In search of a Mentor
In journalism, there is a need of having more than just a ‘teacher’ in the classroom
MEDIA BY K.ASIF
Today the world stands revolutionized indeed, for the luxury of knowledge is available to the common man with ease. No longer is education a frill for the posh- the elite; but instead available to anyone who sought to absorb it. A teacher- being next to god is an obsolete connotation given the amount of subject knowledge and information available to all. Previously, Guttenberg modernized us but now internet (the god of all the small and big things) has overtaken everything else. And in the process, an easy access to resources, textual material, information with the help of technology has certainly converted plebeians into thinkers. So who teaches what, to whom, with what effect- remains to be tested?
Among myriad professions and subjects, the essence of a teacher can be convincing enough to the extent of propounding theories of metaphysics, interpreting and applying integral calculus in finding gods at infinity. But the prime movers vocation proves to be much different case for teaching. Here what the subject calls for is more than teaching, counseling or advising. It demands mentoring.
Journalism- not everyone’s cup of tea, can be said about it given anticipated influence and horizon of this profession. Unlike other professions and subjects, journalism is in a constant flux. There is a continuous integration of new technologies, formats, facades, convergence and other new changes - all blend into the same subject. Actually one has to unlearn a good deal to learn the art of being a journalist nowadays. As far the teaching this subject, the question is obvious, how should we teach the subject, as an educator, expert from the field, a lecturer or a mentor? According to the experts, even though good teaching is too important to be left to chance, instruction in the craft of teaching is generally not finding its way into mass communication education. And what seems to be a general observed viewpoint is that mentoring is a step in the right direction even if perceived barriers include the fear that, for whatever reason, a less formal approach is the way to go.
So how does mentoring help the people who teach students in journalism? Mentoring rather than routine teaching helps students in many ways. It assists to bring about a conducive, cordial atmosphere between a teacher and student which is an important aspect to make this relationship much more positive and result oriented. While as a routine classroom work may seem imposing on a student, mentoring allows a student to explore, examine and research about things on his own pace and will. As the subject, unlike other subjects expect continuous updating on both the sides, the topics, themes and ideas shared cannot be taught from the textbooks only. The concepts discussed in the classes have to be synergistic and effective as well. Mentoring helps students to command attention. The students through guidance learn the art and attitude of discussing concepts, always probing, questioning and learning the principles from their own natural discovery of things by observation, information and knowledge shared.
The importance of finding a mentor in a journalism class becomes more imperative when we talk about morals, ethics, values and laws in journalism studies. A teacher may try to impose her or his own values on the students but as a part of public sphere and individual influences, they may find it quite opposite to their assumptions, accepted notions or the actual ground realities. They should be allowed to sense, comprehend and co relate the nuances of the situations on their own. If their thought process is barred in anyway, it may lead to confusion in their thought process and eventually end up in poor professional development.
For students, to enter media profession could be a daunting experience and intimidating if he or she is not mentored and equipped well to face the insecurities in this field. The mentor as a guide, as an advisor has to offer assistance to the students, so that they are able to allay their fears of being novices in the field. Apart from the class work, assignments or internships, the students need to be trained for an overall development. Their work, concepts, ideation, intellective abilities must be acknowledged and likewise awarded which certainly gives rise to the levels of confidence in them.
Mentoring puts student in authority which helps him build his own confidence in understanding the subject. As the journalism subject demands continuous updating on part of the one relaying the subject and the receiver of the information, mentoring has all the ingredients to make a classroom an actual place of learning for the student.
For the other side of it- the part played by student, it equally speaks of a lot of commitment, zeal and consistency. A student of journalism has to be a ‘treasure hunter’ and the treasure being real, original and relevant training and education. Media students, who are sure to sail through, should be aware of their rights and duties for being committed students and future journalists. Let us hail the profession and hail the truth.
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Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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