Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Education Theory and Practice

Content Description

1 online resource (xi, 170 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Brett Levy

Committee Members

Alandeom Oliveira, Alex Kumi-Yeboah


critical media literacy, curriculum, education, media literacy, social studies, social studies education, Media literacy, Critical thinking, Social sciences, Fake news

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Education


There have been many efforts to address the importance of media literacy in schools, but little research has focused on critical media literacy (CML) in social studies curricula or classrooms. This is the first case study to examine the planning and implementation of a school wide CML lesson designed by teachers, and it traces this process from inspiration and collaborative conception of the lesson through its enactment within the classroom. In addition, this research provides unique insight into how teachers arrive at CML as a means of empowering students in the face of widespread disinformation and political polarization. In my analysis of social studies frameworks, standards, and curricula, I found that CML skills and practices appeared frequently throughout the secondary grade levels. In addition, teacher participants expressed the need to incorporate CML throughout their curriculum, and this aligned with their academic objectives as well as their goals for students beyond the classroom. Findings also indicated that with even limited exposure to CML skills, teachers can help students develop a more critical stance towards media consumption. Regarding student perceptions of CML, findings suggest that students value these skills and see them as an important part of social studies education. Finally, this case illustrates the point at which teachers’ CML efforts and a community’s values intersect, and how the resulting tension may impact those efforts. This research demonstrates the importance of CML practices and highlights the possibilities of more focused efforts towards these goals.