My classes and student activities fit into two buckets—one called core writing and reporting, the other labeled sports journalism. Those areas aren’t really separate, though. Every class I teach has these similarities:
- Balance between classroom work and live reporting.
- Instruction in both the craft of journalism and critical thinking.
- One-on-one feedback.
- Frequent opportunities for revision.
- Introduction to engaged journalism and relationships with communities, especially communities that are underserved.
- Opportunities for publication.
As part of my master’s program in adult education, I read Paulo Freire’s Society in Transition, which greatly influenced me. His philosophy of adult literacy education in Brazil resonated with me as a journalism teacher:
“If men are unable to perceive critically the themes of their time, and thus to intervene actively in reality, they are carried along in the wake of change. They see that times are changing but they are submerged in that change and so cannot discern its dramatic significance. And a society beginning to move from one epoch to the other requires the development of an especially flexible, critical spirit” (italics mine).
Journalism is in transition. So this is my highest goal as a teacher: to encourage and help students to develop an “especially flexible, critical spirit” that will help them be responsible and innovative journalists.