Using Health Infomercials to Develop Media Literacy Skills.
Children's exposure to various types of media is significant and consistent. Today's youth watch hours of television or play a significant amount of video games. Because students watch so much television, they are exposed to commercials as a form of advertising. Often the commercials become as entertaining as the programming. On the cable channels, some commercials are much longer than the usual 60 seconds. This version of commercial is called an infomercial.
Susan Hill and Gordon Lindsay, of Brigham Young University feel the health education curriculum is an ideal way of teaching media literacy skills through the medium of infomercials. Since infomercials can often promote health and health-related products, students can develop skills that will often correlate with the National Health Education Standards about what a student should know about health. The developing of media literacy skills includes the ability to analyze, interpret, question and evaluate media messages (Hill and Lindsay, 2002). The article indicates that teachers will find the associated activities fun, educational and engaging. It aids in the students development of critical thinking skills and understanding through discovery. .
I chose this article because it provided a complete lesson to use as an example for implementing this idea in the classroom. The lesson is complete with objectives of identifying persuasive context, comparing and contrasting, discussion of information and drawing a conclusion of its benefit. It includes a creative assessment idea of having the students create their own infomercial about a health related issue, which would require them to do research on a health issue. The article also integrated the use of media into teaching on health related issues, and in the process developed higher level and critical thinking skills.