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As schools reopen, teachers will have a difficult time avoiding the Trump fallout

As schools reopen, teachers will have a difficult time avoiding the Trump fallout | USF in the News | Scoop.it

 As California teachers return to the classroom this fall, many of them will be faced with the multiple challenges of how to deal with children’s responses to the No. 1 political issue in the United States: the increasingly troubled presidency of Donald Trump.

It will be hard for teachers to avoid the issue. ...

 

The reality is that in the new communications age children come to school immersed in current events. Even for children who have no interest in news, it is hard to avoid seeing what Trump is up to through online platforms....

 

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If there is any silver lining to the multiple layers of emotions that children will bring to the classroom this fall, it is that they present learning opportunities to dig deeper into the functioning — or non-functioning — of American government, and to surface students’ questions and anxieties.

 

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To stimulate discussion on these issues, teachers need to create a structure that allows students to express divergent points of view. Otherwise classroom discussions could degenerate into an unhelpful free-for-all.

 

“Whole class discussions are hard to manage,” said Judy Pace, a professor of teacher education at the University of San Francisco, and author of “The Charged Classroom: Predicaments and Possibilities for Democratic Teaching.” “It takes a lot of practice to reach a point where you can have a quality discussion with a full classroom of kids.”

 

For that reason, Pace said, as important as taking on current controversies are, teachers must think carefully about who their students are, and the potential harm that might be done to any one of them, when deciding what and how to teach.

 

But there are ways for teachers to raise issues that are difficult for both them and their students, and teachers shouldn’t duck them, Pace said.  Some, like an approach called “structured academic controversy,” offer tested roadmaps for teachers. “Students need to think critically about which viewpoints represent democratic values, such as tolerance, equality and liberty for all, and which ones don’t,” she said. “Teachers can bring frameworks like human rights to get students to evaluate those different perspectives.” While doing that, she said, “teachers should be true to their values but not indoctrinate.”

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The need is arguably far greater than it was three years ago. Clearly every class can’t become a discussion about Donald Trump. But the thoughts and feelings that children bring to the classroom that they are hearing from their parents, friends or classmates, or reading online about Trump and his policies will be hard to ignore. The challenge for teachers is  to recognize and acknowledge them, and turn them into a learning opportunity for all students.

 

“It is easier not to talk about those things,” said the Center for Civic Education’s Gallo. “But teachers can’t afford not to become involved in one way or another.”

 

[via @edsource]

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“What If Education Enabled People To Analyze Possibilities” Dr. Shabnam Koirala-Azad Interviewed in Spotlight Nepal

“What If Education Enabled People To Analyze Possibilities”  Dr. Shabnam Koirala-Azad Interviewed in Spotlight Nepal | USF in the News | Scoop.it

Dr. Shabnam Koirala-Azad, the first Nepali-American woman dean of an American university talked with DEEPAK RAJ JOSHI of New Spotlight about her education, career, experience and home country. 

 

[via spotlightnepal.com]

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