TeacherServer.com
Home | How It Works | Stats
Login | Register
     
 
Topic Go Back
 
     
     
 
Case
Posted on November 25, 2012 5:22 am
Add to Favorites Add to Favorites

Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 616
Politically or Racially-Aware
I believe in democracy. As a high school social sciences teacher, I strongly believe in democratic education and political awareness. I want my students to be aware of what is going on around them locally, nationally, and internationally. I require my students to keep up with news. Everything they learn from newspapers, magazines, and television becomes substance to use in my lessons. Before the presidential elections, I asked my students to watch all the debates, try to see the different perspectives, and how those perspectives may lead to different courses of action and to different implications for people. As part of this effort, I gave students a “persuasive writing” assignment. I gave them a list of topics from the debates, such as abortion, healthcare, affirmative action, and foreign policy. Students were to take a position on one of these issues and write a persuasive essay. When it was time for students to share their writings in class, things got out of hand. Every single topic we discussed along with the essays turned into a discussion of race. My Black and White students took opposite perspectives on every issue and during the discussions, they were not civil. I felt like my efforts for democratic education were not producing anything good. Should I change my activities? How come the political awareness I wanted develop in my students actually turned out to be racial awareness? Some guidance please!
 
     
     
 
Reply Submit a Possible Solution
Please read response(s) below (if any) before posting your solution.
 
     
     
 
Solution 1
Posted December 6, 2012 7:33 pm

Jessica Jacobs Graham
Jessica Jacobs Graham
Reps: 116
As they say, sometimes its not good to talk politics in mixed company. However, I do understand the merit of such civics education. I had some similar situations during the 2008 election when I taught a civics unit to my 8th grade Georgia History class. I think we have to put a lot of time into fostering an atmosphere where students feel free to express their feelings but not threatened. It may be wise to limit the amount of rebuttals that students are aloud to make in dealing with discussion, particularly if it seems to get out of hand. Ultimately, you are the gatekeeper and have to know what kind of stimuli will influence your students. I think we also need to get to know our students and their dispositions well before embarking on such controversial tasks. This year when I did a mini lesson on the election with my middle and high schoolers, I knew my students and what their probable responses would be on who they would vote for. I remained unbiased and allowed them to have their say as long as it was respectful and they did not anger any of the other students.
Votes: +10 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Japuje
Japuje
Reps: 107
I like that you added the requirement of being respectful of others and to not say things that could be offensive. Students can express their beliefs without being offensive if they go about it the right way.
  Posted on: September 22, 2015 8:10 pm

uPaSeW
uPaSeW
Reps: 209
I agree with limiting the amount of rebuttals the students can have. I would also limit the amount of racial comments the students make. I also think that we need to get to know our students and determine if they would be able to handle this type of situation.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 3:30 am

Daisy Dumler
Daisy Dumler
Reps: 106
I agree that we should try not to offend anyone during the assignment. Keeping the debate tasteful and not disrespecting anyone is the way to go.
  Posted on: October 19, 2015 9:36 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 2
Posted December 9, 2012 3:03 pm

Melissa Tolbert
Melissa Tolbert
Reps: 104
I don't think you should change your teaching. I believe that with different groups of students, the results would have been different. I think it might be a great idea to have the students explain their issues but they couldn't have race be a reason for their opinion. I would also try to come up with a lesson that requires that students think about a topic as if they are in the presidential candidate's shoes who they are against and have them come up with defend the decisions of that candidate. They would have to get into that person's shoes and understand what they chose and why and how it is perceived to benefit the nation. They might also need to connect these ideas to other candidates in the past to show that race isn't a deciding factor in choosing a president.
Votes: +3 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
I think you need to move your students out of their comfort zones, as well. Have students who are white take on the persona of a black candidate and vice versa to prove your point that elections can be divided in terms of race. Show them your expectations and also what to avoid. Painting the clearest picture possible is always the best way for students to gain full control.
  Posted on: October 4, 2013 4:39 pm

HaBuMu
HaBuMu
Reps: 52
Your idea to have them complete the activity in terms of another race is brilliant. This would make this assignment harder for them,but I feel like they would learn more. Also, they can learn how their feelings can affect current events with these activities.
  Posted on: October 6, 2014 2:06 am

ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
I think this is a great idea! If you say from the beginning that they will be expressing their ideas as if they were in front of a large group of people in a position such as the president, I think students would be more likely to really think about what they saying.
  Posted on: October 6, 2014 1:34 pm

uPaSeW
uPaSeW
Reps: 209
I also think this activity would have gone better with different students. Teachers should get to know their students so that they can make sure they would be able to handle such a task.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 3:32 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 3
Posted September 23, 2015 7:44 pm

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I feel that the students should be able to express their own opinions in the classroom. In high school, I was in a current events class that had us do something similar. The teacher was the mediator and set a tone for the debate. Two students were chosen for a current event and picked a side to be on (at random). Whether or not the student agreed with the side of the topic they were to talk about, they had to do research on it and come up with points about it. Bringing awareness of the facts of both sides, allowed the students to form an opinion of their own. When it came time to ask the students about what they thought, the conversation was civilized. It is important for the teacher to set the tone for the class. The students should not be allowed to talk about race and other discriminations in their debate.


Votes: +2 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 4
Posted November 29, 2012 5:48 pm

Meredith Hein
Meredith Hein
Reps: 139
I think the way you approach the "sharing" portion of the assignment can set the tone for the outcome. I think the most important thing to point out when dealing with these controversial issues are the FACTS. When facts have been stated, then informed decisions/opinions can be made. The way I would approach this assignment is to have people from each side of the issue state a fact supporting their side one at at time and have them on the board for the class to see. After students have gone back and forth discussing FACTS, then students can better make an informed decision. In order to tackle the racial issue, I would try to do my own research finding political beliefs of famous people, athletes, other teachers (if they are comfortable), etc. that openly share their political views regardless of their race. When students realize that many DIFFERENT people have different informed opinions they will feel more comfortable choosing a side regardless of their race. It would be important to make sure you do not find evidence to support the students' racial perspectives.
Votes: +1 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
I agree state the facts, but facts can be interpreted from all different angles.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 10:29 pm

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
Using facts is a smart way to approach this. I think that facts can be used to make sure the conversation stays objective versus emotional. This would make the conversation more productive.
  Posted on: October 23, 2014 8:40 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 5
Posted December 4, 2012 11:37 am

Savanna Hayman
Savanna Hayman
Reps: 104
I think that with a lot of political issues, as sad as it is, students tend to side with their parents or other adults that they have heard talking without forming opinions of their own. They regurgitate information mindlessly without having any evidence to back up their opinions- race included. I think that as a teacher, having them argue and have a variety of opinions is good, something you always want- but you should require them to back it up. Try having the discussion again and say, "feel free to express your opinion on any point, everyone is entitled to it, but make the point without race being a factor, and see if it still makes sense to you or your classmates." I think a lot of times, students use race as something to fall back on and make their point when that really is the most simple and ignorant way to think.
Votes: +1 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
Savanna,

What you have described can be summed up as the students expressing their own cultural bias in the classroom. While we need to teach them that we all have our own opinions (and feel very strongly about them), we must teach them respect and tolerance; and, we can start by sharing our own experiences.
  Posted on: October 4, 2013 4:49 pm

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
You are right. Discussing political issues is a touchy subject. I agree with you when you said students typically side with what they hear or what their parents believe in. Most of the time they do not have any "back up" for what they believe. In this case, making them "back up" their thoughts with evidence would be a great idea. Also, they should do so without making a race issue.

  Posted on: September 30, 2014 8:57 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
I agree that students many times blindly accept the opinions they hear as truth without given them much thought. It is important that we teach them to evaluate these opinions based on facts while at the same time considering the experiences they've had.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 8:31 pm

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I agree that the students in the class should have their own opinions. The way the students represent their opinions need to be respectful. I think the teacher should allow the students to share their opinions, but definitely represent facts to back them up. Bringing race into a topic can hurt people's feelings and that is not being respectful. The teacher should also act as a mediator in the classroom and referee the topics in case they get out of hand.
  Posted on: September 23, 2015 7:28 pm

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
I agree, and I think it is very important for students to form their own opinions, instead of simply siding with that of their parents. The sooner they learn to think for themselves and discuss their own opinions, the better they will become at reinforcing those opinions.
  Posted on: October 2, 2015 1:47 am

Amanda Whittaker
Amanda Whittaker
Reps: 114
I think the students having to back up what they say is a great idea. They can repeat whatever their parents have to say to anyone, but being able to back it up is going to show whether or not they truly understand what they are talking about.
  Posted on: October 4, 2015 4:27 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 6
Posted December 9, 2012 3:14 pm

