Talk Show/Press Conference
The Talk Show/Press Conference invites students to examine how the media (journalists, interest in celebrities, etc.) shapes multiple perspectives on a topic, problem, or central question. The familiarity of the format encourages students to pay attention to the way the media is used to shape information for a particular audience.
Content and character preparation:
In this dramatic dilemma, the students step into a more articulated “role” in the audience of the talk show or press conference than they might in a simple Hot Seating or Person in a Mess strategy. To prepare, decide who is being interviewed; will the teacher be the character or will the student/s play the role/s? Take time for the person or people being interviewed to research and prepare background information about their character for the interview. Next, decide who is in the audience. Audience students often need to review related academic vocabulary, research, and consider who might have an opinion about the topic being introduced. In the Press Conference variation, students serving as the audience can choose a name, a publication they represent, as well as questions that might be used by journalist.
After the larger problem or content area has been introduced, explain that the “situation” being explored in class has caught the attention of the local media and an interview has been arranged. Introduce the character being interviewed and step into role as an outside moderator or as the subject of the interview. The interview begins with a few questions that establish why the character is being interviewed. Then, the students are encouraged to engage independently following a talk show or press conference format. Eventually, find a way to end the strategy from within the dramatic context of the scene (e.g., Looks like we are out of time for today for our show. Or Clearly, there are a lot of disagreements about this issue; we have to stop now as my client has a very important meeting to attend. No more questions) and invites everyone to step out of role together to reflect on what has happened.
- What new information did we learn?
- What new questions do you have now about (the problem/situation)?
- What do you think might happen next?
- For this strategy, side-coaching often occurs “in role” – meaning the teacher might ask questions or prompt further inquiry as they are in role as a character. For example:
- Can you tell me more about that?
- Thank you for sharing your opinion; does anyone else have a different opinion about this topic?
- Reading/Writing: Have students step into role as different characters from a novel and have them attend a talk show where the major conflict in the text is being discussed. Depending on the purpose of the lesson, the teacher might choose to lead a talk show at multiple key points in the text. For example, a talk show might happen with key characters right before the climax of the story and then another might happen after students finish reading the book. Students can also determine whom they want to interview at different points in the reading of a collective story/novel.
- Social Studies: Have students embody characters from across history who represent different viewpoints on a connecting issue. For example: Today we’ve gathered key figures who’ve addressed human rights issues around the world and across time.
- Science: Have students be different media reporters who have come to interview the teacher-in-role about an important advancement in the cloning of human organs as a cure for cancer.