As part of a new training program in media literacy, the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) trained 14 teachers who teach in high school classes. The training, which was the first with physical presence after more than two years of online activities, took place between April 15-17, 2022, in Chisinau. The trainers of the course were Loretta Handrabura and Natalia Griu, the authors of the curriculum and the textbook Media Education for the 10th and 11th grades.
Mariana Tabuncic, program manager at IJC, mentioned, at the beginning of the training, the importance of cultivating critical thinking in these times. “The investments we make today are not just for raising your level of professionalism. These are investments for a future with more critical thinking and advanced media skills. We hope you will be convinced of this during the training”.
Oxana Iutes, deputy director of Internews in Moldova, noted the growing number of teachers interested in IJC training programs. “We encourage you to become ambassadors of critical thinking. Our future generations depend on your involvement and the way we teach them to make the right choices”.
Natalia Griu started the first session by familiarizing the teachers with the path taken by the IJC to introduce the discipline in the school curriculum.
“Media Education is a cross-cutting discipline. It is the art of dealing with information that comes to us from all sides. We can drown in this information wave, or we can learn to be skilled swimmers”.
Loretta Handrabura also appreciated the motivation and openness of the participants for continuous learning. “It is important for teachers to get out of their comfort zone. Thank you for giving us the chance to ‘mould’ your understanding of the media so that you can later inform your pupils”.
Using interactive teaching techniques, participants set out their expectations for the training, analyzed the quality of media sources, talked about pluralism of ideas, discussed the role of journalists and photojournalists in a democratic society, and learned to identify misinformation and fake news. Influencers and trolls were another topics of interest, as was the online safety of children and teenagers.
After a training program full of analysis and debate, the teachers acknowledged that media literacy deserves much more attention in the educational process. Although three days are not enough to get to the heart of all the topics, Nicolina Colesnic, a teacher at the “Gheorghe Asachi” Lyceum in Chisinau, was delighted with this experience.
“We, the teachers, are involved in many trainings, but from this one I will take home a wealth of techniques, topics, definitions, as well as positive emotions. The trainers and the trainees were all great”.
Oleg Gutu, a physical education teacher at the “Constantin Stere” Lyceum in Abaclia village, Basarabeasca district, started teaching the subject in September 2021, although he did not have textbooks. “I think the discipline and the textbook are so complex that I would need another week of training. Now I understand much better how to approach some topics and I have known relevant examples and case studies”, the professor shared with us.
So far, the IJC has trained 211 teachers, 176 secondary school teachers, and 178 high school teachers. The Media Education optional subject is taught in schools in the Republic of Moldova since 2017 and is included in the Framework Program of the Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Moldova at all three levels of education – primary, middle school and high school. The IJC has developed a curriculum and textbooks for Media Education that are provided free of charge to teachers and pupils.
The training was organized by the Independent Journalism Center in the project “Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova” (MEDIA-M), funded by USAID, UK and implemented by Internews in Moldova.