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(ANS – Bratislava) – Children and young people are influenced by the media without them having the ability to criticize the things that are surrounding them. As a reaction to this Media School has been created. This Slovak-Czech project of the Salesian family offers informal education focused on media, especially for young people.
The main goal of Media School is to teach young people how to be critical recipients of media content which means they are supposed to be able to evaluate the contribution and form of media products. They should also be qualitative creators who know how to share their ideas and beliefs through the media. Because many of participants are also volunteers and they usually work with children, they are also taught how to lead their younger friends to a critical perception.
In March 2011 the first twenty participants finished their two years long course and they presented their work in July 2011 during the media festival MeŠtival in Žilina. The main topic which they were supposed to follow was “You have only things which you have been given”. Although this festival had been designed for participants of the Media school, all young people under the age 26 could have signed up.
Another group of twenty participants finished Media School in March 2012.
The four-semester course of Media School for high school students is organized by Laura, youth association. Each of the courses is focused on one topic – See, Live, Create, Give. Besides these topics developing themes are presented and discussed. Through practical work young people are being trained in journalism, photography, self-presentation and audio-visual work. Courses are led by professionals from each field.
Lecturers are using a technique called ‘learning by doing’ which means less theory and more work. Viktória Kolčáková, coordinator and lecturer, says: “According to my knowledge, this kind of informal education through courses doesn’t exist anywhere in Slovakia. Small exceptions could be some of the art schools. Personally, I take lecturing in Media School as part of my apostolate, because I do it besides my job in media. I can share not just practical experiences, but I can help them to grow in their personalities”.
The Project of Media School is successful and now a third group of young people is learning how to work in media. However, again just twenty students could be accepted. Anyway, questions about how to open the eyes of young people and how to show the secrets of the media to many others still remain.
“There is something like a big project behind us. We are thinking how the future can be. One of the options is to offer media education to students of elementary and high schools. As we can see, young people like it, because the media have become part of their lives and they usually don’t know how they influence them and what they can achieve through them,’’ clarifies representative for the media, the Salesian priest Fr Maroš Peciar SDB.