Full Day Workshop 1

Critical Media Literacy and Body Literacy

“You saw that WHERE?”

Media is everywhere in our lives today. With the advent of the internet and its significant influence on multiple aspects of our lives, children and adolescents today have become immersed in multiple, different forms of media.  As a result of this immersion, they are influenced by subtle and overt messages which are both social and economic, and which persuade them to buy certain products and to look a certain way. Many teachers and parents grew up in a world which is significantly different from today’s world, and may be unaware of some of the implications of popular culture’s messages.  Yet, there are simple viewing techniques which can engage young persons of all ages to be more critical of what they are viewing without the adults in their lives taking an oppositional position.  

This full day workshop examines first the media that have influenced and continue to persuade our adult lives, and then moves to examine the potential positive and negative effects of current popular culture and media on children and adolescents. Using sample media literacy lessons and techniques for all ages, workshop participants will learn how to offer questions in a non-judgmental way to encourage viewers of all ages to see how they are being persuaded by media techniques to think a certain way.  Attendees at this workshop will gain first of all, a range of techniques to help students deconstruct media and then reconstruct it.  They will also gain a sense of how they, themselves have been persuaded by media, particularly in the areas of appearance and worth, and understand key concepts such as representation. Finally, attendees will receive a series of critical media literacy lessons geared to specific ages that can be used as a foundation for helping our children and students think more critically about all aspects of the world around them. 

Dr. Lorayne Robertson is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Her research interests include studies on the influence of technology in education, critical media literacy and critical health literacy. Lorayne is a former teacher, principal, school superintendent and Education Officer for the Ministry of Education. She has worked in the areas of critical media literacy, body image and eating disorder prevention for more than 10 years.   

Sielen Raoufi has a Master of Health Sciences in Community Nutrition from the University of Toronto and has worked at Toronto Public Health since 2002. In her role as Nutrition Promotion Consultant in the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Program, Sielen develops nutrition programs and resources for teachers, parents and students in elementary schools.

Joli Scheidler-Benns is a PhD student at York University in the Health Policy and Equity department. Her research focus areas have included aspects of critical media and critical health literacy. She is interested in finding ways to promote resilience and tackle social justice issues.