Evaluate the TV shows that your children watch

  • Watch television with your kids.

  • Look for the inclusion of the six criteria of highly educational programs listed below.

  • Judge for yourself how educational they really are.

The six criteria of highly educational programming

Clarity

How easily can you identify the primary lesson?

  • A lesson with good clarity is easy to understand, straightforward and obvious.

  • A lesson with poor clarity is difficult to identify and may be hidden by distractions, unclear dialogue or other subplots within the episode.

Integration

How often do you hear or see the primary lesson?

  • A lesson with good integration is repeated or demonstrated multiple times throughout the episode.

  • A lesson with poor integration is separated from other program content and may not seem related to the main plot or storyline.

Involvement

How engaging and interesting is the lesson
for the viewer?

  • An episode with good lesson involvement makes a strong and consistent effort to get the viewer’s attention. Some techniques can increase involvement, such as speaking directly to the viewer, tying the lesson to emotionally involving content and/or using popular characters.

  • An episode with poor involvement does not engage the viewer in the primary lesson.

Applicability

Is the primary lesson connected to the real world?

  • An episode with good applicability shows how the primary lesson relates to the everyday experiences of a typical child.

  • An episode with poor lesson applicability does not demonstrate how the information is relevant to the child’s everyday world.

Importance

How valuable or useful is the primary lesson to the viewer?

  • A lesson that is high in importance is one that is crucial for a child to learn.

  • A lesson that is low in importance is one that holds little utility for a child’s development.

Positive Reinforcement

Is effort or successful learning rewarded?

  • An episode that is high in positive reinforcement includes features that support motivation for learning, such as cheering a character on, rewarding a character for accomplishments, having a character show pride in what is learned and/or verbally praising a character. Positive reinforcement also can be delivered directly to the viewer (e.g., “Good job!”).

  • An episode that is low in positive reinforcement does not show characters receiving praise or rewards for their effort or success at learning a lesson.

For more information on children’s educational TV, click here.