As a school, the first priority should be to encourage students to grow and learn about their strengths and weaknesses and to give them the want and will to express themselves in their learning.
A class like journalism is perfect for this. Not only are students writing and making up their own work, but they are also given the confidence boost they need to do so on their own. Willingly.
Here, they can express themselves. Some feel confident when exposing or bringing to light serious issues. Some feel at home when they can make spoofs of other works, or criticize someone’s terrible decisions or even a terrible movie.
Students need room to learn and express themselves in a way that is not harmful and still moves them forward academically. When they are allowed to create their own works and masterpieces, they are practicing just that.
Not only are students taking journalism working independently, they want to work. When they find inspiration, they are eager to write. They are motivated to go and interview adults and peers alike. They are motivated to talk about what interests them and others.
This goes along with giving teenagers basic career skills as well. Our newspaper students are able to get out articles that they have written themselves in a timely manner. They are learning to establish their own work style and get work done when it needs to be done.
Unlike other classes, they are not following a script line by line. In most classes students take, they are not given the room to think for themselves. This does not help them at all in the future. We find that our students are unable to work in the real world because they are unable to learn for themselves how to work properly.
This is hardly a problem in journalism. Not only are they working for themselves, but they are doing it in a way that fits them best as an individual. Instead of downplaying classes like journalism and calling it a useless elective, we should acknowledge how helpful it is to a student’s future.