Project Look Sharp’s Director of Curriculum and Staff Development, Chris Sperry, has been asked by the government of Bhutan to train educators in media literacy. Chris will be traveling to the remote Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas at the end of January where he will work with officials from the Ministry of Information and Communication and Bhutanese teachers and teacher trainers. Bhutan is the last nation in the world to introduce television (1999) and is attempting to enter into modernity in a conscious and thoughtful way that is consistent with its cultural values. Bhutan’s popular monarch, Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated in 2008 and the nation is moving forward in developing civic and democratic institutions. Bhutan is known for both its commitment to conservation (more than 1/3 of its territory is set aside in preserves) and for developing approaches to modernity that reflect its Buddhist culture. Rather than relying on traditional economic indicators of progress, Bhutan has developed a new quality of life indicator, GNH – Gross National Happiness.
Chris’ has been asked to help Bhutan’s education system to integrate critical thinking and media literacy using Project Look Sharp’s inquiry-based model for “constructivist media decoding.” Project Look Sharp was founded a Ithaca College in 1995 by Professor Cyndy Scheibe with the mission of supporting educators to integrate media literacy and critical thinking throughout the curriculum. With support form the College and private foundations Project Look Sharp has produced and posted on online over a dozen media literacy curriculum kits including: Media Construction of… The Middle East, Presidential Campaigns, War, Peace, Social Justice, Martin Luther King Jr., Endangered Species, Creativity and Aging, Critical Thinking and Health, and Global Warming, and most recently, Media Construction of Sustainability. These materials have been downloaded tens of thousands of times by educators around the world. All of these materials are available free online at www.projectlooksharp.org.
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Bhutan Header Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
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