Teachers sharing their political opinions in class creates problems for students
Teachers are among the most influential people in a student's life, but one area which teachers should not influence students is the political arena. A good teacher should provide an open forum for discussing important issues which can include politics. However, when teachers share their political opinion, it destroys what is supposed to be a classroom open forum by influencing a student's political opinion or making them uncomfortable to share a political viewpoint.
A teacher's political opinions can make a student feel uncomfortable sharing their political opinion. No two people have the same exact political opinion, much less a whole classroom. There will always be a person or people in a classroom to disagree with a teacher. A student, especially in the case of a student whose views differ from the teacher's, can develop an adversity to sharing their political beliefs in class because it differs from the opinions of the top authority in the classroom. Sophomore Aaron Shoham has seen this himself. Shoham has seen other students be ostracized for saying that they're Republican or have conservative viewpoints. "Sometimes they [teachers] just share political opinions, I mean it's bound to happen,” Shoham said.
Students don't want to have their thinking defined by an instructor. Paula McAvoy, program director of the Center for Ethics & Education at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and co-author of The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education, summarized this sentiment to the Chicago Tribune. McAvoy stated that students "want to figure out the problems of the world and not be told what to think." Crandall, Moose, and their teaching methods create "the political classroom," the concept of a class as outlined in The Political Classroom in which students learn how to debate and elaborate on their own views. In the Political Classroom the main focus is teaching students how to deliberate, weigh evidence and present arguments on political issues.
The Political Classroom should be the goal for all teachers who wish to host a meaningful political discussion between the students. This is most achievable by teachers keeping their political opinions private before it severely impacts students.
Nene Narh-Mensah. Senior Writer More »