actual ad and sort of deconstruct it and reconstruct it to highlight the untold story here are some examples from across the state here a sixth grader understood how tobacco marketing was impacting their community and really highlights the impact of addiction when they chose to put the phrase it's a beautiful struggle and here a seventh grader recreated an ad that her originally said sometimes your eyes are bigger than your mandibles and it showed an ant carrying this large bottle of alcohol and they poignant ly recreated it to say sometimes when you drink you feel this small here's an original ad using various techniques of persuasion including bribery and it's offering a five percent cashback an exaggeration and ik waiting freedom with using a credit card James Devine a ninth grader won our national counter ad contest last year when he flipped the frame on those techniques of persuasion and let us know that maybe just and he let us know that maybe it's a hundred percent corporate manipulation when that revolving door of debt is equated with freedom instead of slavery now that I've grown up I still don't have bracelets that can deflect a bullet but I did get that golden lasso now let's make sure that each student gets theirs so that's those seven and a half hours that they interact with media become a daily opportunity to connect school to their 21st century real lives [Applause]

18 thoughts on “Creating critical thinkers through media literacy: Andrea Quijada at TEDxABQED”

  1. Those tricky advertisers. Subliminal messages over-valuing youth and appearance is still a big problem. Might be the root source of many cases of suicide.

  2. So many people are illiterate today and show pride more than seek understanding. So many people can read but yet are still having trouble with media literacy. So many are also unwilling to step away from fallacies and use critical thinking it seems.
    Is the human brain evolving into something that seeks little logic and creative thinking beyond conformity? I do not know.
    I do know however people lack not only media literacy often, but scientific literacy as well no matter what they label themselves.

    Cults do encourage lack of critical thought and to research individually questions it seems too. Yet many do not fully understand definition and concepts of what cults do to create such barriers to literacy and force censorship on everyone. In fact regardless of labels one may call themselves there is still that similar human psychology how people can end up in cult like thinking or lack thereof it seems.

    I can only hope in the future people will be more literate as communication, language, and definition change… as they always have since ancient days.

  3. right on !! I took the tv out our home almost two years ago & ill say, my kids & i are just about experts on seeing through those messages now

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