Lesson Four: Analyzing and Critiquing Media Documents using the NAMLE Key Questions

Teacher's Guide to Media Literacy.jpg

Learning Objective

Participants will analyze and critique media documents using the NAMLE key questions.

Activity One

Read: Core Principles of Media Literacy Education in the United States

Lecture: Using the NAMLE Key Questions

The National Association For Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) created a media literacy tool known as Key Questions for Analyzing Media Messages as a foundation for building habits of inquiry about media messages. As Scheibe & Rogow (2012) mention, "media literacy isn't just about what students notice in a media document but also about their ability to understand the document's significance in creating or supporting a particular worldview" (pg. 47). Media literacy is designed to be implemented in all subjects, but for the purpose of this course we will focus on incorporating media literacy in an ELA classroom. When analyzing and critiquing media documents, there are a plethora of key questions that can be asked based on audience & authorship, messages & meanings, and representations & reality. Within each of these categories are sub-categories with a series of suggested decoding questions created by NAMLE. During a lesson, educators present students with a media document(s) and use the NAMLE key questions to develop students' habits of inquiry as well as determine the meaning and purpose of these messages. Please note that although there are several key questions that can be used to analyze and critique media documents, it is up to the teacher to determine when and which questions to ask for each media document. Here is the official list of questions courtesy of the National Association of Media Literacy Education:

Audience and Authorship

  • Who made this message?
  • Why was this made?
  • Who is the target audience (and how do you know?)
  • Who paid for this?
  • Who might benefit from this message?
  • Who might be harmed by this message?
  • Why might this message matter to me?
  • What kind of questions might I take in response to this message?

Meanings and Messages

  • What is this about (and what makes you think that)
  • What ideas, values, information, and/or point of view are overt? Implied?
  • What is left out of the message that might be important to know?What techniques are used?
  • Why were those techniques used?
  • How do they communicate the message?
  • How might different people understand this message differently?
  • What is my interpretation of this and what do I learn about myself from my reaction or interpretation?

Representations and Reality

  • When was this made?
  • Where or how was it shared with the public?
  • Is this fact, opinion, or something else?
  • How credible is this (and what makes you think that?)
  • What the are the sources of the information, ideas, or assertions?

Activity Two

Please choose 3 lessons you created that you would like to incorporate media literacy skills into or find media literacy lessons online at http://www.ncte.org/lessons/media-literacy or any online reliable lesson plan website. Include links to these documents or attach them in your Google Doc. After choosing your lessons and media document(s) that you think might be useful for your students to analyze using the NAMLE key questions:

  1. Create a Google Doc in our Media Literacy Folder Media Literacy Mini-Course 2017 Reminder: Please label your Google Doc and all other files with your full name and assignment. (i.e. Stephanie Aquino Lesson Four). Please use double space, 12 pt Times New Roman font and 1" margins. Please remove all extra space between paragraphs.
  2. Justify your choices and indicate your target audience and educational context for each media document (explain why and how you can use these documents in the classroom)
  3. Use the NAMLE key questions to analyze and critique the media documents. Determine which questions will be most appropriate to use during this decoding process.

This activity will help you learn and practice decoding media messages.

Lesson Wrap-Up

Now that you have learned and practiced decoding media messages,

  1. Read at least two of your peer's media documents located in the following folder: Media Literacy Mini-Course 2017 and analyze and critique their media documents using the NAMLE key questions they selected.

Congratulations! You have successfully completed lesson four of this mini-course. In our final lesson you will apply learned knowledge of media literacy skills and concepts to create a lesson plan that builds on students’ media literacy skills in a 7-12 ELA classroom.

Proceed to Lesson Five: Lesson Five: Creating Curriculum using Media Literacy Concepts

Additional Resources

Tips for Decoding Media Documents

References and Resources

Media Literacy Lessons. (n.d.). Retrieved May 07, 2017, from http://www.ncte.org/lessons/media-literacy

Morgenthaler, P. D., T., & Schilder, E. (n.d.). Home | National Association for Media Literacy Education on WordPress.com. Retrieved May 07, 2017, from https://namle.net/

Scheibe, C., & Rogow, F. (2012). The Teacher’s Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.


ETAP 623 Spring 2017: ETAP 623 Spring 2017

Portfolio Page: Stephanie Aquino's Portfolio Page

Mini-Course Homepage: Media Literacy Mini-Course Homepage

Unit Two Homepage: Unit Two: Applying the Curriculum-Driven Approaches to Media Literacy in an ELA Classroom

Lessons in this unit:

  1. Lesson Four: Analyzing and Critiquing Media Documents using the NAMLE Key Questions
  2. Lesson Five: Creating Curriculum using Media Literacy Concepts