Are you planning on teaching the election?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Jun 15, 2016

    I am not a Social Studies teacher, but I am wondering whether any of you are planning on "teaching" the election this year or next year. I had an experience at my pre-practicum at a Middle School where the teacher showed the class a few of Mr. Trump's bigoted statements towards Muslims and several students/teachers laughed (because of how ridiculous some statements were.) Then, many Muslim students were upset and went to their parents because they felt like teachers/students were making fun of bigotry in the presidential election. The school also had a mock election and announced the results. Do you think it is possible to discuss the current election without hurting students or showcasing your own political views?
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jun 15, 2016

    I will teach the election process, but I will not discuss candidates. I firmly believe children (my students are 10/11), get their political viewpoints from their parents at this age, and it's too touchy a subject for classroom discussion. I will encourage them to be educated voters when they are adults, and I will have them track electoral college votes the night of the election. We will watch the inauguration in January to complete the process.
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jun 15, 2016

    I approach the topic similarly.

    We'll occasionally read kid-friendly news articles or watch videos about how the election's going, but I tell them repeatedly that it is an educational conversation to know the facts about what's going on, and that they are not allowed to discuss their opinions or groan or cheer when certain candidates' names are mentioned. We've talked names, timelines, and processes, but steer clear of stances and candidate's speeches.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
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  5. allaphoristic

    allaphoristic Companion

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    Jun 15, 2016

    It depends on this year's group of students, but most likely. The class that just left me was super into the election. We're in an area of the country and a school where everyone's political leanings are pretty much on the same page, so my co-teacher and I did allow some candidate talk, but never discussed our personal views. They were super excited to learn about the local voting process, so I made sure to get up early and vote in our primary before school so that I could discuss that process. We also tracked primary results (map skills) and discussed how the electoral college works (good graphing and math skills - percentages, etc.)
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jun 15, 2016

    I'm teaching sped now, so it's not something I'll get to cover. However, I was teaching 3rd grade in 2012, and I did teach about the election then. I loved it! My kids were highly interested in it and were really engaged anytime we talked about it. I was able to tie it into a few different subjects. When it got close to election day, right before lunch we would look at the polls every day and discuss what would happen if certain states voted red/blue etc. It was a very heavy ELL inner city area and my kids were very into Obama so they were interested in what needed to happen for him to win. I'm liberal too, but I would never tell them my own political views. The day after the election, they literally came into my room fist pumping and chanting, "Obama, Obama, Obama!" I thought it was very cute and was glad that I could get them interested at such a young age. They also decided that I "wasn't excited enough" and therefore must have voted for Romney, so I feel like I did a good job not revealing any of my personal feelings!
     
  7. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jun 15, 2016

    I've said how I teach about the election, and I'm good with that because getting political can be downright dangerous in today's society.

    However, I think that political education should be required! Americans have such an apathy for the election process, other than the media glamour of it all, and voter turnout is horrid. Sure, there are all kinds of people stating their opinions, but not many people doing anything to actually back them up. I wish we could focus on this more in school. We need more interest in active citizenship.
     
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  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jun 16, 2016


    Be careful with this. I work with a teacher that could have written this, word for word. Because HER political leanings matched what many of her students stated were theirs (and because she knew a lot of the parents), she truly believed that her whole class felt the same way. She did take it too far, even called Trump an idiot in class. There were many students that were offended but because they liked her so much, they didn't complain about it in class. They feared that they would also be mocked.
     
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  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jun 16, 2016

    I'm hoping to avoid saying a word about the election in class, because my hatred of one of these candidates is far too strong for me to even pretend to be unbiased or neutral.
     
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  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I don't plan to do much with it.
     
  11. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Jun 16, 2016

    I have my 11th/12 graders present about their candidate of choice based on issues that they feel are important. I feel it is very very important to teach that we not only don't have to agree on everything but know that disagreement with respect is an important part of maturity. I encourage those that are eligible to register and to get out to vote, not only for president. And I tell them that this discussion about issues is ongoing and should be done with friends and family and it isn't to change minds, it is to learn. Too often we are seeing that even our world leaders do not know how to disagree with respect. It NEEDS to be taught. Many of my students come to me believing that disagreements are solved physically. I want them leaving my class with more choices.
     
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  12. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Jun 16, 2016

    We had our election this year, in Canada, and I covered it with my class a great deal. We invited all of our local candidates to come talk about what they would do for our city as our representatives in Ottawa. I never shared my personal views, but always tried to offer a counterpoint (even if it was one that I disagreed with) if a student shared an opinion on something. I would offer that counterpoint as "but some people believe...." We had three of our four local candidates come in... one chose not to do school visits. I initially got some heat on a local newsbag Facebook group for inviting a specific candidate, but once it was understood that all candidates had been invited, that pretty much cooled off.

