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Student interest in current news events: perspectives of humanities teachers from contrasting schools
journal contributionposted on 2017-09-01, 00:00 authored by H Fadel, Marylou Preston
Increased access to technological devices and social media has the potential to expose students to a wide range of news events. While the literature highlights the importance of engaging students with contemporary news events to produce informed citizens, the extent to which teachers do this during class is still not widely researched in the Australian context. This paper draws on a qualitative study and semi-structured interviews to explore the perspectives of four Year 9 and/or 10 humanities teachers from two demographically different Victorian schools. The research explores, from teachers’ perspectives, the ways in which teachers and students engage with contemporary news items and how these are managed in the classroom. Findings indicate that the level of engagement and types of news events addressed in humanities classes differ according to the socio-economic status of the school and the cultural backgrounds of students. While teachers were united in their view that discussions of contemporary news events and issues are a vital component of humanities teaching, pragmatically, they reported challenges in engaging with them effectively. These challenges differed across schools. The paper concludes with a discussion of some of the implications for humanities teaching practice, including the new media literacy skills required to assist students negotiate the complex world of social media.