In addition to supporting student-led movements for change, I believe it's important that teachers do everything they can in the classroom to help young people become informed, active and engaged citizens.
The 6 Levels of Bloom's Taxonomy, as demonstrated through various episodes of Seinfeld.
They say there's always a silver lining. If that's true, then I guess the silver lining around the chaos, anxiety, and political division we're currently experiencing is that it has spawned a renewed interest in civics and activism among students all across the country.
"With Mr. Trump in the White House, the obsession with politics that has many adult Americans fiercely focused on the Senate’s latest confirmation hearing and the president’s last Twitter message has filtered down to those not yet of voting age. High school and even middle school students are showing a level of civic engagement not seen in years, say their teachers and principals."
— Elizabeth A. Harris, The New York TImes
Read the full article in The New York Times: The Snapchat Cohort Gets Into Politics, and Civics Is Cool
This. So much this.
"I refuse to untangle civil and human rights from education just so you don’t have to be uncomfortable."
— Jennifer Gonzalez, Editor-in-Chief of Cult of Pedagogy
From her post on the Cult of Pedagogy Facebook page.
As a student teacher who is very politically engaged and aware, these are trying times. I definitely struggle to remain neutral when politics and current events come up in class. And, before you say "politics have no place in the classroom," I should point out that I am student teaching in two U.S. Government classes. That makes politics, at least in the abstract, tough to avoid.
As part of my grad school coursework, I have written an elevator speech explaining the importance of inquiry-based learning in History/Social Science. Here's what I came up with:
The adoption of Inquiry-based learning in History/Social Science Education ensures that students are not performing rote memorization and regurgitation of dates, facts, figures, people, and places. Instead, they are learning the disciplinary knowledge and practices that will allow them to develop a deeper and more holistic understanding of History, Government / Civics, Geography, and Economics. Students are taught to think critically about the information: to evaluate the source(s), to consider the temporal and spatial context from which it originates, and to identify any biases that may impact its reliability. They learn to look for connections and causal relationships between systems, events, decisions, and cultures; and also to their world and experiences. The ultimate goal of inquiry-based learning is not merely to impart content knowledge, but to teach students the skill set and thought processes required to be informed, active, and engaged citizens. In light of current events, I believe that this is critical.
I'll be refining this over course of the term but this is my quick take on the subject right now. Yes? No? Maybe so?