Catherine Shaw
Catherine Shaw
Reps: 13
The teacher should create two candidate profiles that leaves the candidates identity anonymous. By discussing each candidates views on specific issues while keeping their identity unknown the students can discuss and formulate their own opinions as to which candidate they agree with more. The students can then create their persuasive essay in class so that they cannot use the internet or outside sources to determine the identity of the candidates. The teacher should make sure that the facts given to the students are unbiased and reliable resources. After the students have completed their essays the teacher can reveal the true identity of the candidates. The teacher can go on to explain that race should not be a factor in choosing a candidate. The teacher should provide the students with the resources that he/she used so that students do not feel like the teacher used any bias in presenting the facts about the candidates.
Votes: +1 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
Creating two anonymous candidate profiles that focus on the issues is a creative idea. However, if the students adhered to the assignment and watched the presidential debates and read newspaper and magazine articles about the candidates, they may have a good idea of who the anonymous candidates are.
  Posted on: October 3, 2013 9:47 pm

aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
I agree with the above comment that if your students had done the work you asked of them, it would be difficult to hide the identity of the candidate. Especially with the election of Barack Obama, I think it could be healthy to have an honest conversation about race in politics. Politicians use race all the time when it comes to breaking down elections and voters. Politicians know which racial, gender, and age groups care about which issues. Opening the eyes of students to this reality, and how politicians use this information to cater specific messages to specific groups, may help them to become more informed voters.
  Posted on: September 30, 2014 6:44 pm

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
I love the idea of presenting anonymous candidates because you can remove the race issue by having the skin color unknown. By using this strategy, you can ensure that the students develop political awareness based on political views instead of racial bias.
  Posted on: October 3, 2014 1:13 am

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
What a great idea! Make the students decide without knowing anything personal about the candidates, only how they feel about the important issues. If the students feel differently about the candidates once they learn their true identity, they may need to look deep inside of themselves to figure out shy.
  Posted on: October 4, 2014 7:34 pm

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
I like the idea of keeping a named candidate off of the agenda of the lesson, and keeping the focus on the topics. As we go forward in history, this is going to be an important skill to have, as we will be facing discrimination regarding not only race, but gender as well. Learning to focus on the topics and voting record of a candidate will be something that has value.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 8:31 pm

ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
Absolutely genius solution! This reminds me of the show "The Voice." Unfortunately and naturally, I believe, people make judgements on how people look. If the candidates are anonymous, students have to pay attention to the real issues and not the race of the candidates. What if the United States did this with the real candidates. None of the candidates could be identified and they must just show what they stand for through the writing of essays and articles and the public must decide on a candidate based on what they read ONLY. Then, they would vote on the candidate and whichever one won the votes would be identified.
  Posted on: September 26, 2015 3:28 pm

ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
I really like your idea of having the candidates profile anonymous. I think by doing this then there would not be any controversy between the students.
  Posted on: September 30, 2015 1:38 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 7
Posted February 18, 2013 1:12 am

Simone B.
Simone B.
Reps: 28
I think you should flip it to your advantage. Don't change your activities because it causes a little controversy. Use that time to explore what causes your students to be so divided. Ask them why they think that when it comes to certain views they tend to be racially divided. Allow for open but respectful discussion. Students would love to share their thoughts.
Votes: +1 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102
I agree that this could be turned into a deeper learning activity through a discussion of the origins and support of their various views and beliefs. Discuss why we all have different views about certain topics and how race can sometimes be an easy way to jump to conclusions about topics such as abortion. Talk about the deeper meanings and origins of your students views.
  Posted on: September 27, 2013 7:26 pm

Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
I agree with you both that this situation could be used to expand on the topic of racism. It would be completely necessary to set some discussion guidelines so that the conversation did not become negative or counter productive.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 6:07 pm

Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109
think you should flip it to your advantage. Don't change your activities because it causes a little controversy. Use that time to explore what causes your students to be so divided. Ask them why they think that when it comes to certain views they tend to be racially divided. Allow for open but respectful discussion. Students would love to share their thoughts


I agree with you! I think the activity is great and shouldn't be changed.I would have never thought about discussing why the students feel so divided. I bet you would get a lot hearing more student thought.
  Posted on: September 25, 2015 12:12 am

