Dr. Jane Blystone has been a vital member of PSPA since 1983. She has helped with all aspects of PSPA, including presiding over the association on five separate occasions. She’s also an active member of the Journalism Education Association Certification Commission and the JEA Scholastic Press Rights Commission. The Pennsylvania Student Journalist of the Year award was named for Dr. Blystone in 2011. Dr. Blystone tweets at @worddoct
Every year of teaching I have set goals for myself and for my students. It has been true for 44 years. Goal setting helps us navigate the path we see before us.
As I embark on retirement, I continue to set goals. This time, my goal is to serve JEA and PSPA as a trained mentor for new publications advisers right here in this great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, home to the oldest school press association in the country. To accomplish this goal, I spent four days at the summer Journalism Education Adviser Institute in Las Vegas in July.
One of the big takeaways from the JEA Adviser Institute is the power of collaboration. Both in the Adviser Institute and the mentor training, we spent considerable time engaging in collaborative strategies for teaching and mentoring. As I think back on advising, I know that the best times in teaching were those where students collaborated with peers and this teacher to create something bigger and better than we each could do alone.
Collaboration creates innovation. We all agree with that idea. I recently watched a TED Talk by Dr. Linda Hill, Harvard ethnographer, where she explains that collaboration helps us to innovate in any field because the collective genius of all members helps use creative abrasion, creative agility and creative resolution to further the goals of an organization.
As I think back on the days when my students were in the beginnings of desktop publishing in the late 80s, I knew that I had to let the kids run with the learning because I was just as new to it as they were. I still believe that is still true. I also spent considerable time connecting with my peers across the country in that exciting new medium for production.
During the late 80s and early 90s, my staffers were beta testers for the yearbook company who was creating new software to take yearbook publishing to a new level. It was intense, messy, frustrating and invigorating at the same time. It is still that way 35+ years later.
In our so present social media world, we must create space in education for students to engage in innovation in their learning space by dealing with the messiness of problem-solving that comes from creating something more that we can each do alone.
As a PSPA board member and officer, I took that whole idea of collaboration to my work with student journalists across the state. At PSPA, we hope that you will engage with us by collaborating to create the best state press association in the country.
Our board members are just like you, classroom teachers who have or are advising student publications. Our goal is to help you get better at what you do as an adviser, whether you are new to this great profession or you are well versed in advising. If you have a couple of years of advising in your repertoire, come join us as a board member. We need you to collaborate on this 21st century support network for journalism advisers in our state.
As a journalism adviser mentor, I still promote collaboration because it is still best practice in all kinds of learning. To help that new adviser navigate the world of publications and take students to the level of ‘state of the art’ journalism without reinventing the wheel, PSPA has collaborated with JEA to provide trained mentors for new advisers. There is no cost to the school or the mentee as PSPA and JEA fund this mentoring program for you.
Contact PSPA by clicking here to fill out a request for a mentor.