4512 Selection and Use of Nonprint Materials for the Classroom

Nonprint media – including streaming, broadcast, cable, satellite, and recorded video, film, CDROM, DVD and Internet, music video, videotape, film, radio, compact disk, and digital hypertext for personal computers are primary sources of information and recreation, as well as emotional and artistic experiences for Americans. Inasmuch as today’s children come to school from homes and communities which provide them with wide exposure to nonprint media, it is crucial that teachers draw upon this background both to recognize their students’ knowledge and to develop their students’ critical thinking about nonprint media. Students must develop the knowledge, critical awareness, and technical skills to become participants in, creators of, thinkers about, and commentators on the nonprint media that are so pervasive an influence on their lives.

This means that teachers often must use materials that, while potentially controversial, need to be examined so students can confront the stereotyping, propagandizing, and editorial gatekeeping so prevalent in the media. These materials are never selected to expose students to gratuitous violence or sexuality. Study of such materials allows students to discover that nonprint media works are constructions of reality, have commercial, ideological, and value-laden messages, and employ aesthetic forms.


We affirm that the purpose of including these materials is:

  •  to support the development of students’ print literacy and appreciation of print literature by building on students’ formally and informally acquired media literacy skills;
  •  to study artistic and informative works in their own right;
  • to deepen students’ abilities to understand and to critically analyze the powerful nonprint
  • media sources of their daily information and entertainment.


The underlying principles in forming this policy are:

  1. Students’ freedom of speech includes freedom of expression through studying, discussing, and producing nonprint media. Selected media must comply with federal copyright law and the Board of Educations’ copyright policy.
  2. Education at all levels must reflect the diversity and debate inherent in a democratic society. Well-schooled citizens are prepared to consider choices, to raise questions, to consider a spectrum of contingencies, and to develop skills and attitudes of critical analysis. This kind of education must begin early. All classrooms, therefore, need to include a variety of print and nonprint materials for students’ discovery, information seeking, and decision-making.
  3. Media arts can inspire and enlarge students’ ways of perceiving and being in the world.
  4. In a global society, nonprint media can expand students’ understanding of cultures beyond their own. Students must develop their abilities to analyze the ways the mainstream media shape their perceptions of other cultures and encounter a variety of cultural products and perspectives.
  5. Language is the means by which teachers and students construct, examine, and evaluate print and nonprint texts for practical, intellectual, and aesthetic purposes. Therefore, the classroom is an appropriate setting for the technical, aesthetic, and intellectual study of nonprint media.
  6. Selection of nonprint materials for study in schools should be the province of teachers and librarians; the selection should be based on sound educational criteria outlined in the district and school instructional goals and curriculum statements.
  7. The rating system of the Motion Picture Association of America should not be used as the primary guide in selecting films or videotapes for instruction in schools. MPAA ratings are made by the film industry expressly without regard for artistic or educational value.
  8. Intellectual development requires that students learn to dispute civilly. The teacher’s role in discussion of both print and nonprint materials is one of mediating between and among conflicting viewpoints and perceptions. Leading a class discussion of controversial topics or works does not imply endorsement or approval of views or values suggested by those works or expressed by students in discussion of those works.
  9. Research on styles of learning supports the wide use of nonprint materials in the curriculum – including opportunities for analysis and production — especially for students who find visual or auditory works the primary means for learning and personal expression.
  10. As with reading literature, the students’ prior knowledge shapes their perception of a media text; each student thus “sees” a different work. There needs to be class time for expression and discussion of a range of response to the nonprint media work
  11. When possible, artistic nonprint works should be offered to students in their entirety and in the form in which they were intended by their creatorsThe responsibility for media arts literacy does not rest with the individual teacher alone.

      If students are to be taught to respond intelligently to the nonprint media, the schoolsand communities must commit a share of their resources to this goal.


      Responsibilities of teachers in dealing with nonprint materials include;

      1. Working with school media resource centers, librarians, and teacher colleagues to select appropriate nonprint materials for the curriculum from a wide variety of outlets and viewpoints to encourage students’ intellectual and aesthetic development.
      2. Previewing nonprint materials and providing rationales for their use.
      3. Including sufficient introductory preparation in classes dealing with material for which controversy might be expected, including careful explanation of the overriding educational purpose; scheduling time for substantial follow-up activity for students to discuss and clarify their initial responses to a media work in relation to the curricular focus; and promoting inquiry-based classroom strategies.
      4. Helping students to understand the interrelationship of nonprint and print materials, and to study the features of both.
      1. Developing techniques of leading respectful discussion and debate and resolving conflict in the classroom.
      1. Providing a cultural, historical, economic, and social context for nonprint media whenever possible.
      1. Following copyright law as it applies to nonprint media and current fair-use laws of broadcast programming for educational purposes.


      1. When nonprint materials are used, they will connect clearly and relevantly to the course, enhancing or reinforcing student understanding of aspects of course content.
      2. Further, the nonprint materials will meet one or more of the following criteria
      1. Makes colex concepts more accessible to students than other available materials do.
      2. Generates thought and discussion regarding historical, sociological, or artistic perspectives.
      3. Illustrates techniques of media manipulation.

      3. Any nonprint media used will not contain excessive or gratuitous violence or sexual explicitness inappropriate to the age level of the student.


      Whenever a full-length film or video program or a substantial portion of a film is used, the following procedures will apply.

      Selection Process:

      Using the Selection Criteria, teachers will select film and video programs in collaboration with their colleagues including the teacher leader, supervisor and/or principal. Others who might be involved include librarians, social workers, and parents.

      In making selections, teachers will consider educational and artistic criteria and the experience and background of their students. They will be alert to areas of sensitivity including but not limited to language, violence, drug or alcohol abuse, and sexual issues.

      Parental Notification:

      In cases where a potential controversy has been identified related to language, violence, drug and alcohol abuse or sexual issues, a summary including a brief description of the item and its relevance to the course and selection criteria will be developed.

      Parents will receive notification of all health videos and units before they are shown. Early in the school year or semester, each teacher will compile a list of all films (including MPAA ratings if available) intended for use in his or her class and provide the list and summary to parents for review.

      At all grade levels, this list and summary will be sent home with a request that parents contact the appropriate teacher should they have concerns about their child’s viewing a particular film.

      Should a film or video program that has not been included in the early list be identified as potentially controversial, another notice will be sent home with at least a two-week preview period, if possible.


      Teachers will make alternative assignments for students who themselves or whose parents do not wish them to view a specific film.


      Persons wishing to challenge the use of materials covered by this policy are to refer to the process outlined in Policy 1420 and use the forms appended to it.


      At various times, to illuminate an idea or as part of a student report, short nonprint selections may be used. Good judgment should be used in selecting these excerpts and that criteria for use will match that of this policy. While prior parental notification will not be required, students will be informed of content and allowed to briefly and easily excuse themselves from class if they so desire.


      The faculty and staff of Guilderland Central School District recognize that each of our students has a different level of sensitivity. As well as each teacher tries to know each individual student, we recognize that parents know them better. Therefore, we strongly encourage parents to obtain a copy of the non-print material and to review it. If parents have any questions or concerns, they are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher.

      Cross-ref: 1420, Complaints About Curricula or Instructional Materials
      4510.2, Internet and Computer Acceptable Use Policy
      8650, School District Compliance with Copyright Law

      Adopted: November 15, 1994
      Revised: January 26, 1999
      Revised, Adopted: April 9, 2013
      Revised, Adopted: October 23, 2018

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