Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Pedagogies: An International Journal 16:1 (2021), pp. 44–61.

doi: 10.1080/1554480X.2020.1738939


Copyright © 2020 Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. Used by permission.


Our research explores and elaborates the ways preservice teachers come to know and begin conceptualizing ways of teaching about news media. We report on what we interpret as their understandings and, perhaps more importantly, their misunderstandings of media literacy as they relate to their emerging ideas about what it means to teach others about crucial social and political issues of our time. The students with whom the authors worked demonstrated problematic misperceptions and misunderstandings about important media concepts and topics. These preservice teachers misunderstood the ways in which news media is different from other media genres. Additionally, they often indicated that avoiding bias on an issue required the consideration of two competing and equally worthy sides, even in the cases of extremely biased or false stories. We discuss the implications of these misunderstandings as simultaneously raising the stakes for teacher educators as well as calling attention to the limits of teacher education in relation to future teachers’ knowledge of (in this case) news media.