Teachers using classroom as a platform for politcial beliefs

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by hp123, Mar 31, 2007.

  1. hp123

    hp123 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Messages:
    377
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 31, 2007

    I live in a pretty liberal college town. There was recently some issues about teachers using the classroom to voice their politcal values. How do you feel about this?
     
  2.  
  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Mar 31, 2007

    I think it depends on the age of the kids, the class, and the particular values being discussed.

    In a Senior class on Civics, I can see a teacher discussing the political parties, and why he's a member of a particular one.

    But I can't see opening up a debate on abortion to a group of fifth graders, or to anyone in a Catholic school.

    The fact that the town is a "liberal college town" doesn't mean the parents are. They're presumably not in college, they're working hard to raise kids. It's amazing how that forces you to re-examine some of those liberal beliefs when it comes to YOUR child.
     
  4. TexasAggie2323

    TexasAggie2323 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2007

    I like to have my kids think so we do have a lot of political discussion's that deal with critical thinking.

    I think it has its place on education but you should show both sides of the story or at least admit that you are biased etc. I think I do a good job because my kids think that I am a democrat when I am FAR from it.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Mar 31, 2007

    Hey, Aggie, good to have you back!!!
     
  6. TexasAggie2323

    TexasAggie2323 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Messages:
    418
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2007

    Thanks, I may not be here for long. I like the forum but I am VERY busy between coaching, teaching, a one year old (just turned one yesterday), and a pregnant wife (long story).
    Everything is going good though, I hope you are doing good as well.
     
  7. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Messages:
    10,120
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2007

    WOW! That is a lot in one year. And it's your first year teaching. Goodness. Congratulations btw.

    As for political believes in the classroom I think it is ok in high school. My sister's english teacher was very liberal, my sister on the other hand is very right winged. She and the english teacher had a lot of debates over the years. They respected each other.
     
  8. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    9,154
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 31, 2007

    Sometimes this is the only exposure students have to hearing about political viewpoints. Even as adults some of us aren't very politically aware and having people bring it up wakes us up a little. It has to be an open discussion though and not judgementally presented.
     
  9. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    Messages:
    816
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2007

    I think it's okay. My (now adult) sons really liked teachers who expressed political opinions that were not the maintream, meaning NOT politically correct. My son in college makes fun of stuff like 'Diversity Week' and 'Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trangendered Week', because it's so trite and predictable. He likes his professors who are against the grain of the usual stuff they promote in Universities. He also loves to make fun of the young Republicans, so he doesn't spare either side of the political spectrum.

    It all has to be age appropriate. I didn't mind my daughter to know who her teacher voted for when she was in first grade, but I wouldn't want a debate on Gay marriage until High School. Also, some teachers, especially in college, will definately let their political opinions affect how they grade. For instance, I've heard of super liberal professors not tolerating papers that express conservative viewpoints.

    So generally, I don't mind my children being exposed to different points of view. It's important for them to see that there are wonderful people on all sides of politics, and that all people deserve respect, even if you, or your parents, don't agree with them on some things. Unfortunately, the ability to do so is sorely lacking in many people in the world, which can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Apr 1, 2007


    Congrats!!! I'm glad your year is going so well!

    And how, exactly, is a pregnant wife a "long story"???:p
     
  11. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    Messages:
    816
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 1, 2007

    LOL. I was wondering that myself!!! ;) :D
     
  12. BigJim

    BigJim Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 1, 2007

    The Southern classroom has always been highly political.

    For years I avoided doing this due to growing up in Mississippi and being educated there---I was quite a little left winger as a lad and constantly had Right Wing views shoved down my throat in a classroom (public school I will add). Now I would have been delighted by this, but it was always presented as “fact” as opposed to opinion. This left me completely isolated in an already lonely environment. As a youngster, I truly enjoyed hearing from the other side, but not when my own beliefs were not even presented as viable. The other side was “fact.”

    By the way, I am sure there are many people who grew up loving their country as right wingers who got the same treatment elsewhere....want to say that up front.

    Having said that, in recent years I have found that you can really get the kids excited (7th and 8th grade) about politics and get them involved in the process by asking them…”what do you think” and then taking the opposite view. This can spur some thought provoking debate, and after all….aren’t we there to produce a good citizen, no matter what their view?

    In the past few years I have started expressing my opinions with the clearly stated point that “this isn’t fact, it is simply my opinion.” The only problem with doing this is I sense the kids are very hesitant to disagree with me.

