The camera doesn’t lie

A light-hearted look at my session at Chitralada school through the camera lenses of two talented student photographers.

All the photos in this feature were taken by two Chitralada M5 students. They are Jaruporn Limpichati (left) and Eakrawee Sirinavwin. Both were informed in advance, so they brought their own cameras. I told them they were free to move around the class and I encouraged them to take interesting photos from many different angles – photos that tell a story. As you can see, that is exactly what they did. Like all good news photographers, they took dozens of photos and I have selected a few of the best. Maybe you will see their work in the Bangkok Post some day. Meanwhile, here is their view of my 90-minute session with their class.

On Wednesday, I made my annual trip to Chitralada School to help the M5 class with their newsletter project. This is always a special day for me because the school, of course, is on the palace grounds which not everyone gets to see.

The students at Chitralada are used to foreign teachers, so they are not especially excited about an American guest lecturer. You have to be well prepared with interesting material to keep their attention. As you will see from the photos, sometimes I was successful, sometimes I wasn’t.

Having a video of a Lady Gaga interview helped keep up interest.

My job each year is to draw on my experience from my work as a journalist at the  Bangkok Post to help the students better understand the art of choosing interesting stories, information-gathering, taking news photos plus the story editing and presentation process. I use Powerpoint, but I also use videos and lots and lots of interesting news and feature photos.

This year I spent quite a bit of time on interviewing,\ since it is such an important part of information gathering for stories. To make things more interesting, I used a video with sections of a Larry King interview with Lady Gaga, focusing on the questions he choose to ask her. Then we looked at how the media covered the interview and which questions raised the most interest. That worked quite well with the students. Lecturing doesn't work as welll, and, as you will see, a few of the students lost interest when I talked a bit too long and too quickly.

The students’ job during this term and the next is to produce a high-quality newsletter that is distributed to students at their school and their parents. It is a very good assignment because, unlike the essays they write for their teachers, no one will be forced to read their newsletter. If it is not interesting and attractive to the eye, readers will quickly lose interest. The same is true of course for my own Bangkok Post and my own section of the Bangkok Post website.

This is the youtube generation and a short, unusual video is sure to keep their attention. You can see what they are watching here: http://bit.ly/cfqxGA JARUPORN

A well-organised Powerpoint presentation makes note-taking easy, but the teacher can't always be sure exactly what the students are writing down. JARUPORN

Some students seem to enjoy having their photos taken; others do not. Main: EAKRAWEE Inset: JARUPORN

Teachers know the most difficult part of the classroom to please is the back row. There I had mixed success, but at least no one went to sleep. Girls: JARUPORN Guys: EAKRAWEE

Above all, teachers want to keep their students awake and attentive. Sleepiness is contagious and can spread from student to student. Here is proof. Look at the young man on the left. Five minutes later, look at his neighbour.( To Mom and Dad: She wasn't really asleep.) EAKRAWEE

I told our photographers to take photos from different angles. Many of us just point the camera straight on and then we wonder why our photos look boring. Here is one example of how shooting upward can create a more interesting look. JARUPORN

Here's a nice view from the side EAKRAWEE

I like the composition of this photo. That's Jaruporn on the left, Archarn Virulh Kayin the centre and Archarn Kumaree Chinawat EAKRAWEE

Meanwhile Archarn Suzanne Person takes an interest in what Lady Gaga has to say. Looks like the students want to know what she has to say as well. EAKRAWEE

Here are the three teachers in a composite photo. I want to thank them for making my visit such a pleasant one. EAKRAWEE, JARUPORN, EAKRAWEE

Finally, the photos taken of me while teaching almost always show me with a twisted expression on my face, like the photo on the left. Eakrawee, however, seems to have a magic touch when it comes to taking my picture. Thanks to him, I finally have some photos I can send to my 92-year-old mother back in the US. EAKRAWEE


That's it. Here's a word of advice to teachers. If you want good photos, let your students handle them.

Related search: Chitralada School

About the author

columnist
Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager