Learning English throughthe Media – News and Media Project
Within the frame of Significative and Constructive Learning and Project-Based Learning, Y8 CB and MH English studied the features and conventions of news reports and articles, in particular from online news sites like BBC, The Guardian, BBC Future, The Washington Post. They learned about the structure, language and newsworthiness of articles, and they researched about the workings of news companies and edtorials.
With all this information we created our own virtual SASS newspaper, with an online site. The main goal was to produce authentic news reports of authentic school events and publish them through an authentic media. First, we held an editorial meeting, where the reporters, the students, decided which school event each of them wanted to cover, and what section of the paper it belonged to: Front Page, Politics, Economy and Finance, Community, Entertainment, Society, Science and Technology and Culture. The students covered events like the Film and Arts Festival, the Trip to China, Choir and Band Festival, the Y11 Fashion Show, the Middle School Play, the Interhouse Athletics Competition, ADE tournament, Robotics, Science and Maths Olympiads, the Kindergarten Sports, the effect of inflation in the school tuck shop, and even the wedding of Agustina Luongo and Fran Lutteral, among others.
Each reporter was sent out to get the information relevant to their event, with the goal of either attending the event or getting reliable sources to provide them with the necessary information. They also had to acquire pictures and quotes from people involved in the event for the record.
The third step was to write the article. We used the Computer Lab and wrote it in a Google Doc, to make the editing more realistic. Special attention was paid to the font, layout and language of the article. This is where their knowledge of the language learned throughout the year came into play. Students had to use structures such as the passive voice, reported speech with a variety of reporting verbs, conditionals and relative clauses, and to recognise when each was appropriate.
The final step of the process was publishing. For this step, Victor Capeluto, the students’ IT teacher, helped them to create the news site with the corresponding sections, format and layout, and taught the students how to publish their articles, images and videos.
The News and Media Project turned out great results, with students using all the learned features, conventions, structural and linguistic devices effectively, as well as getting involved in the various activities carried out at school as a complex community, not just what involves Middle School. Another very positive result was the autonomy and independence the students developed in the process, raising their awareness of how what they are learning can be integrated into projects that are collaborative, integrated, authentic and meaningful to them and the school community. It was a pleasure to observe their enthusiasm for learning by doing flourish, thus becoming protagonists of their own learning processes.
Mariu López Gibson
Categories: Professional Development Contest 2014