My first week of teaching included workshops on both Tuesday and Thursday. I met with students in the auditorium to discuss how we were planning to create the broadcast website. This site is supposed to be a venue where students can post their broadcast stories, because they may not air in the news bulletin (newscast). It should also be a place where possible employers can view their work. The students seemed engaged in what I was saying, but I wondered if they were having trouble understanding me and my “American Accent.”
We have 69 students this term, who have already completed five years of college. Some have even had some work experience. There are 10 students in the multimedia track, 31 students in broadcast and 28 students in print. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the production days. Depending on their track, students are producing either a multimedia site, Soft Copy, a newspaper or a news bulletin. The broadcast website will also become part of their weekly production as it creates another venue for students to post their stories. For this week, the first of all three were produced, but as we move forward students will have two (websites, newspapers or newscasts) produced each week.
Fridays, after classes, students engage in a debate in the amphitheater. It’s called “Amphi Adda,” which literally means informal discussion in the amphitheater. However, the topic is chosen in advance by the student moderator, and links are emailed in advance, so students are informed and can effectively engage in their debates. The sessions are also videotaped. I like how this has been added to the curriculum, because it really forces students to think. This week the topic was secessionist and separatist movements in India. Many students argued that some states are justified in asking to be a separate nation as the state governments don’t feel like they are part of India. Others argued that the mainland does not recognize these indigenous regions and the people who live there. Therefore the Indian government is allegedly not doing anything about these states and problems they face. One student argued whether “culture” was a reason for separation, since each state has their own language, Indian customs and food habits. (I am all too familiar with how Indian culture can be completely different as I have a Bengali mother and Rajasthani Marwardi father. My mother grew up eating fish and rice three times a day, but my dad was a strict vegetarian, eating no fish, no meat and no eggs. They always spoke English at home, because that was the only language that was common between them. The clothes from their respective parts of India were equally different. Even though they were both Indian, they might as well have been from two different countries). Another student argued that “India as a land is united on common differences.” Another student argued that “India has always been divided not united.” One valid argument suggested more employment in the regions might prevent these states from wanting to be separated from the mainland. It was an interesting discussion, but not all the students had read the links as they were not fully engaged.