Amanda Whittaker
Amanda Whittaker
Reps: 114
I think using this to your advantage would also be a good thing. Let the students carry on with the conversations, but explain that they have to be respectful and listen to what others have to say. Put some rules in place and see where this goes. You may learn something new from your students perspectives that you may have never thought of.
  Posted on: October 4, 2015 4:30 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 8
Posted September 29, 2014 3:21 pm

BazaNu
BazaNu
Reps: 89
I think part of the reason things turned from political to racial is due to cultural differences. Many people are very passionate about their political stance and anyone who disagrees is personally attacking them. To improve the assignment and reduce the black vs. white arguments, I would have students examine both sides of the topic and even discuss it among a small group consisting of black and white students. This would hopefully add some civility and understanding from both sides.
Votes: +1 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Kristen Bagwell
Kristen Bagwell
Reps: 107
Your provide a nice solution. Students should be provided with a time to reflect on the cultural differences that may arise before they actually occur in the classroom. Additionally, having students work in a small group, particularly if students aren't expecting a conflict similar to the conflict that was described in the situation.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 3:59 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 9
Posted October 5, 2014 2:38 pm

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
With lessons like this, it is important for students to be given a strict set of behavioral guidelines before the activity begins. If they know how they are allowed to express their opinions then they are more likely to follow an appropriate classroom discussion structure. I also think that this would be a great teachable moment because the teacher could go into the discussions and explain that if you do not present your opinions in the appropriate manner, then no one will take your opinions seriously no matter how accurate your opinion may be. Also, explain to students that opinions will likely cause heated debates, but if they are not careful, they will undermine their own opinion by their actions and take away from the importance of their words.
Votes: +1 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
Great solution! Behavior guidelines are important and this could have definitely helped the outcome of the lesson and writing assignment.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 6:52 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 10
Posted October 6, 2014 2:05 am

Whitney Johnson
Whitney Johnson
Reps: 97
I think an appropriate action to take in this situation would be to explore the successes of political people with different races. Although this lesson was intended for political awareness. yet turned into racial awareness, I think that both categories can be meshed together for success. This will give students an insight to both sides of the playing field in political and racial awareness. Political current events could also be tied into this assignment as well.
Votes: +1 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

egyveW
egyveW
Reps: 103
I agree that even though making students racially aware was not the goal it can still be used for a positive learning outcome in the classroom. I think that this is just a way to make students think more deeply about several different topics all at once.
  Posted on: October 23, 2014 8:37 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 11
Posted September 24, 2015 11:59 pm

Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109
I think that it is very important that we teach students how to participate in discussions with people who agree and disagree with them. In order to think critically about an issue, people need to discuss those issues with other people. However, when discussing controversial topics, teachers need to prepare their students for what is expected of them. As a teacher, I would complete a mini lesson that shows students how political discussion needs to be carried out. I would model the behavior I expect from my students and I would give them specific examples of what to say when they want to add to someone’s comments or when they disagree with what is being said. By providing students with language they can use to build on comments of other students, they are less likely to say something that will offend someone else. I would also let the class develop norms for class discussions and post those norms in the class.
Votes: +1 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 12
Posted December 4, 2012 8:55 pm

Jessica Oglesby
Jessica Oglesby
Reps: 110
I can totally relate to this. My students were finishing up their unit on the Civil War during the time of the election. I had my students participate in a mock election because I also agree with democratic education. After I posted the results from the election their attention went from reasons regarding health care and education straight to racial issues. Many students began to discuss how their parents felt and some of the comments were totally inappropriate. Although they did not get totally out of hand, their behavior did make me a little skeptical. I feel that we both had good ententions of exposing our students to the democratic system of participating in government, and we should continue to do so. We just need to make sure that we set boundaries and understand that we may all have to disagree to agree, but in a civil manner.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
I agree that it is important to teach students that it is okay to disagree. I feel that there is a belief that if you don't agree with me then you are wrong. We must teach student that everyone has different opinions and that we must respect each other's opinions.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 8:36 pm

Qybuse
Qybuse
Reps: 118
So many people have the political beliefs they do simply because of their family or culture. They align themselves with the side that is comfortable to them without paying much attention to the issues at hand. I think it would be great for students to hear the various stances on the issues first to determine what political side they align with. The "voting" part is the absolute last piece to the puzzle--understanding the issues is much more important.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 12:23 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 13
Posted December 5, 2012 4:49 pm

