"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Scholastic Drops Original Classroom Companion

From TPM:

Educational media giant Scholastic, Inc. announced it's dropping its original classroom companion guides to a controversial new docudrama about the events preceding the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks -- and replacing them with materials stressing critical thinking and media literacy.

“After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues,” said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic, in a press release.

The original materials had been criticized for oversimplifications and failures to address flaws in post-9/11 policies, including the invasion of Iraq.

The new materials, Scholastic said, will stress three issues:

1. Media Literacy - what is a docudrama; how does it differ from a documentary; what are the differences between factual reporting and a dramatization?

2. Background to 9/11 - what are some of the causes of unrest in the Middle East and other parts of the world that give rise to attacks on the U.S. and other countries?

3. Geography and Culture -- there is a long history of conflict in the Middle East. How well do students understand each of the countries involved and what influences their behavior?

"[D]eveloping critical thinking and media literacy skills is crucial for students," the release quoted Scholastic CEO Robinson as saying. "‘The Path to 9/11’ provides a very ‘teachable moment’ for developing these skills at the high school level."

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