Keeping Students Informed on News…On Their Terms

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By Clare Jorgensen — News outlets can be found everywhere we look. In fact, we can now access them directly from our phones, tablets, computers, televisions and (less popularly) newspapers!

With the many news sources available, sometimes it can be overwhelming to decide which sources to trust.  High school and college-age students can easily be susceptible to one-sided views through FOX News, MSNBC, and occasionally CNN. They too do not often get the right information if students only get their news from Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed, etc.

While it is good that news is always available, it would be very beneficial for teachers to offer ways to keep students updated on what is happening in the world with easy and reliable outlets.

Last semester in Education 1210, my professor asked us at every class what we heard about in the news, and we would have open discussions based on what was brought up. For a while, I did not participate much in the conversation, because I did not follow the news very closely, but I soon realized that it was an important tool for teachers to open up discussions in any class.

To get more involved in the conversation, I occasionally watched the local news on weekday nights, or I would look through CNN online. These alone are often reasonable ways to get the news, but many students can often be too busy for long-winded articles or 30-minute to hour-long reports on the news, so there has to be some simpler solutions.

Teachers could recommend to their students with smart phones to get Flipboard or StumbleUpon. Both apps have personalized snapshots of different news stories where they explain everything in simpler terms for the readers on the go. For students who do not have smart phones, teachers can bring newspapers to class where the students can borrow them, and take them to lunch or home to catch up on the news.

While I am preparing to be a Spanish teacher, I will want to maintain conversations with students, and I could do this by mentioning various news stories happening in Spanish-speaking countries or even closer to home. I could give them news story printouts so they can see the story firsthand, and the students can aim to discuss in Spanish, so they may gain some confidence in speaking.

Lastly, while the conversations or topics are not always appropriate for junior high or high school students, it can be great for teachers to implement various clips from the “Daily Show,” the “Colbert Report,” or “Last Week, Tonight” to get students a funny yet informative view on the news. It allows for students learn about issues happening across the globe, but with tones of humor, which many people can understand. Clips from these shows along with many other sources from the Internet can prove very helpful in keeping students informed, and it is always beneficial that students can lead informed conversations in any class, which could lead into the general class discussion.

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