John Buxton
John Buxton
Reps: 114
Knowing that one candidate was white and the other was black, I would have made "race avoidance' a rule from the get go. I would also make each student meet with me about their topic. In the meeting, they would be required to present an outline of their essay. Students would also receive a grade from their participation in the discussion. Bringing up race inappropriately would result in a failing grade.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102
I think that discussing the guidelines for the discussions with students before hand is important. They must understand that race is not something that can be brought up in any situation and they must have ample evidence to support their contribution of ideas to the discussion.
  Posted on: September 27, 2013 7:28 pm

TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
Presenting guidelines for discussions will help to guide students in the direction of constructive dialogue. Many of the topics presented for the lesson such as affirmative action and foreign policy can be opportunities for students to introduce racial issues, however there are more components to these topics. Since the objective of the lesson was to teach students about democratic education and the political process, and not a diatribe on race relations, a good idea would have been for the teacher to focus on the components of the issues that did not focus heavily on race issues.
  Posted on: October 3, 2013 9:36 pm

ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
I agree with you! I would have made a point of discussing the guidelines for the discussion ahead of time. I would have made it a point that some students may disagree and some student may agree but we are one class and we will discuss this together.
  Posted on: September 30, 2015 1:36 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 14
Posted December 5, 2012 7:40 pm

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams
Reps: 118
I think it would be nice to believe that race could be avoided in this topic, but that is not the case. Even mature adults had trouble discussing political issues recently without discussing race. I think that the guidelines should have included only facts. Even if race is involved if it is a fact then it can be discussed. However, students should be briefed that no comment should be offensive or an opinion. It is important to make sure the students know to use their own thoughts not their parents or guardians.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
I essentially said the same thing. I think that it is very important to make sure there is some form of rubric or guideline for the paper and the presentation so that the students can concentrate on the facts of each issue. At this point they will be able to make an informed decision on each issue. If race does happen to be brought up, I believe that it the class should be reminded that even though this is a very important topic that will be discussed, it is not a part of the discussion today.
  Posted on: October 1, 2013 2:00 pm

upyNuX
upyNuX
Reps: 100
You make a great point about having students figure out what THEY think instead of just repeating what they think their parents would feel. And asking them not to use opinion but to stick strictly to facts is a great idea. It will likely take a lot of work on the part of the teacher to enforce this, but it will be worth it.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 3:22 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 15
Posted December 7, 2012 7:50 pm

Art Buff
Art Buff
Reps: 111
Well quite often politics a race go hand in hand. Politicians target certain demographics and ethnicities during election years and political parties have been always seemed to be more beneficial towards one group than the other. As a social studies teacher you could think of some cultural geography. Students (white and black) may not be out right racist but ethnocentric. But cultural relativity could be useful here. Cultural relativity is where one must step back and take an outside look at another groups culture. Instead of comparing and judging one group based on your culture/values/heritage, you try to understand the "why?" that shapes the other group. Also an important thing to realize is that your students picked a side, gathered their information for presentation and stood by their opinion. It is completely normal for things to get out of hand. Some will agree, some will disagree and some will be utterly offended. Keeping things within reason is the key when letting young people debate politics. When anything gets too out of hand then the discussion is scrubbed from conversation and cannot be brought up again. Blind shouting and profanity cannot be tolerated either. If a student gets too heated in a debate dismiss them outside and allow them to calm down and digress. Move on to the next topic of debate and so on and so forth.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
Well said! I certainly appreciated and agree with your idea of cultural relativity. We need to challenge our students to step outside of their cultural frame of reference and consider the perspective of others. Also, while I agree that debates are wonderful teaching tools for our students, it is important that we establish clear guidelines and expectations to govern our students behavior during classroom discussions. Well done!
  Posted on: October 4, 2013 4:43 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 16
Posted December 7, 2012 11:35 pm

areli saucedo
areli saucedo
Reps: 119
First of all, you should not have to change your way of teaching. Obviously these students have been watching too much television and or have been hearing their parents talk about the race issue. Children don't learn by themselves, they see the society and thus they respond. In this case, if I were you , I would educate the students about race, it is necessary that these children be informed about the variety of cultures that exist in the world. Then I would lecture them about the "ignorance" that exist via media about the race issue concerning the election. I would take a stand against it and give evidence of why race should not be a concept of analyzation.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I agree with you. I think it is important to teach our students how to respect one another and not follow the "crowd" when it comes to certain issues. Teachers need to help students realize that not everyone thinks exactly alike, and that is perfectly fine. If we did all think the same this sure would be a boring world we live in.
  Posted on: October 3, 2013 12:48 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 17
Posted October 1, 2013 11:04 am