    Having said that, the political climate in Canada is slightly different from that of the US... I don't know what I'd do... I do think that young people need to be engaged in the political process in order to participate later in life.
     
  13. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jun 16, 2016

    This is so true. I teach primarily 10th, but will most likely have a section of seniors next year as well. The election is bound to come up just in normal conversation, and I think it's good to allow them to discuss it as long as they do so with maturity and respect. I, myself, try to remain unbiased whenever I talk about politics, and if I DO express an opinion, I usually try to lean toward a "third party" viewpoint, or I just dismiss the main party candidates saying I don't care for either of them (which is true). We discuss that this is a less-than-ideal choice for our country, and some of mine even wrote a "Declaration of Independence" from our presidential nominees, saying our country deserved better choices and if there were none, they were going to go form their own country.
    Mainly, if I incorporate the election, it will be as part of our study of persuasive rhetoric. I think it's important for them to recognize when they are being fed a bunch of "BS" and to be able to cut through it and use their brains to think for themselves. Because I truly believe that's the only hope for our country's future. An educated population of critical thinkers who don't believe everything shoved down their throats by politicians and the media.
     
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  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jun 17, 2016

    My students, here on the other side of the border, are having some very spirited discussions about the U.S. election. They have very strong opinions and many are questioning what the outcome of the election will mean to them in their future.
     
  15. NewTeacher2016

    NewTeacher2016 Companion

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    Jun 17, 2016

    .
     
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  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jun 17, 2016

    I don't really have a comfortable way to bring it up in my ELA class. On the whole, I try to avoid discussing politics or religion, mostly because I don't feel like dealing with fallout.

    It's especially tricky for me because chat between students is typed, not spoken, so a student may grab a screenshot of something said during pre-class chat and show it to his or her parents later. One student did this a couple of years ago and had her mother convinced I was teaching satanism (another student had jokingly typed "666!"). It was a mercy that parent merely requested another teacher, a request that was quickly granted.

    Can you imagine what could happen if students got into a political argument and one of them grabbed a screenshot to take out of context?
     
  17. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    Jun 17, 2016

    In a social studies classroom, I think the teacher would be remiss to ignore the election. That said, I don't think it needs to turn into a huge discussion about the candidates and their lives (position need to be analyzed to a degree). An election is going to be controversial, so the job of the teacher is to keep the discussion on track and away from personal attacks and issues.
     
  18. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Jun 17, 2016

    I teach Social Studies. I followed the primary season with my middle schoolers, only because they kept asking me who was winning and I didn't feel like looking it up anymore lol. I had posters with the names of the candidates and how many delegates they had (not including super delegates on the Dems side). I updated it every week or two. We discussed the candidates, their platforms/speeches, the primary election process and the upcoming elections, but I told them from the beginning that they needed to be respectful of each other's opinions and not boo/bash any candidates. My sixth graders were actually the most interested in politics out of all the classes, which was funny because they were also the most likely to immediately bash the different candidates. They took corrections well and eventually learned not to boo candidates where I could hear them. One student made a Trump 2016 sign in like October and kept it up all year. I admired his dedication.

    My students loop so I will have them again next year. I will definitely keep studying the election and following the news with them. I am definitely planning a government project for the upcoming 7th graders. They study World Geography, so I am thinking a compare/contrast presentation on the US government and a country of their choice.

    I actually lucked out last year and got to teach the Canadian election briefly. My timing was perfect. We read a few articles about Trudeau's background and his platform, and we looked at the MPs from the different provinces. They loved it!
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 17, 2016

    I go overboard in trying to be balanced and not slant my teaching one way or another....I teach third gade where kids feel free to express their (influenced by parents) opinions. I have felt oppressed and prisoner to professors' opinions in grad classes. I think there's an assumption out there that all education workers vote as a block and I consider that so disrespectful. I'll teach the standards for my grade level and will not let politics influence my teaching.
     
  20. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Jun 17, 2016

    I love to teach the election. I'll have 5th grade, and we'll look at all the issues. After discussing Immigration (or some topic) I'll write the position of the candidate under Candidate A and Candidate B. After the lists of positions on various topics are complete, We'll have a secret ballot and vote. After wards we find out who is A and who is B. It's quite exciting and engaging.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 17, 2016

    Be very careful in what quotes you present...it can be very difficult for some to choose without bias
     
  22. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    Jun 17, 2016

    I teach social studies, and I will definitely be teaching the election! This past year we followed the primaries regularly. I kept an updated delegate count on my white board.

    As to discussing specific viewpoints, students are encouraged to share their ideas as long as they are expressed in a respectful manner. I do not share my personal political opinions with any class because I feel that, while it is my job to encourage students to form educated opinions, it is definitely not my job to sway my students
     

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