Adviser Update Adviser Update Fall 2017 - Page 13

13 N ew year, new courses, new students. It’s a story that plays out in classrooms across the country every August and September. And while every journalism teacher has to navigate different situations, demographics, cultures, all have the same goals — establishing expectations and preparing their students to exceed them. Those expectations come with knowing the foundation skills of researching, reporting, writing, critical thinking and visual storytelling. All the skills are critical to training well-rounded journalists, but visual storytelling and composition often take priority for a number of reasons. Not having the luxury of recreating or re-capturing moments, photojournalists have to be up-to- speed quickly. Our students often come in at the extremes of the photographer spectrum. From the “I-love-taking-photos-novices” to the “filter-loving-foodie-finstas,” it’s our job to evaluate their skills and send them out into the field. For evaluating skill sets and differentiating instruction for a Goldilocks-range of photographers, here are some tips for starting off the school year: reviews or photo lessons. Make this part of the first week of school and continue the exercise routinely throughout the year. 1. Show and tell. 2. Tell a story. Developing voice as a writer is an intimate exercise in review and reflection, but developing a style and vision as a photographer is a performance art. Sharing photos, getting a reaction and asking for feedback helps a photographer see what works, what doesn’t or why a risk pays off. This is also an excellent opportunity to train students how to give and take constructive criticism. Toastmasters’ “feedback sandwich” is popular: positive+improvement+positive. Advisers can focus on the strengths of the image: what is eye-catching, what is obvious. Then, look at the areas that need improving — technical quality, use of light or strong center of interest. Last, reiterate a positive comment, such as a composition rule they may not have noticed or how you connect to the image. Use show and tell as teachable moments and introduce brief Beyond a technical evaluation, students need to be assessed on their ability to recognize a storytelling moment. A popular journalism icebreaker is having students share a recent photo from their camera roll and share the moment beyond the image. Evaluating their ability to summarize the who, what, when, where, why, how and then connect to the emotions in the photo are important to knowing where to begin the learning process. 3. “The best camera is the one you have with you.” Encourage students to take photos every day to take advantage of unexpected