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
I do not think that there is anything wrong with the assignments you are giving your students in this class. I love the way that you are teaching your students about current events and how they affect each and every person. It seems that this class would have the potential to generate many spirited debates about social issues in America today. I think that what you are forcing these students to do is to think critically and to begin forming their own personal opinions on current issues that are often hard to talk about. I definitely would have provided these students with guidelines and a rubric for this presentation. I would ensure that they would avoid making this activity a race war within the classroom. I would urge them to focus on the facts and that the strongest debates are backed up by statistics and the truth. During the presentations, there is bound to be one student who is going to attempt to make this a race war. This assignment needs to be an activity where the students remained focused on abortion, healthcare, foreign policy, affirmative action, and not race. I would state and remind students that this activity is not going to be a race war or the roles that certain races play on these issues. This way students are able to feel comfortable sharing their opinion about these issues without being called a racist.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
I agree, setting clear guidelines and expectations before hand is key to successful classroom discussions. In doing so, students will remain focused on the facts (as you have stated) and not be swayed by their emotions. Nonetheless, emotions will be factor, and when it comes up, it is important that the teacher is attentive and ready to disarm students that may be high-jacked by their emotions.
  Posted on: October 4, 2013 4:23 pm

aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I agree that the assignment sounds very beneficial however there should be rubrics and guidelines set for the assignment. Students should understand that facts should be debated not their personal views on race. I think that a sense of understanding for other’s opinions and beliefs should be established before the students begin sharing so that others are not negatively influenced to change their thoughts or beliefs based on the reactions of their classmates.
  Posted on: September 29, 2014 11:58 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 18
Posted September 26, 2013 1:47 pm

udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
It sounds as though it is time for your class to have a complicated conversation. I would gather all of their essays and list each student and what position they took. Then, throughout the class, I would have series of debates in which students would have to defend positions OPPOSITE of what they wrote about in their persuasive essays. This activity would force them out of their comfort zone and give them another perspective on the issues.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
I think that it is time to have that conversation with them as well. I think that compiling a list of each students views on each topic could be a very useful tool in this activity. This could show the students all of the possible solutions and ideas that their class had to offer in their essays. Then they could be given the opportunity to see how other people view healthcare, social security, and foreign policy. This will show the students the many different opinions that are prevalent in their classrooms. They could then be told that it gets much more diverse when we think of these issues as they relate to our school, city, and national population. We need to ensure that these students understand that everyone has the right to be heard and understood. It is vital that the students understand the need to accept people even though their thoughts on certain topics may not be the same as their own. Great Post.
  Posted on: October 1, 2013 1:57 pm

udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
You are correct, everybody has a right to be heard. I think students should be taught that not everybody has the same opinion as they do. It is okay to disagree with someone without being disagreeable. Students (and adults) need to understand that just because someone disagrees with you, it is not the end of the world. Find something you have common ground on and work from there.
  Posted on: October 3, 2013 12:00 pm

yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
I like your suggestions to have a class debate in which students have to discuss their issue defending the opposite point of view than they had in their paper. In my response I mentioned that if they’re writing a persuasive essay, they should be addressing a counterclaim anyways, so this would prepare them to come to class and defend the opposite point of view. It’s always a good thing to spend some time in someone else’s shoes, and this would help them respect other points of view when they’re the ones having to defend it.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 1:53 pm

aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I like your idea of encouraging the students to defend the opposition position then what they originally stated. I think the students would greatly benefit from thinking outside their comfort zone and trying to understand the opposition position. Students should definitely understand to value other’s opinions even when they do not necessarily agree with their views.
  Posted on: September 29, 2014 11:54 pm

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
I like your idea. I would add a discussion in their prior to this. This activity would allow the students to look at the topic from another perspective. This is offer how I talk with my young kiddies. Whatever may be happening, I always as them how they thought the other person felt or if they had done something to them.


