Pulitzer Center Update

Chicago Educators Bridge the Global and Local at Summer Institute

This summer, more than forty inventive Chicago-area educators gathered to collaborate, create, and engage with pressing global issues alongside the journalists who experience them firsthand. All this was part of the Summer Institute for Educators, a two-day professional development opportunity co-organized by the Pulitzer Center and the University of Chicago, now in its second year.

As part of the Institute, teachers had the chance to discover reporting that will spark their students’ interest and develop a plan to bring that reporting—along with a Skype visit from the journalist behind it—into their classrooms. At the same time, they explored ways to use journalism to teach research, text analysis, media literacy, and global competency skills in line with Common Core standards.

During the first day of the workshop, participants began by reflecting on their own perceptions of and engagement with international news stories and the media. They considered the challenges and benefits of exposing students to global journalism before delving into the task at hand: how to effectively integrate international reporting into their curricula.

Chicago Professional Development

Educators discuss what global journalism can do during the University of Chicago Summer Institute for Educators 2017, a Pulitzer Center professional development workshop.

Educators discuss what global journalism can do during the University of Chicago Summer Institute for Educators 2017, a Pulitzer Center professional development workshop. United States, 2017.

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Teachers present their synthesis of how their colleagues anonymously responded to the following prompts on post-it notes: "My students need," "This year I hope,""Global Journalism Can," and "In this session, I hope." Image by Lauren Shepherd. United States, 2017. 

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Pulitzer Center Senior Education Manager Fareed Mostoufi introduces warm up activities that guide teachers to reflect on their goals for the upcoming school year and explore Pulitzer Center reporting. Image by Lauren Shepherd. United States, 2017.

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Teachers share reporting they explored as part of a hands-on exercise led by Pulitzer Center staff that asked teachers to identify images and headlines that caught their attention from over 50 Pulitzer Center projects. Image by Lauren Shepherd. United States, 2017.

In achieving this goal, educators had the guidance of seven Pulitzer Center journalists who presented their work, answered questions, and helped participants consider classroom connections. Lesson objectives don’t end with increasing awareness of important stories, but encourage students to make connections between their own communities and the realities of others. Steve Elfers, who presented his reporting project on the global impact of depleted groundwater, noted the importance of not just exposing students to but also involving them in issues that hit home. “There is no international story that didn’t happen somewhere, so the experiences that students have had are just as valuable,” he said.

Educators also heard from Kathryn Carlson about her multimedia project on widowhood in India and Uganda, Zach Fannin on unrest in contemporary Russian politics and society, Gary Marcuse on the intersections of religion and environmentalism in China, and Katherine Zoepf on women’s experiences in Saudi Arabia. Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmakers Brent and Craig Renaud Skyped in to discuss their film following child migrants from Central America to the U.S. in a simulation of a classroom Skype visit.

Kathryn Carlson on Widowhood

Kathryn Carlson discusses her reporting project on widowhood in India and Uganda. 2017.

Kathryn Carlson discusses her reporting project on widowhood in India and Uganda. United States, 2017.

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High school French teacher Lorin Pritikin asks Craig Renaud about his reporting from Central America over Skype. Image by Lauren Shepherd. United States, 2017.

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Grantee Gary Marcuse introduces his film "Searching for Sacred Mountain," which examines collaboration between the government in China and Buddhist monasteries on tackling environmental issues. Image by Lauren Shepherd. United States, 2017.

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Grantee Katherine Zoepf introduces her reporting on how women in Saudi Arabia responded to a change in legislation that allows women to work in clothing stores. Image by Lauren Shepherd. United States, 2017.

“One extraordinary aspect of [the Pulitzer Center’s] programs is that their robust outreach to educators provides invaluable resources for enhancing cultural and global literacy of American students, who tend to be isolated from authentic lenses into world events,” wrote Lorin Pritikin in a post-workshop feedback survey.

Chicago Professional Development Participants

Educators engage with multimedia journalist Steve Elfers during his presentation at the professional development workshop.

Educators engage with multimedia journalist Steve Elfers during his presentation at the professional development workshop. United States, 2017.

By the end of the weekend, all educators had identified reporting that would complement their class material, brainstormed ideas for implementation with Pulitzer Center staff, experienced journalism workshops including a practice pitching session with professional reporters, and engaged critically with international journalism and its place in the classroom.

If you are interested in hosting or participating in a Pulitzer Center professional development in your area or would like to explore ways to bring international journalism into your classroom, reach out to us at education@pulitzercenter.org or explore our newly redesigned Lesson Builder online.