July 11th Response (E)

Mohammed Choudhury and Jeff Share
Critical Media Literacy: A Pedagogy for New Literacies and Urban Youth

“We live in a media-saturated, technologically dependent, and globally connected world, and yet most of our schools are still teaching traditional literacy, focusing only on reading and writing words on a page. The old days of print literacy are no longer sufficient in this age of countless communication systems and increasing linguistic and cultural diversity (The New London Group, 1996).” The quote above is meaningful to me because it tells me WHY new literacy is important to students who are readers, writers, communicators, and diverse individuals. It is why I believe change in schools is a must.

My thoughts about Mohammed decision to “actively engage his students in their learning by applying the state standards within the context of their everyday lives (40)” are of those as a supporter of this type of learning. It is something educators, especially those in almost all minority schools with students from poverty background need to include in content. Connection is key! I also agree with the authors in their attempts to support this by stating, “He knew that the traditional model of schooling, especially for English Language Learners (ELLs) coming from working class communities, often limits student learning potential and creates a divide between learning and the everyday reality of their lives (40).” A divide that I believe could resort to seeing uninterested students, low standardized test scores, and a whole list of other negative associations that we don’t want to see in schools.

I want to integrate interviewing into my classroom because it has real purpose for the job market and is the cores of helping students become college and career ready. I think it is important that the people coming into the classroom should be relatable and of student interest. The authors point out, “Students were first taught interviewing techniques and practiced with their families and school staff. Then Mohammed invited former gang members, community organizers, and police officers to the class for his students to interview (41).” I can imagine how key this was in student motivation and skill practice.
I agree with the authors that “the entire process was academic, and the product was an important contribution to society as urban youth created alternative representations of life in inner-city Los Angeles (43).” There was no sense of doing things just to do them. It was academic in a English Language Arts and Social Studies and relevant, real world, and student driven.

I can see many benefits for students to an action project like this that the 6th graders completed:
  • Self-efficacy of students improved
  • Communication skills were enhanced
  • Ownership of the product and artifacts
  • Personal growth and self-esteem