08.07.2019 - UNESCO Office in Amman

EU and UNESCO deliver MIL training to educators and master trainers


This week, 20 teachers, principals and master trainers from across Jordan have been engaged in training, designed to expose participants to innovative ways to enhance media and information literacy (MIL) skills. This training falls under the umbrella of the “Youth Empowerment” project, funded by the European Union (EU). The project works to advance MIL as a holistic response to fostering safe and ethical use, consumption and production of media and internet among youth in Jordan. Implemented by the UNESCO Amman office, with strong collaboration and generous funding from the EU, the project is being carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of State for Media Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the media community and civil society in Jordan.

Participants from Irbid, Zarqa and Ma’an gathered in Amman for the ‘training of trainers’ workshop, conducted with support from new partners, DROG and Dot.Jordan. DROG, an organization based in the Netherlands, uses innovative tools to help build resistance to disinformation. One of these tools is an interactive game that DROG has created, to counter information disorder, including disinformation and misinformation. In this way, DROG seeks to provide ‘a psychological vaccine against disinformation’, with the game representing a type of ‘active inoculation’ against disinformation.

Ms. Intisar Al Bdour, a school principal from Ma’an, feels that this sort of inoculation could serve her students well. “In our work, it is so important for us to focus on the psychological preparation of young people so they can work towards being positive examples online, using well developed critical thinking skills”.

Trainer Mr. Tom Frans imparts that, “critical thinking is not just about trying to find truth but about trying to look at another perspective and seeking to develop your own, nuanced perspective”.

In Ms. Bdour’s MIL club in Ma’an, the 17 young women she has been teaching have demonstrated how they are using their new skills in day-to-day life. “When we had the rain storms in the spring, a rumor went around about the house of one of the club members. People all said that one of the walls had been destroyed, as this is what was being spread. During the meeting of the club, we learned that in fact, her house was intact. We used this example to illustrate how such news gets spread and how we can do better, to check facts and sources”.

Ms. Bdour has also spent time encouraging her students to be aware of the stereotypes they are exposed to on a daily basis in the media. “I reinforce to them that these are not realistic – that women don’t need to be thin to be beautiful. At this age, girls are so susceptible to negative messaging and MIL skills can help them to confront the ideas being imposed upon them”.

Ms. Huda Naserallah, a teacher from Nusaibah Al Maziniyyeh Girls School in Ruseifa, Zarqa, has been leading an MIL club at her school in Zarqa, and she is excited to return to teaching this group of students in the fall. “Today, I am really pleased to be here and to be gaining a new host of MIL skills. I feel the children will really connect with the lessons if they are taught through a ‘game’ modality. When we teach using techniques that they perceive as fun, they become more interested in the content”. At her school, Ms. Naserallah has seen the power of teaching through games in action, using these techniques successfully with children who have been bullied or suffer from low self-esteem.

Media and Information Literacy clubs have been active in fifteen schools across Jordan this year, as one component of the “Youth Empowerment” project. This year, the clubs have been focusing on freedom of expression, digital media literacy, visual media creation, authenticity of news, ethical reporting, and online privacy and security, among other topics.

UNESCO believes that MIL supports the development of inclusive knowledge societies, encouraging the active engagement of youth through information and communication technologies, drawing on relevant quality content, based on human rights and dignity. Strengthening MIL skills falls within UNESCO’s mandate of encouraging freedom of expression. The objectives of the “Youth Empowerment” project align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically targeting Sustainable Development Goal 16, which strives to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

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