    I am always proud when they cant figure out exactly what my views are. Despite this, I think teachers have a right to have opinions too.

    Great idea for a thread, look forward to hearing from others….
     
  13. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    402
    Likes Received:
    1

    Apr 1, 2007

    It all really depends on the age of the students, the topics being discussed, and the teacher's purpose in the discussion. If the teacher is trying to get students to change their beliefs to agree with the teacher's, I would have a problem with that. If, however, the teacher just wants to open up intelligent discussion, great!

    I often play devil's advocate when things like this come up, arguing both sides passionately so that my students tend to have no idea how I really feel.
     
  14. BigJim

    BigJim Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 1, 2007

    That's when you really know you are doing your job...when they can't figure out what your side is.... I was really proud a few years back when one of my old students came back and lit into me for what she thought were my beliefs, though in reality I agreed with her! Ha!:)
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2007
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,170

    Apr 1, 2007

    Nine months, I should think...

    (I'm ducking, but probably not fast enough.)
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,170

    Apr 1, 2007

    That's good, but what's even better is when your students start arguing a side - even if it's not the one you agree with - from evidence rather than from gut, and they become aware that that's what they're doing.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,959
    Likes Received:
    2,115

    Apr 1, 2007

    Students, regardless of grade level, are 'captive audiences.' Using one's position as a platform for espousing political beliefs is not to be tolerated. I've been a memeber of such a captive audience in grad classes and felt my grade was at stake if I disagreed with th instructor....this should never ever happen in a democratic society..discourse is one thing, feeling captive to another's views is quite another..... I happen to be quite conservative, in what happens to be quite a 'liberal' climate-at least my district....I am SO CAREFUL to not allow my views leak over into any classroom discussions- I wish all teachers had this same view. We are not to sway opinions- just to present the subject matter in as unbiased a lens as possible, however difficult that may be......
     
  18. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2006
    Messages:
    1,610
    Likes Received:
    52

    Apr 1, 2007

    I agree with czacza! I know my oldest son really enjoys when his high school teachers go off on political tangents - he wants to major in pol. science someday. I know their opinions influence him but I'm not especially worried about him since I know that he will form his own opinions in his life to come. However, I do worry that they are not accomplishing the course goals while going off on self-serving tangents. I think teachers need to be careful though. I still remember being crushed when I was ridiculed by my 7th grade teacher because I repeated opinions I heard in my family discussions. His political views were the polar opposite of my father's. I do not believe I participated in a discussion the rest of the year.
     
  19. BigJim

    BigJim Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 2, 2007

    This was part of the point I was making in the earlier post. You nor i will ever forget the experience of being put down and feeling powerless but I do think there is a point where ideas can be introduced in a devil's advocate situation as long as you are up front about it. Just b/c we were mistreated in certain situations, perhaps that doesn't mean we can't do better.
     
  20. Yen

    Yen Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 2, 2007

    I think it's ok as long as both sides are presented.
    When it came to debate, I had a college professor who took the opposite of whatever a student said their belief was. It didn't matter whether she believed in that side or not.
    Also, because she switched sides so often, no one ever had any idea which side she actually agreed with.
     
  21. Docere

    Docere Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 7, 2007

    I had a few teachers who would occasionally express their political views in the classroom. It never bothered me, even if I disagreed. As long as it isn't done too often and the teacher doesn't stoop down to a low level (like calling people who disagree with their view names) I think it's fine.
     
  22. Anpadh

    Anpadh Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2007
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 7, 2007

    It depends on what type of political statement you are amking and how you make it. If you are human, you are political and you can't help expressing yourself. For example, I think it is perfectly OK to say that you don't think the oil companies should be paid to pollute the environment. On the other hand, to say that it is wrong to vote Republican is NOT ok. Similarly, I think it is OK to say that the US Army should not need to kill 4,000 monkeys to understand that once you shoot a monkey between the eyes it dies instantly. But I don't think it is right to say that the Army is evil. It is OK to say that the government should not have to spend $4 MILLION to realize that kids don't do well in school when (a) Their parents are on crack (b) They get no food at home and (c) They live under a bridge. But it is NOT ok to say that the government should stop wasting its time trying to educate such kids.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Iris1001,
  2. LimaUniformNovemberAlpha,
  3. waterfall,
  4. Ima Teacher
Total: 353 (members: 5, guests: 324, robots: 24)
test