  Posted on: September 30, 2014 9:00 pm

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
I think is would be a good idea to have students try to see things from another persons perspective and be required to defend it. This may muster up feelings or emotions about the topic that they hadn't thought of before.
  Posted on: October 4, 2014 7:39 pm

Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I completely agree with having students go back to their topic and view it from the other side. It would be a good activity to push students beyond their comfort zones while helping them to see important issues from a different perspective.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 1:21 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 19
Posted September 27, 2013 7:23 pm

Emily West
Emily West
Reps: 102
I think that sometimes when students are faced with difficult issues such as abortion, healthcare, affirmative action, and foreign policy they can become overwhelmed. These are very complex issues and it is easy to make them more race related than to discuss the deeper meanings of each topic. I think the activities are great and you should not change them, but maybe change the guidelines for discussion. Instruct the students to think about specific background evidence to support their opinions and make sure that they are not acting out of emotion. Students have a hard time containing their emotions and with practice I think they will learn to focus on the deeper meanings of the issues.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
I did not think of the idea that students can easily change the focus of a discussion to something off topic. The issues presented for the discussion are not necessarily linked to race. However, these topics may be too complex for so some students to understand. Choosing less complicated topics for discussion might keep the students attention on the assigned topic without the students turning the focus on other issues.
  Posted on: October 2, 2013 9:57 pm

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
I like that you would not change the activities, but would offer better guidelines to keep students on track. I also think it is a good idea to have students support their opinions to prevent them from lashing out due to emotion.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 10:39 am

aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
I agree that the content of the assignment should not be changed, but clear guidelines need to be established. This may even be a good time to talk about race in politics. Politicians often use race as a way of breaking down possible votes and will tailor certain topics toward certain groups of people as a way of securing their vote. This may be a good opportunity to help open the eyes of students as they enter the world voting, political ads, and propaganda.
  Posted on: September 30, 2014 6:41 pm

Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I like that you suggest having students support their arguments with facts in an attempt to keep strong emotions out of the discussion. I think it would also be important to encourage students to take time to think about what they would like to say to make sure that they are respectful of other students and are not just going off of their emotions.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 1:24 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 20
Posted September 28, 2013 8:03 pm

A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
Sadly, I would just suggest taking the easy way out on this one. Politics can be a very touchy subject even for young adults. I would suggest to not have the open floor conversations/debates. Because most of the time no one is going to sway on their political views unless they experience something personal that may change their mind. I do not think the communication is a bad thing if the class can behave civilly and discuss their opinions then that is wonderful. But for this exact scenario if you were able to turn back the clock I would just avoid the discussion altogether. Maybe once the papers were turned in you could get an idea of the majority of the class and talk about differences. Maybe a teacher led discussion would be less unruly?
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I disagree with your solution. I think students need to be aware of the opinions of their peers. If these things are not discussed in a teacher led type discussion, then they are going to have a hard time understanding why someone believes what they believe. They should be able to share their thoughts, concerns, etc. in an open classroom discussion IN A CIVIL MANNER. I know the teacher said things were not civil. I think he should attempt to do it again, and try to develop a way to have more control. I suggested a rubric. Students could also read each others papers, and share their opinions via sticky notes.
  Posted on: September 29, 2013 9:13 pm

Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I disagree with your solution. I think students need to be aware of the opinions of their peers. If these things are not discussed in a teacher led type discussion, then they are going to have a hard time understanding why someone believes what they believe. They should be able to share their thoughts, concerns, etc. in an open classroom discussion IN A CIVIL MANNER. I know the teacher said things were not civil. I think he should attempt to do it again, and try to develop a way to have more control. I suggested a rubric. Students could also read each others papers, and share their opinions via sticky notes.
  Posted on: September 29, 2013 9:13 pm

udydyV
udydyV
Reps: 108
I, for one, enjoy a highly spirited debate. To deny students the ability to openly discuss their thoughts and ideas is to stifle their learning. In schools, we tend to like order. We like for students to be quiet and orderly. But is this how students learn? I would rather students, especially high school students share their ideas in a spirited debate. However, to really challenge them, I would have them defend a position they did nor originally support. This affords them the opportunity to see things from both perspectives.
  Posted on: October 2, 2013 8:50 pm

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I actually disagree with your statement and think that students should express their opinions in a civil manner in the classroom. The teacher can be the mediator between the conversations. I do like the idea of the students having to claim a side to the sitaution and make a statment to it. Having the students debate on a side of a toic they wouldn't normal side with will give the student time to build an arguement against it. Then, the entire class can choose which side they are on based on hearing both sides of an arguement. For example, should students have to wear an uniform to school. Two students could choose a side, at random, then support their case. This would take the hard feelings out of a debate and just relate it to current events.
  Posted on: September 23, 2015 7:33 pm

