“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.” — Joseph Pulitzer
While Pulitzer was speaking of newspaper articles, I find that this quote applies to my teaching style. As a teacher, it is my job to help students acquire knowledge and apply it to make conscientious life choices in both their work and their day-to-day lives. I work to make the cultivation of knowledge fun and meaningful.
In a skills-based class such as media writing, students hone their ability to craft insightful and accurate articles, while exercising news judgment and doing their utmost to serve their readers. When a student leaves my journalism classes, he or she is able to act independently in a newsroom. A goal of my classes is to help students gain the skills they need to help preserve the norms and values of the news media. If a student chooses not to seek employment in news media, he or she still leaves my journalism classes with a strong aptitude to write with clarity and precision. In all of my classes, students develop a greater appreciation and respect for the power of communication.
As a facilitator I encourage in-depth discussion of the ideas and challenges we encounter in course materials. This discussion promotes students’ engagement while extending mutual respect between students. As a member of the field of journalism and communication, I work to cultivate a similar respect for both the producers and consumers of media by frequently using real world examples. I also work to incorporate elements of media law and ethics into my classes so that students may consider the rights of others, including the rights of the audience and journalistic sources.
Students in my classroom should expect a well-prepared and dynamic instructor who is passionate about her field. Just as students have an obligation to be ready for class each day, so do I as a teacher. I believe an instructor must have a strong grasp of his or her discipline, and preparation is vital to maintaining an orderly and progressive classroom. Students have a right to know the expectations of the class through a grading breakdown that outlines their responsibilities, and rubrics that identify assignment expectations. As facilitator, it is my duty to fairly and accurately assess the students’ progress in understanding and applying what they learn in class. Also, I make myself accessible to those students who may need additional guidance. Here too, students should feel comfortable in asking questions. This will give me the opportunity to direct students in need of help outside of my area of expertise to the appropriate resources.
Learning is a cooperative process. I garner insight from students as we work together to expand their knowledge. As my research frequently addresses issues of quality and credibility in news media, students’ talent for developing journalistic skills and applying them guides my understanding of how young professionals recognize and honor these traditions.
Overall, I think it is important for me to be flexible and open-minded in my instruction. A good instructor is sensitive to the classroom atmosphere each and every day. In my teaching experience, I have occasionally adapted class activities on the spot to ensure that students are engaged and involved in their learning process.
As each student is an individual, it is crucial that I recognize his or her own abilities and limitations. With this recognition, I hope to foster in them the confidence and ability to excel in my classes and as future communication professionals and citizens.