Philosophy

We believe that journalistic writing styles offer students the most effective way to learn to write.

The journalistic writing styles that we are focusing on in 21st Century Literature modules include features, news, opinion and reviews. These are writing styles that people want to read unlike five paragraph essays. Feature writing can focus on people or it can focus on issues, buildings, trends, foods, almost anything students might be interested in. News writing teaches students to think critically. They have to pick the most important facts and put them first. They learn “tight writing” and good sentence structure.


We believe that learning to write in a community of writers motivates students to write better.

The most exciting part of school for most students is being with their peers. While they are interested in learning, it is not as exciting for students to learn in isolation. In contrast, it is very exciting for students to work collaboratively or in groups. Being part of a community of writers motives students to write often and write well.


We believe that a journalistic writing instruction engages students want to write well because students write about issues of interest and importance to them.

Journalistic writing styles encourage student independence of thought. To write the articles, students need select the topic by themselves which encourages creativity and independence. Students are more enthusiastic about writing when they write about issues they care about as opposed to issues assigned to them by the teacher.


We believe that being part of a journalistic learning community gives students important work and life skills including collaboration skills and interaction skills.

When students work together as part of a learning community they learn important social skills that will help them in the workplace. They learn how to effectively collaborate with their peers on a project; they learn how to get along with people that are not their friends; they learn how to interact and work together. These are important skills that students do not get in classes where the emphasis is on individual performance.


We believe that students will work hard when engaged.

Students become engaged when they are working on a project they choose with their peer group. Just working together with peers is a motivating factor for students. As they try to make their project the best, students learn that hard work can be rewarding.


We believe the collaborative project based learning is the most effective method to teach writing skills.

Project based learning is the most effective way to teach writing for three main reasons: 1) kids get engaged when they work with a peer group 3) kids get excited about writing when they write about things of importance to them 3) Project based learning helps students be more creative and energetic about writing which transfers to improved writing.


We believe Journalism is the ideal vehicle for teaching 21st Century skills.

While learning and practicing Journalism, students engage in collaboration, information evaluation and gain media literacy skills. They examine copyright, write for specific audiences, consider web ethics, and use digital tools. We provide these lessons in our Journalism modules, and by teaching them teachers will learn pedagogical methods for incorporating 21st century skills in their teaching. We hope that teachers will then use these methods in other parts of their curriculum.


We believe in using digital tools whenever possible.

As our focus is 21st century skills for our students and moving our schools into the forefront of technology and digital resources, we hope teachers will present as much of the curriculum digitally and "paperlessly" as possible. This reinforces the lessons and gives both teachers and students opportunities to practice these skills. We are aware that this is not always possible, whether due to resources, time or desire. We have included specific instruction on how to use these digital tools in your classroom to ease the process, and as have created printable versions of all of our worksheets and appendices as a backup.