Thursday, June 22, 2006

Teaching and the unteachables

I had no idea how critical PR professionals are of recent graduates until I started reading blogs. It's a little disheartening to go back and read some of the comments people have made, especially because I think Grady students are fantastic-- either they are, or I'm under their spell-- and I'd hire many of them in a flash.

I liked the recent posts by Marcel Goldstein and Kami Huyse because they focus on qualities that the students or recent graduates should develop rather than just complaining about what's wrong with students or undergraduate PR programs. Although I can certainly teach my students about tools and techniques, and reward them for thinking critically, qualities like studiousness and agility aren't teachable: they come from within. As an educator, all I can do is point out that employers think these qualities are important. The students have to take it from there.

Addition: A former student and recent graduate just sent me this op-ed on "seven habits" for PR newbies that was given to her by her employer.

I'm also very proud of our graduates. But they will inevitably face challenges and skepticism in the workplace. So I like to expose them early to some of this criticism - and blogs are a good way to show them what potential employers are thinking.

I also asked our first years to write a feature on 'PR - a good business?'. Most were willing and able to address the paradox that PR has a poor reputation but offers great career opportunities!
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"More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given" --Bertrand Russell

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