Media literacy makes migrant youngsters more resilient

Past July, the project Media wise by making media (MMM) started, a project that was set up as part of the route Resilient and Meaningful Societies of the Dutch National Research Agenda (Dutch name: Nationale Wetenschapsagenda, NWA). The project leaders of this subproject are Dr Koen Leurs en Sanne Sprenger MA, who are tied to the Department of Media and Cultural Studies


After arriving in the Netherlands, migrant youngsters enrol in a two-year education course in international switch classes. Exactly within this unique future-oriented institutional context, learning to critically observe and make media - in a society that is new to them - is important to build new bridges. Although media wisdom more and more often becomes part of the curriculum, it is still neglected in international classes, says co-initiator Sanne Sprenger.


The curriculums that do exist are often too patronizing and cautionary, according to the researchers. That is why they let the youngsters in this programme make their own media. Like in the form of a video or vlog, or a video cv. "When you do it yourself, you learn better to see through media dynamics than when it is told to you," Sprenger explains. "This way, the students learn better to understand which choices journalists make, which ethical matters there are and how you shape the truth."


For instance, this is how youngsters learn about framing, Koen Leurs explains: "In the pilot, we once showed an image of an armed soldier helping an injured person, but also holding an enemy at gunpoint. That same image was cut into the media in three ways, which created a different image every time. That way, we teach the youngsters that media expressions are constructed in a certain way."