Many teachers point out that children seem to lack cultural capital, particularly when it comes to global issues. This next generation will be tasked with tackling these global issues face-to-face as they grow up, so it’s the perfect opportunity to discuss news in the classroom and develop cultural capital by debating these issues first hand, all whilst improving digital literacy skills.
But should we encourage our children to read the news?
This is a question that generates a great deal of discussion amongst teachers and parents. There are those who feel it is imperative that children grow up understanding the realities of life and what goes on around them and in the world. Then there are those who wish to protect children from what are most often upsetting, horrific or damaging stories. However, there is a happy medium in exposing children to the news that is tailored in appropriate ways for their growing minds and maturity. Great examples of this can be found through media such as The Week Junior magazine and CBBC’s Newsround.
Discussing the news in the classroom with children can increase their cultural capital.
What is Roving Reporters?
Taken from my book, Literacy Beyond the Classroom, Roving Reporters is a 5-lesson project that considers the importance of including news in a child’s education, using a CNN news report to educate pupils about plastic pollution. Strongly linked to writing and filmmaking, it gives students a unique way to learn about news writing and reporting in the classroom, as they are faced with a real life issue that affects their world.
All resources and full planning are free and available on Adobe EdEx:
Watch a completed student example of Roving Reporters:
Interview with Susanna Rustin
Interviewed for Roving Reporters is Susanna Rustin, a journalist at The Guardian, and previously at the Financial Times. She is currently a lead writer on social affairs, and has also worked as an editor on the Opinion and Review sections. She is a local campaigner and community councillor.
Asked about the importance of children studying the news, Susanna asserts, “Children absolutely need the skills to critically examine information and ideas about the world that mainstream media tends to focus on (crime, immigration and so on) and also understanding what the BBC is about, how it’s funded, how Murdoch media is funded and some critical thinking about different news sources. They should look at the difference between news and comment and adverts because increasingly social media is giving news at scale and speed but it’s not necessarily reliable. Our contemporary institutions aren’t very well represented in the curriculum compared to the amount of time they spend studying kings and queens. Which one will serve them more now?”
Schools can help give children the skills required to critically examine information they see and hear.
Here’s that resource link again:
If you enjoyed Roving Reporters, check out Literacy Beyond the Classroom, which improves English progress at by 3.75 times the UK national average. This innovative approach links global challenges to the five key National Curriculum areas in English: reports, instructions, persuasive language, fiction and poetry, and presentation skills, presenting ready-to-use lesson plans, exercises and activities to help teachers bring this concept to life in the primary classroom.
All projects can be completed using Adobe Spark. By teaching English in this practical, purposeful and meaningful way, we can inspire the YouTube generation to learn the literacy skills they need to influence the world around them and have a positive impact as global citizens.
Dominic is the Education Evangelist EMEA for Adobe Education. Before joining Adobe, Dominic found his passion for combining literacy with digital skills as a primary teacher both in the UK and internationally. From there, he was part of the first cohort on Emerge Education and used that as a springboard to start an education social enterprise. In 2018, he won the EDUCATE award from the Institute Of Education for a 4 month research project into improving KS2 writing using digital skills at 3.75 times the national average rate of progress.