If you were to walk into room 131 on Friday, Nov. 3 you would see neatly organized packets of papers and teenagers celebrating with music, food, and conversation. The cause for the celebration? Submitting a major (8-15 page) argumentative research paper. We celebrate in class to recognize the hours of hard work that goes into the project.
All IMS juniors take Eng. III: Research and the course has a reputation for being rigorous. In Research students learn how to decipher what material is credible, reliable, relevant, and unbiased. This skill set (media literacy) is increasingly important to navigating our 21st-century world. This year I shared with my students the results of a recent Stanford study that researched 7,800 students and found some “dismaying” results. For example, the study showed that 80 percent of middle school students confused advertisements for real news stories.
Research class helps provide students with the tools to sort through the abundance of information that comes their way in order to find quality and recognize bias. Students also focus on citation skills that help them to avoid plagiarism and prepare them for college.
The second unit in research class is a career unit that helps students decipher their strengths, passions, and calling with a lot of practicalness along the way. Students spend a day job shadowing someone in a career of interest, they work on budgeting, they research expenses related to education and careers, and they build resumes and cover letters.
We finish by researching the Holocaust and reading Elie Wiesel’s Night to practice using our research skills with a common text.