It's a part of my students' lives

Consider that the most popular topic among children and young people may be completely different than you think. As a teacher, you can check what is popular and use that in your lessons. But how? 

How to get to know the interests of children and young people? 

  • Take some time to watch well-known influencers to get to know who they are and what they do.
  • Explore social media platforms that are popular with children and young people such as TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Discord...
  • Look at a youth news programme or social media accounts about news for children and young people.
  • Ask your own children, nieces, nephews, neighbors' children, etc.
  • Work together with youth work initiatives in your area to create a bridge between education and after school activities. 
  • ...

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Conversation starters with your students 

Regularly engaging with your students about their media use is essential. Asking those questions can provide valuable insights. Based on their feedback, you can develop media literacy lessons tailored to their needs.

These conversation starters help you find out what your students are interested in. 

  • Begin with YouTube cinema*: go to YouTube as a teacher. Let one of your students choose a YouTube video they like and want to share with everyone. Have a conversation about the video and why it's something they wanted to share with the classroom.
  • Use a friendship book, specifically with media literacy questions: have students fill it out among themselves, but it can also serve as a guide for discussions (source: Mediawijs, Belgium).
  • Gather a set of questions about media literacy topics, based on the Digital Question of the Day. Display one general question as a conversation starter: 
    • Which social media platforms do you use? And for what purposes?
    • What do you see online?
    • How did you spend your weekend online?
  • Do a media literacy Bingo where each student gets a bingo sheet and has to search a few classmates who has at least on of the same topic. At the end, the one who manages to get the complete sheet first, wins! This serves you as a teacher to understand what the students' media habits are (see documents below, source: I Click Positive, Pepita, Italy).
  • ...

All of these conversation starters have one thing in common: trying to get to know your students' living environment. Only then can you find out what concerns them and what you as a teacher can respond to. 

* check your local legislation on using YouTube or other social media in your classroom. For all other topics related to social media, consider: can you use this in the classroom according to local regulations?

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