Monday, June 27, 2011

Journalism and Mass Communication Teaching ----- One-Dimensional vs. Multi-Dimensional Person

-Yam Bahadur Dura

It is said that a good teacher is like a window through which many young people see their future. Ideally speaking, a teacher is the mentor of students who guides them to a beautiful future equipping them with life skills and knowledge. There is no doubt that a good teach is a 'role model'. His/her pattern of knowledge delivery and way of dealing assist many students to shape their future.

However, the ground reality seems to be different if we connect this philosophical aspect with a 'journalism and mass communication' teacher. To a greater extend, a 'journalism and mass communication' teacher has been failing to be a 'role model'. There are many more socioeconomic reasons behind this situation. For many, it has become a job of least priority, not that of first priority. Why? It has two mains reasons.  The first reason is that they do not see job security in teaching. The second reason is that teaching is low paid and low profile job in Nepal. It seems to me that teaching career has pursued by only those people who are either very much addicted to teaching career or  they have perceived it as a last resort .

These hiccups in 'teaching and learning environment' can leave far-reaching consequences on the career of teachers and future of students. This can led a teacher to a situation wherein s/he is compelled to be less loyal to his job of teaching. On the other hand, the existing situation has victimized students as well. Overtly or covertly, they have been missing a wholeheartedly devoted teacher.  This results in weak academic performance, especially in practical activities.

 Despite this adverse situation, 'journalism and mass communication' subject seeks a fully devoted teacher. Academically speaking, 'journalism and mass communication' is a high demanding subject in terms of its course requirements. To deliver a full-fledged knowledge regarding the subject matter to his/her students, a 'journalism and mass communication' teacher should be a versatile person. This means s/he should have both theoretical and practical knowledge with regard to news gathering, newsroom process (even darkroom process), dimensions of communication, and many more media-related technological aspects along with knowledge of teaching pedagogy.  In addition, s/he should spend much time with the assignment of students beyond his/her normal duty hours.

 These necessities raise serious questions. Is a 'journalism and mass communication' teacher capable enough to meet all those requirements in this present socioeconomic situation? Being a low paid job holder, a 'journalism and mass communication' has to take more periods at different colleges. S/he must do it because it is a question of livelihood. This marathon-like race has given them a new identity. They are notoriously known as 'helmet teachers' who run like a runner college to college for their livelihood . What about quality if s/he spends much of the times by running here and there? Do they have free time to consult a library? Can s/he pay for expensive latest books to earn fresh insights regarding his/her subject matter? This state of affairs hardly lets them to paint a rosy picture of their own and that of academic environment.  By and large, the morale of a 'journalism and mass communication' teacher does not seem to be that much high.Only handful of 'journalism mass communication' teachers seem to be proud of their job.

Let's talk about academic environment of teaching and learning, Due to lack of enough public forums for discussion, many intellectuals have rarely got chances to floor their ideas among the wider circle of scholars. This has minimized potentials of exploring cognitive domain (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation) and affective domain (characterizing, conceptualizing valuing, responding, and receiving).  For the betterment of teaching and learning environment, maximum exploration of cognitive domain and affective domain is a must.   The absence of these domains many of the intellectual works in 'journalism and mass communication' sector have gone unchecked, which is considered to be big hurdle in 'teaching and learning environment.' This is because there is lack of culture of extensive public discourse.  Public forums like Martin Chautari should be opened to promote this culture.

 The profession of teaching - no matter whatever disciple of study it is - demands a 'multi-dimensional person'. But our socioeconomic environment is frequently trying to produce a 'one dimensional person'.  This reality has forced us to conclude that 'journalism and mass communication' teacher has become a magic window through which one can see a distorted view of future. That's why the magic window should be corrected by removing its loopholes. To this end, the present socioeconomic environment should be taken into right direction. By doing this, we can begin a journey through which we can reach a prosperous future.

[Courtesy: Media Newsletter (June, 2011), which is a publication of Communication Study Center (CSC)/ Department of  Journalism and Mass Communication at Madan Bhandari Memorial College.]

[Updated : January 31; 2012, June 27, 2012]

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