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Hands On Learning

By Jennifer Zehrbach
Journalism 201 students interviewing event organizers.

Part of growing up comes from your education. You learn from your mistakes.  You also further your knowledge by attending school and learning from your parents or mentors. Teachers have been known to present boring dialog while thinking it will be automatically tattooed to the student's brain.

At Estrella Mountain Community College, professors are encouraged to focus on teaching from various modes, including auditory, kinesthetic, and visually to help students to learn.

Selina Schuh, a fourth year journalism teacher at Estrella Mountain, has her own techniques up her sleeve to get the creative juices flowing and inspire her students to learn.  Rather than lecturing, she engages students in the learning process. Some of her techniques include having the students go up to the board and write the answers to question that were asked during the class time.

Another technique she uses in the classroom is to have the class sit in a circle to discuss the class assignment.  This technique allows all the students to converse back and forth with one another to give good feedback and advice for their upcoming articles. Students can find their own answers to questions, rather than being presented with them.

In addition to learning the theory of journalism in the classroom, the class is asked to go out and interview individuals to get it to fully understand what it means to be a reporter. Students have to schedule interviews by themselves, make time in their schedule to meet the interviewees and then write the articles. This gets the students ready for the real world.

Schuh's main subject is journalism for she was once a journalist. Schuh earned her degree in journalism at the University of Illinois. She has taught all grades levels, but seems to find passion in the college level education because the students are more mature and more responsible when it comes to participating in class and completing assignments. Her passion for teaching came about because she enjoys passing along her knowledge to those who are interested in learning.

Teaching journalism also provides more flexibility than working in the field.  "As a journalist, you often have to be available at all kinds of hours, which is very exciting. However, it's not easy when you are raising a child." Her schedule at EMCC allows her to spend more time with her family.

One student, Rosa Garcia, commented, that she really liked the atmosphere in the class because the class size was small. Garcia was interested in journalism as a potential career path. She took the class to open her mind to options on which route to take.

Schuh's Journalism 201 was Garcia's first hybrid class.  This means that part of the class was completed online. Garcia stated that she liked the small classroom for it allowed Schuh to focus more on the students and she felt the instructor had a clear understanding of the topics, which helped Garcia to improve her learning.

Ashairah Goodspeed was another student in the class. Her first thought was that Schuh gave a really good vibe.  She got straight to the point about the assignments they would be doing for the class. Goodspeed said she really enjoyed the time spent in the classroom and felt that she understood what was required to pass.

Mrs. Schuh allows students to learn from all types of learning. To help visual learners she has segments where the students will watch videos to get a better understanding for the subject. For an auditory learning style, she has the students group together to have them listen to one another and provide support. For the kinesthetic learner, she has the students venturing out of the classroom to experience the life of a reporter and learn hands on.

Teaching to all three learning styles provides every student to learn in their own way, which makes Schuh an excellent teacher.