This fall, KQED Education launched the ESL Mobile News Blog. It reaches out to ESL educators to help us explore how ESL students engage with news. How do students who have moved here from different cultures connect with news? Interestingly, many of the ESL educators we asked were not sure of the answer since the demographic is so diverse and complex.
We asked ESL educators, mainly from San Francisco City College and colleges and adult schools in Silicon Valley and the South Bay, to invite their students to interview a class mate from an immigrant community and ask them five short questions about news.
- Do you follow the news?
- What interests you?
- Where do you look?
- Who do you believe?
- Are your perspectives being represented?
Students were encouraged to adopt the role of investigative reporters, researching issues of importance to their peers. They could post the interviewee’s photo with the response if they wanted to, but we did ask them to try to be as specific as possible in identifying and naming sources, while at the same time respecting reserve. Accessible through email or mobile devices, the use of a blog platform was intended to encourage students to work collaboratively in their investigations and enjoy reading each other's posts.
What we are looking for
What is newsworthy to ESL students? What is missing? Are their countries represented in US news? If so, how are different countries represented? How do disconnected communities use our networked culture to connect? If they continue to search their home source online, how do we alleviate this disconnect?