The Zombie Apocalypse is Here (and It’s Now Called ‘English Class’)

Student-centered learning and ‘The Walking Dead’ at Revere High School
(EWA Radio: Episode 187)

What happens when a teacher takes a student up on his dare to watch a TV series about zombies? Reporting for The Hechinger Report and The Boston Globe, veteran education journalist Nick Chiles found that at Revere High School just outside of Boston, that dare turned into an English class dedicated to literary lessons of “The Walking Dead.” At Revere, students are given more input into how—and what—they learn, more similar to what might be found in an elite boarding school than a public campus where just over half of students are Hispanic and three-fourths come from low-income families, Chiles reports. Among Revere’s challenges: Many students are new immigrants, coming from countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. How does the school measure its progress? How effectively are students being prepared for life and learning after high school? What are the hurdles to family engagement? How are teachers balancing the increased freedom in their classrooms with the state-mandated instructional requirements? Plus, Chiles offers story suggestions and smart questions to ask for reporters looking at non-traditional instructional models in their own districts, including those that pursue a more student-centered approach to learning.

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