By Sylvia Kerzhner ’18 and Sarah Cen ’18
Engagement in the material being taught in classes is an important aspect of student learning. Ms. Maria Moccia’s AP English Language and Composition classes have been highlighting this through the use of podcasts.
Ms. Moccia’s classes read articles about psychopaths and drug dealers and created podcasts. The podcasts featured a debate about the author’s point of view of psychopaths and drug dealers and the application of this concept in different scenarios. A script was written before producing the podcast, and everyone had to speak. Students chose to read about psychopaths or drug dealers.
“Rather than assigning us a writing prompt, Ms. Moccia wanted us to collaborate and initiate debates about how the author perceived psychopaths and truly hear our voices along with how we think,” said Gabby Milman ‘18.
This assignment is quite different from a regular task an English teacher would assign. These podcasts are similar to traditional class debates combined with technological use.
“It’s a more interactive way to argue and debate topics, as compared with writing essays about it,” said Beien Lin ‘18. “We have to lead a conversation about the topic on our own and we have to prepare the material ourselves, on top of the material given in class.”
The recording process happened in groups of four. The groups had conversations by answering questions that group members had for each other. In addition, they talked about how the author used rhetoric to convey his points.
Alice Mo ‘18 said she learned a lot about psychopaths and how their brains work differently from other people’s. The assignment helped her understand a psychopath’s emotions.
This new way of learning ensures complete student engagement in the material and allows them to think deeper, while using technology to showcase their findings.
“Podcasts can channel the minds of the youth and help others see how the youth think and the things they believe,” said Shanjida Kamal ‘18. “We are the future and our opinions and views will one day matter and podcasts help us express ourselves and also present our findings on effective and influential pieces.”
Students are used to projecting their ideas in front of the class or in writing; podcasts give a new way of doing so.
“I want my students to learn the importance of using different speaking registers that fit into different occasions,” Ms. Moccia said. “I also want them to be able to get a vast audience to understand a complex topic.”
Ms. Moccia said that podcasts are a great way to utilize new technology. This new way of learning might start to become more commonly used.
“I believe podcasts would be effective in other classes besides AP Language because they allow students to get out their opinions and ask deeper questions,” Kamal ‘18 said. “Podcasts should be used to get our minds churning and allow others to see how we feel as individuals or as a group.”
Ms. Moccia’s classes are still working on finishing these podcasts. This learning style might be a lengthy process, but it can be a success in terms of learning different perspectives and incorporating more engagement, combined with interest in different themes and ideas.