Posts Tagged "critical thinking"

Scholastic journalism enhances critical thinking, exploration and leadership;
Hazelwood promotes none of it

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by Bob Button

Hazelwood stories: The Supreme Court decision in Hazelwood is arguably the worst blow to scholastic journalism in our lifetime – primarily because it struck a hammer in favor of control and against education in America’s schools. 25 years of Hazelwood art

Having grown up in an era when student newspapers were seen as PR tools for the school, when I moved to Grosse Pointe, Michigan, for a full-time journalism position, I asked my new principal in our first meeting what the guidelines were for what could and could not be printed.  He looked at me and said, “I thought that was why we hired you!”  That was in the late ‘60s, just as students were beginning to challenge everything.

What followed was a career supporting students as they explored topics of interest or importance in their lives – even if they were potentially controversial – and encouraging students to cover subjects in depth or take a stance in editorials or columns with a full understanding of the issues involved.  That is critical thinking at its best and it promotes leadership.  Never did an administrator tell us we could not cover a subject, even if it put the school in a poor light.  But with freedom comes responsibility.  We made some mistakes, which led to one of the first staff-written editorial policies in the country, putting in writing the student editorial board’s responsibility for serving the newspaper’s readers.

Students cannot learn critical thinking if that thinking is limited arbitrarily.  Students cannot learn responsibility or leadership if they have no freedom to make decisions.

Too many principals then and now think they teach responsibility when they exercise control.  They do not.  They simply relieve students of responsibility.  When students have no control, they respond either by acquiescence to the demands of those in power or by challenging the power in some other way.  Neither is a desirable outcome.

With the Supreme Court decision in Hazelwood, many principals simply maintained the control they had always exercised, or established control they had relinquished under Tinker.  My principal didn’t change a thing.  Hazelwood does not mandate control – it permits it – and my principal was more interested in education than in control.  But in the 25 years since Hazelwood we have a whole generation of administrators who see control as their first priority, of teachers forced to be concerned first and foremost with test scores, of students who think of school newspapers as an exercise in innocuous comment.

Sure, there are wonderful administrators, great teachers and challenging students fighting the good fight.  But Hazelwood promotes none of it.

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Beyond SJW: an education for reality

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by Fern Valentine, MJE

SJW-2012

During Journalism week, and every week for that matter, we need to stress the unique learning opportunities a publication class offers, unique learning they will be able to utilize no matter where they head after high school.

For example, while law is mentioned at least in social studies classes, in publication classes the students learn first hand the opportunities and limitations of U.S. law including, of course, the First Amendment, but also copyright, libel, etc.   They learn to check out their legal questions with free advice from the Student Press Law Center.  They learn to use their rights responsibly investigating topics of interest to their audience.

Speaking of their audience, instead of their teacher as an audience to their writing, publications staffs have their peers and other readers as their audience, making them take special care in getting everything right. Students learn to edit copy and apply all those grammar and punctuation rules they have been taught, but, in other classes, only their teachers have corrected.

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Beyond SJW: an education for reality

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by Fern Valentine, MJE

SJW-2012

During Journalism week, and every week for that matter, we need to stress the unique learning opportunities a publication class offers, unique learning they will be able to utilize no matter where they head after high school.

For example, while law is mentioned at least in social studies classes, in publication classes the students learn first hand the opportunities and limitations of U.S. law including, of course, the First Amendment, but also copyright, libel, etc.   They learn to check out their legal questions with free advice from the Student Press Law Center.  They learn to use their rights responsibly investigating topics of interest to their audience.

Speaking of their audience, instead of their teacher as an audience to their writing, publications staffs have their peers and other readers as their audience, making them take special care in getting everything right. Students learn to edit copy and apply all those grammar and punctuation rules they have been taught, but, in other classes, only their teachers have corrected.

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Guidelines, recommendations for advisers facing prior review

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Based on an increase in the number of of prior review incidents and administrative attacks on advisers, we are reposting this information.

