It’s a fact: teachers need to gain more relevant global knowledge to equip their students with 21st century competencies. Fact number two: teachers need to learn how to integrate technology into their own learning and teaching.
Now, South African educators can do both by accessing more than 180 documentaries about issues facing schools in the US and other parts of the world via FRONTLINE, the US’s flagship public affairs television series, managed by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia (see: pbs.org/frontline).
E-zine The Atlantic describes FRONTLINE as “the best news programme on television”. It streams in full, for free and online, the tough, controversial and complex stories that shape our times.
Separate and Unequal (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/ frontline/separate-and-unequal/) ) considers racial inequality in the schooling system in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This film will resonate with many South African teachers.
Omarina’s Story (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/ frontline/omarinas-story/) provides an inside look at the increasing number of children dropping out of school in the US. The film’s subject, Omarina, participated in a groundbreaking intervention at a high-poverty school in the Bronx before she reached high school. The movie is an update of a story entitled ‘Middle School Moment’, and its conclusions could provide answers to a global problem.
Since Dropout Nation (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/ frontline/dropout-nation/) was filmed in 2012, the number of students who quit high school in the US have soared. This compelling film follows four students in Texas grappling with poverty, homelessness and other socio-economic issues that stand in the way of their schooling.
Even when students graduate in the US (and elsewhere), it’s becoming harder and harder to access quality tertiary education and a job. In College, Inc. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/ pages/frontline/collegeinc/view/), correspondent Martin Smith exposes what he calls “predatory for-profit colleges and universities that cater to non-traditional students, often confer degrees over the internet, and, along the way, successfully capture billions of federal financial aid dollars while leaving students with worthless degrees and mountains of debt.”
In Nepal: A Girl’s Life (http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/ watch/player.html?pkg=rc48nepal&seg=1&mod=0), FRONTLINE/World’s senior associate producer Sachi Cunningham tells the story of a little girl who narrowly escaped the fate of many of her playmates. Says Cunningham, “You can tell right away she’s playful and smart, but Sabina’s story seems rather ordinary – until you realise that her family is of the lowest caste – the Dalits, or ‘untouchables’ – who typically earn their living breaking rocks. In a country where 70% of the women are illiterate, Sabina is an exception; an extraordinarily lucky girl who has a scholarship that will take her through high school.
“Sabina’s benefactor is an American named John Wood, who started a literacy programme called Room to Read.”
Category: Summer 2015