How Do Pulitzer Center Education Programs Help Students Process the News? A Look at the Research
Posted by Pulitzer Center on November 17, 2020
In 2017, well before the current pandemic began to dominate the 24-hour news cycle, a CommonSense Media study found that 63 percent of children experienced fear, anger, and/or sadness as a response to news. At the Pulitzer Center, we’ve heard similar concerns from our educator partners. Michelle Green, a middle school visual arts teacher at Jefferson Middle School Academy in Washington, D.C., agreed that her students’ mood has shifted in response to self-isolation and seemingly non-stop COVID-19 headlines. She said that her students are treating the news “agoraphobically” — or with anxiety characterized by fear and avoiding situations that might cause them to panic (the Mayo Clinic). “[They’re] hearing headlines and buzzwords but they’re not really being helped through what they’re hearing,” she said.
Students know the importance of staying informed. The same CommonSense Media study found that more than half of students think that the news is important and helps them feel prepared to make a difference in their communities. The Pulitzer Center’s education mission is to cultivate a more curious, informed, empathetic, and engaged public by connecting students and teachers with under-reported global news stories and the journalists who cover them. So our challenge, perhaps more than ever, is to bring coverage of crucial, overlooked issues into classrooms without sowing anger, fear, or sadness.
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