At the spring 2010 Portland JEA/NSPA convention, JEA’s board passed a definition of prior review and prior restraint. The SPLC also recently endorsed the statement.

At the time, the Press Right Commission was directed to design a recommended process and guidelines on how advisers might handle prior review if faced with it. Below you will find those guidelines and process along with links to supporting philosophy and resources. We welcome your input.

While we know advisers will make decisions regarding prior review and other educational issues based on what they believe they can best support philosophically, JEA reiterates its strong rejection of prior review, and hence prior restraint, as a tool in the educational process. With that belief, we feel an obligation to help advisers faced with this situation.

Statements to accompany JEA’s definitions of prior review and restraint:

As journalism teachers, we know our students learn more when they make publication choices and that prior review or restraint do not teach students to produce higher quality journalism.

As journalism teachers, we know the only way to teach students to take responsibility for their decisions is to give them the responsibility to make those decisions freely.

As journalism teachers, we know democracy depends on students understanding all voices have a right to be heard and knowing they have a voice in their school and community.

Thus, to help students achieve work that is up to professional standards, journalism educators should consider the following process:

• Encourage transparency about who determines the content of a student publication by alerting readers and viewers when student media are subject to prior review and restraint;

• Advocate the educational benefits of student press freedom if student media are subject to prior review or restraint;

• Provide students with access to sources of professional advice outside the school for issues they need to address;

• Provide students with tools that include adequate knowledge and resources to successfully carry out their work. By using these tools, we build trust in the learning process and the theories on which it is based;

• Encourage students to seek multiple points of view and to explore a variety of credible sources in their reporting and decision-making;

• Coach instead of make requirements or demands thus modeling the value of the learning process and demonstrating the trust we place in our educational system;

• Empower students to know the difference between sound and unsound journalism and how to counsel their peers about potential dangers;

• Model a professional newsroom atmosphere where students share in and take responsibility for their work. In so doing, we increase dialogue and help ensure civic and journalistic responsibility;

• Use peer editing to encourage student interaction, analysis and problem solving;

• Instruct students about civic engagement and journalism’s role in maintaining and protecting our democratic heritage;

• Showcase student media where the dissemination of information is unfiltered by prior review and restraint so the school’s various communities receive accurate, truthful and complete information.

Recommended process if facing prior review, restraint

If, after employing the above techniques, student journalists still object to changes an adviser discusses, the following describes a process to handle potential disagreement:

1. Adviser and students disagree about content for publication.

2. Adviser and students discuss all angles of the disagreement; they try to find common ground.

3. The adviser and students decide if the disagreement is based on an ethical issue or a legal one.

4. If violations of libel, obscenity, unwarranted invasion of privacy, copyright infringement or material disruption of the school process are likely at stake, the adviser urges students to get advice of the Student Press Law Center or reliable legal resource. Not just any school lawyer or administrator will do. The resource, which could include non-live information, must be reputable for scholastic media. The phrase “unprotected speech” might not be enough because Hazelwood so muddied the concept.

5. If the disagreement is not over a legal consideration, the adviser urges students to consider the “red light” or similar questions raised by The Poynter Institute to see how various stakeholders might react if the material is published. Students see and consider the possible outcomes of publication and discuss with the adviser ramifications of their actions.

6. Adviser and students continue to discuss and explore alternative approaches until they reach a point of no possible agreement.

7. This process fulfills the adviser’s commitment to advise, not to make or require decisions, and to be cognizant of his/her responsibilities to school and students.

The Journalism Education Association reiterates its position that prior review and prior restraint violate its Adviser Code of Ethics and educational philosophy.

Additional links and resources:

• 10 Tips for Covering Controversial Subjects from the press rights commission website
Just this once
JEA’s Adviser Code of Ethics from the commission blog. Scroll to the bottom
Questions to ask those who would prior review
JEA’s statement on prior review from the JEA website

Results of a Master’s study on prior review and publication awards from the commission’s website
Resources from the press rights commission on developing professional standards from press rights website
NSPA Model Code of Ethics for student journalists from NSPA’s website

 

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