Teaching with Solutions Stories

No matter the course focus, solutions journalism stories can help your students understand how to respond to the challenges they see in a rapidly changing world. Each story focuses on a response to a problem in meaningful detail; explores the effectiveness as well as the limitations and challenges of the approach; and provides insights others can benefit from. Because of these qualities, solutions stories help you prepare your students to re-examine social issues through a creative, critical lens.

Update Your Courses With Solutions Stories

The Solutions Story Tracker® is our database of thousands of vetted solutions journalism stories from hundreds of news outlets around the world. Send your students to the Tracker to find solutions stories they can analyze and share as part of an assignment, or use the Tracker yourself to find original, timely and relevant stories to supplement your other course materials.

To stay on top of the latest solutions reporting on climate, economic mobility, and democracy, sign up for Solutions Worth Sharing. You'll get two stories, every other week, delivered to your inbox. Even easier, have your students sign up!

Credit: Christine Herman/ WILL

Classroom Activities and Assignments

Explore the creative ways educators have incorporated solutions journalism stories into their teaching and borrow whatever you’d like from these sample assignments. If you’ve created an assignment you’d like to share with others, let us know and we’ll include it in an upcoming Making the Grade newsletter or share it on our website.

Making a Difference Course Modules

The Making a Difference: Strategies for Solving Social Problems course was originally created by Scott Sherman of the Transformative Action Institute for a semester-long undergraduate course on social problem-solving. The modules (part one, part two, and part three) combine experiential learning with more than 50 solutions journalism stories to introduce your students to the power of solutions thinking and our Success Factors, which include strategies like attacking root causes, cultivating collaborations, empowering people, expanding access, and practicing human-centered design.

Complicating the Narratives Discussion Guides

In 2018, we commissioned journalist Amanda Ripley to do groundbreaking research that she explained in a powerful essay titled “Complicating the Narratives.” Through that work, she showed how journalists can employ strategies used by conflict mediators to improve their reporting on contentious issues. Since the publication of Ripley’s original essay, we’ve developed a wide range of resources to help journalists use these practices to depolarize conversations.

The Complicating the Narratives discussion guides provide a framework for college and high school instructors to facilitate deep student engagement and reflection during classroom discussions. The guides reflect the topics in our discussion collections. Each guide includes a one-sheet summary of how to teach active listening, a discussion plan for one-on-one or small-group activities, associated solutions journalism articles and debrief prompts for the instructor. The guides are intended to encourage learners to reframe their goals, motivations and strategies when researching and debating polarizing topics.