Last weekend, a spirited discussion ensued during #nctechat on Twitter. With a topic like Politics and Language: Critical Literacy During an Election Year, people are bound to show up and see what others are talking about (you can access the Storify archive here).
From the news media to our own dinner tables, the fear and vitriol that the 2016 election has already churned up has left teachers wondering how they can have productive discussions with their students about the important issues facing our country. But teachers also know that the classroom is where we have a big opportunity to help nurture engaged, responsible citizens. The question is, how do we invite those discussions into our learning community without also inviting resentment and malice towards those with differing viewpoints?
What I saw overwhelmingly in our chat last Sunday was that teachers understand the need to embrace the uncomfortable. That we need to go beyond just holding mock elections and offering students extra credit to stay up late and watch presidential debates. Instead, we need to look at the ways can critically examine our role as citizens in a democracy – with our students. It’s difficult to do that without discussing controversial and uncomfortable topics.
If you want to see some of the resources and important thoughts that were shared last Sunday, I created my own Storify of takeaways from the chat. I hope you will find some of them both useful and inspiring.