A set of didactical approaches to teach media literacy

As said in the video, there is no one size fits all approach to teach media literacy. You need to take certain factors into account, such as your own teaching style, your educational context and the students you have in front of you. The way to approach media literacy can take various forms. 

In the video, we approached some options. Now we're diving into 2 other approaches and provide you some more inspiration: the 5Cs and inquiry-based learning.

The 5Cs

The 5Cs are 5 stages of a framework you can use to build your media literacy lesson. The pedagogical approach focuses on repetition, active engagement, active learning, reflection and uses concrete examples from the real world to bring a topic in your classroom. It offers a dynamic framework for engaging students in media literacy topics.

The five Cs are (1) connect, (2) concept, (3) concrete, (4) conclude and (5) continue. We will explain the five stages below.

1. Connect

Begin by stimulating your student's curiosity and relating the subject to their everyday experiences. To generate interest, use realistic examples, engaging tasks, and challenging questions or a dilemma on the concept.

Start the lesson, for example, with a short video or a quiz that prompts students to consider how the media topic affects the decisions they make every day. This creates openings for a deeper investigation.

2. Concept

Once you've got their interest, go more into the theoretical part and provide more indepth content. Divide difficult ideas into manageable portions to familiarise with the concept. Explainer videos are a great way to explain difficult topics.

After they've familiarised the concept, ask them reflective questions "what do you think of the concept?", "how would you act if this happened in your close environment?"... Provide enough examples.

3. Concrete

Immerse your students in real-world situations to expand their learning and go beyond theory. Organise discussions about the concept, let them create concrete solutions to the problem, use a role-play game to really experience the concept.

These practical exercises not only help students understand what they have learned, but they provide them real-world skills that they can use outside of the classroom.

4. Conclude

Help pupils make conclusions and look for positive outcomes of the concept. Focus on how they can use those positive aspects in their daily lives and encourage them to think about what they've learned: "how can they use it to deal with issues in their daily life?". Give them useful advice, tools, and techniques

5. Continue

Finally, emphasize the importance of continuous learning and reflection. Urge pupils to maintain their curiosity, pose inquiries, and look for trustworthy sources of knowledge. Keep it alive and grasp the importance of the concept.

This framework is used in the EDUboxes. "EDUbox" is an educational concept developed by VRT NWS to introduce secondary school students to a specific social issue. The goal of EDUbox is to inform young people and encourage them to engage with the topic themselves.

You can find an example of the EDUbox Politics below that follows the framework of 5Cs.

Inquiry-based learning / Problem-based learning

Another approach you can use in your classroom when exploring media literacy is inquiry-based learning. Inquiry based learning starts from real-world problems. Since media literacy is often very much linked to the daily lives of your students, it's a good approach to teach media literacy.

Both inquiry-based learning and media literacy need critical thinking competences. Inquiry-based learning uses a series of steps to find the answer to a certain question: (1) orientation, (2) conceptualisation, (3) investigation, (4) data interpretation, (5) conclusion, and (6) discussion.

Students go through those steps to solve a real-world issue, which could be a media literacy topic. Some examples:

  • Who created this media message, and what might be their purpose or agenda?
  • How is information presented, and what impact does the presentation style have on the audience's understanding?
  • What emotions or reactions might this media content evoke in its audience?
  • ...


1. Orientation: your students familiarise themselves with the topic, identifying the importance aspects.

2. Conceptualisation: they engage in questioning the problem and formulating a hypothesis on what it might mean.

3. Investigation: your students get to work to explore answers to the question, using different investigation methods such as research, interviews ...

4. Data interpretation: they interpret their findings on what they have gathered.

5. Conclusion: your students try to provide an answer to the proposed question in the beginning.

6. Reflective discussion: You and your students look critically at the outcomes and conclusions.

Complete and Continue