Should Teachers Talk About Politics During Class?
How crazy does the world have to get before we call it in class?
I love music. I love books, I love food, I love bicycles and I love people. Sometimes I bring those passions into the classroom.
But I’ve always felt it’s important not to inflict my opinions on my students. I can give them the language to express their own ideas, but I see no reason to burden them with mine.
But how far can that ever be really true? If the subject of Phil Collins comes up, I feel morally obliged to tell students he’s rubbish. I’m not going to pretend to like coffee, I think it’s okay to say that I like camping. But at what point should I tell them my political opinions? I have many. Some vociferous.
Does my role as an educator mean I have a responsibility to educate them about politics? Right and wrong? Justice?
I know that I’m right about the use of gerunds and apostrophes. But what makes me think I’m right about anything else? Even politics?
It’s easy in class, as a teacher to start to see ourselves as fountains of wisdom.
Because we generally know more on the subject that we’re teaching than our students.
But I’ve always thought it’s key to remember that’s only in that one subject.
However, looking around the world now… as obscenely rich old men try desperately to increase their grip on power, it does seem like maybe we should be helping to wash away the lies of propaganda, helping our students see through the mist of lies?
Or… are we victims of our own propaganda?
At what point do we have to drop professional impartiality and fight using the platform we have?
I have no answers, only more questions.
What do you think?
Choosing the right TEFL course provider can be a tough one. Take a look at Gallery Teachers TEFL Courses and find the most suitable course for yourself. Never stop learning!
I think a good teacher should encourage their students to express opinions about anything – Brexit, covid, conspiracy theories – even early Genesis… He should try and get as many different views as possible and work to get a debate, or at least a discussion going by going round asking his students their opinion. Critical thinking and debate, tolerance and respect for different views, cultivating an ambience in which young people might even change their minds in the light of reasoned argument. All this however implies a fairly high level of linguistic competence – at least B2.
Then at the end of the class (or day) he can step in, sum up and if he likes, express his own, hopefully, balanced opinion. I’m sure the class will be keen to hear it!