Values education using media

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Tuesday. September 12, 2017

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“IN FORMAL education, the teacher is the central influence on the students in the classroom. In informal education, the mass media – print, radio, and especially television – are the teachers of the biggest classroom ever, the work outside the school, including the home.”

This was according to Fr. Cornelio Lagerwey, MSC. Indeed, the mass media, including social media, are appointed teachers of the youth. Majority of young people spend most of their time online, especially on different social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. A few perhaps watch TV news and teleseryes.

What is the implication of this? It means that perhaps most values of young people are shaped by mass media and social media. Fr. Lagerway further stressed that values in the classroom are taught while values presented in the media are caught.

To illustrate this further, in the classroom the teacher spends her time teaching children values such as honesty, respect, nationalism, love, among others. When the children get home, they surf the internet or watch TV. What they see on TV or on social media make them realize a lot of things. They will learn that they need to be with their friends in all their activities for fear of being left out. When their friends upload their “groufie” online and they are not there, it causes anxiety.

In commercials, audiences are made to believe that if they do not buy products advertised they lack something in their lives.

In teleseryes, there are topics that shape values and beliefs. These topics are sometimes taboo (as far as our culture is concerned) such as extramarital affairs, homosexual relationships, May-December love affairs, among others. If the audience lacks knowledge on these topics, there is a higher probability that they will be influenced.

So what is the challenge to educators, given that they are faced with these?

They cannot stop the emergence and proliferation of media. However, they could use the power of media to influence and inculcate values into the minds of their students. As teachers, they should understand how these media function and are utilized. In their lessons and teaching strategies, they could use stories aired on TV that teach Filipino values. They could require their students to produce a radio drama that tackles peace communication or an audio video material that showcases nationalism.

They could utilize social media to reach out to their students. They could also use this as a vehicle to publicize activities that promote important values. Students could be involved in these activities. As participants, they would be very excited to see themselves on different social media platforms working hard to achieve the goals of their activities.

Lagerwey (2014) stated that “teachers have a special, critical role in developing values in the students with regard to radio and television programs and printed materials. The schools and teachers can integrate mass media education in the curriculum and so influence the students on what newspapers, magazines, and books to read. They can guide their choice of radio and TV programs to listen and watch.”

And perhaps, as teachers they should also be careful of what they post and share online. Their online presence should be beneficial to the students and not a cause of chaos. I suggest they should separate their personal account from the accounts they use to teach.

Values are difficult to teach especially in this time where there are a lot of distractions. Instead of treating mass media as an adversary or foe, teachers should treat it as a partner in making sure that the morals, principles, and ethics reach the students correctly.

As Fr. Lagerway stated, “teachers must be aware that values education does not begin and end in the classroom, not even in the school. Values education, for better or for worse, is carried out in a more powerful way by mass media.” ([email protected]/PN)



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