5/27/2005

Reporters in the Classroom: Useful? (Media Coverage)

Now and again, a reporter tries his or her hand at classroom teaching -- either out of genuine interest or at the prodding of an editor -- and reflects on the experience in print. This week we have the latest entry: A reporter asks: Would I like to teach? CSM. However, for all my love of the CSM's education coverage, my take on this example and the genre and its lessons is that little is gained. Others may disagree, but my feeling is that education reporters can be overly aware of classroom ups and downs and 'human interest' and unaware of the dynamics going on around what is or isn't happening in the classroom, which are in the end more important than individual anecdotes. But that's just me.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Gil Narro Garcia said...

Teach for a day to learn what it's like to be a teacher? Give me a break! What if I play doctor or mechanic or reporter for a day to find out what it's like? Not likely to succeed at much.

A more informative alternative is to have education reporters spend long periods of time to observe, inquire, sense the atmosphere for teaching, management, and learning, interview select members of the entire community, including custodians and parents, and then focus on a select number of classrooms---ALL for the purpose of reporting on what works and doesn't and changes over time. That type and level of reporting should result in narraitve that tells a story on the basis of solid data. Nothing short is just plain superficial and not worth newsprint.

Thanks.
GNGarcia
Senior Education Research Analyst

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

I thought her piece was up-beat and appeared to stress positives. On a deeper level the whole concept of such visits seemed like a good idea, but who will ever know if the reported interchange between the students and the visitor might one day actually change the course of any particular student’s biography? Your point, “education reporters can be overly aware of classroom ups and downs and 'human interest' and unaware of the dynamics going on around what is or isn't happening in the classroom, which are in the end more important than individual anecdotes,” often applies to teachers who are new, old or just not doing a good job. A job that appears to be getting harder by the day because of the rapidly changing culture we live in. Alan.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Ray Salazar said...

This is a nice attempt to capture the true experience of a teacher. But good teachers rarely present "an impromptu journalism lesson." The media would serve readers best if they hired education reporters with actual teaching experience. Then we'd get a view of education that is through and, hopefully, fair.

Maybe someone should ask a few dedicated teachers: "Would you like to be a reporter?"

Ray Salazar
Chicago Public Schools

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, a few beginners have reported out-- Esme Codell's year one diary and then Leslie Baldacci's first two years. Regie Routman is always, always telling teachers to model literate lives for their students, so maybe some lucky teachers will get that sabbatical they've been dreaming of and more of them will have the chance to "report" the real stories.

Now I admit, I do "take my daughter to work" for a day to help her better understand what I do, and plenty of my funders ask for (and gain perspective from) a day spent "in the field". Should we lower the bar enough to ask "Is a day better than nothing?"

But to really understand (and report on) a teacher's, coach's or principal's work-- or a student's or family's experiences in school-- takes a reporter's investment of time. Hey, I'm no expert, but it's probably just like good teaching-- no quick wins.
Lisa Vahey
USI/UChicago

12:29 AM  

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