Journalistic Learning: Rethinking and Redefining Language Arts Curricula
Madison III, Eddie
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Madison III, Eddie
The purpose of this research is to address ongoing challenges in American education that relate to student engagement, retention, and achievement. The intent is to examine current high school language arts pedagogical practices and to explore journalism's potential to make a broader and more positive difference in the overall learning process -- in previously unconsidered ways. The study employs a multimethod approach. Through qualitative fieldwork, it examines the award-winning scholastic journalism program at Palo Alto High School, in Northern California. Quantitatively, this study surveys 664 high school language arts students from 10 high schools across the United States. Specifically, it investigates how journalism and non-journalism students self-report motivational beliefs and learning strategies, after controlling for school and student demographics (community type, class-standing, or socioeconomic status). Further, the study compares journalism students with Advanced Placement Literature students to investigate why they enroll in their respective courses. This study fills several significant gaps in the literature surrounding journalism and educational research. First, it applies situated-learning and communities of practice theories to journalism pedagogy by specifically looking at peer-to-peer mentoring within student publication staffs. Second, it applies self-determination theory to high school journalism students to explore variables that can catalyze intrinsic motivation and enhance learning. Finally, it examines the lived experiences of high school journalism students to explore how this course of study affects their personal growth, sense of self, and group affiliations.