Hyper-Localization: Setting Sights Too Low
By Alex M.
At Fredericton High School there are some course curriculum that puts their entire focus on teaching and preparing people for working in hyper-localized markets. Given that Fredericton itself is a very small market it is understandable why this is so, but nonetheless this issue has been met with mixed feelings amongst some of Fredericton High School’s higher achievers.
One of the primary functions of education is to inspire students to higher aspirations. There are students who don’t want to be a local business owner, running a stand at the Boyce Farmer’s Market, or a reporter for a local paper writing fluff pieces about the dull going-ons that are most likely going to be skipped over by 80% of the customers of this already shrinking industry. Hyper-localization tells students that they can’t sink their teeth into anything of substance and that they shouldn’t bother to try to be anything more than average.
Granted, it is important to recognize local accomplishment and have pride in our local identity. Learning about local business and news is definitely an important part of any journalism or business class, but it shouldn’t be the point of the entire course. Students who go through high school not get exposure to the outside world and inspired to try to make something more of themselves will have quite the shock when they finally get out there and realize just how competitive and cut-throat it is in other larger markets. As well, as the world becomes more globalized and the internet becomes even more prevalent than it already is, the world will become closer and closer together and if one only caters to their local market they will be squashed.
Some may argue that students are not ready to tackle bigger issues, and in some cases they are right. In other cases they couldn’t be more wrong. There are some students who would struggle trying to understand the complexities of the issues between Israel and Palestine and within a short while of trying to explain it most would realize they aren’t ready to tackle a subject like that and take a new angle to a new story. Others would revel in the prospects of being given the chance to write about the Hamas government and would be able to bring up very interesting and astute points. Students who fall in to that second category feel extremely restricted and find it very patronizing to be held back in such a manor.
Perhaps one solution to this issue is to not restrain the students in giving them strict word counts and topic guide-lines for every assignment. Instead one could have an assignment that says “Write about an FHS issue,” or “Write about an issue relevant to Fredericton,” and so on until the world is our playground and we may write about whatever we want. This would be the best compromise and everyone would be happy and it would make the course have a much more lasting effect on students who take courses that are at the moment “hyper-localized.”