Chelsea Abbott
Chelsea Abbott
Reps: 112
I actually disagree with your statement and think that students should express their opinions in a civil manner in the classroom. The teacher can be the mediator between the conversations. I do like the idea of the students having to claim a side to the situation and make a statement to it. Having the students debate on a side of a topic they wouldn't normal side with will give the student time to build an argument against it. Then, the entire class can choose which side they are on based on hearing both sides of an argument. For example, should students have to wear an uniform to school. Two students could choose a side, at random, then support their case. This would take the hard feelings out of a debate and just relate it to current events.
  Posted on: September 23, 2015 7:33 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 21
Posted September 29, 2013 8:09 pm

Tracy C
Tracy C
Reps: 104
First, what the teacher is experiencing is quite normal in that the students are expressing their views on each issue from their own personal cultural frame of reference; therefore they will express and defend their positions with emotions. Second, the teacher activities and goals/objectives for the lessons are not the problem. The underlying issue is about classroom management. Here is what I mean. Prior to engaging students in discussions and presentation of work, the teacher should have engage the class in the creation of rules and consequences (they would all agree to defend and uphold) to govern class discussions/debates and peer reviews/feedback. This would promote civility and fairness in the classroom; the teacher can serve as the facilitator/manager to pose questions to stimulate discussions whiles the students manage their behaviors using the rules and expectations they helped to create.

Furthermore, when the issue of race does come up in the class discussions, it is important that the teacher is very attentive and facilitates the class discussions with thought provoking questions that would help students to stay focus on the issue and not make it a "black" or "white" issue.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I agree that keeping the discussion on course and not allowing the discussion to go into a matter of race is a great solution. Although it is a touchy subject, students need to see that it is ok to have different opinions and perspectives on things!
  Posted on: September 29, 2013 9:11 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 22
Posted September 29, 2013 8:22 pm

Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
Alter the assignment so that race is not allowed to be a part of the essay. This forces the students to think critically and focus their attention on something other than race. Political awareness is important and students should be able to learn about it and practice it without the environment becoming hostile. Once they are more mature, and able to discuss race without becoming sensitive and argumentative, then you can allow racial matters to be discussed in your classroom.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
Altering the assignment to eliminate race from the discussion is certainly a good option. However, even with the best intentions, the tables can still turn in that direction. Another option might be to have the students write their feelings regarding race on paper instead of a "heated" discussion. This will allow the students to express their feelings and opinions without losing the focus on the intended topics of the assignment.
  Posted on: October 2, 2013 10:05 pm

TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
You make a valid point about it being important to learn about political awareness without becoming hostile. Students need to be able to discuss controversial topics with civility so that they can express their viewpoints and likewise so the opinions of others can be expressed as well in a manner that is conducive to learning.
  Posted on: October 3, 2013 9:54 pm

zuPeQy
zuPeQy
Reps: 99
Taking race out of the assignment is a good idea. It makes it to where the students are forced to think about things without a color lens covering their eyes. When the group discussion comes up the teacher can correct the students every time race gets brought up and remind them that is not what the discussion is about.
  Posted on: September 23, 2014 1:35 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 23
Posted September 29, 2013 9:07 pm

Stormye Brantley
Stormye Brantley
Reps: 121
I would create a well-defined rubric for both the persuasive essay and discussion that states racial comments, either on paper or in the discussion will result in a lower grade. Discussions of race should not be tolerated. I would remind the students that the discussions were not civil. I would want to assign a similar essay later on, also not allowing race to be a part of the essay or discussion. I would attempt to teach the students how to discuss/disagree/agree in a civil manner. I would remind students that they are going to be of voting age soon, and they need to learn how to vote based on the issues, not the race of the candidate.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I think this is a great idea! I think as the teacher some guidelines need to be set before the discussions begin. If things get out of control and racial slurs or comments are made there will be consequences. They need to learn to look at the facts, not at skin color.
  Posted on: September 30, 2013 12:04 pm

jaMyDu
jaMyDu
Reps: 119
That is essentially what I said. I believe that the students should be forced to focus on the issues and let that be the basis for making their decision relating issues such as foreign policy, abortion, healthcare, etc. Race is one thing that can cloud your judgement and cause you to not see the issues for what they really are. Many times throughout history we have acted on our emotions to vote a certain way did not solve the problem. These students should be taught to see the facts for what they are. This assignment should have a rubric and ensure that students are not making any racial slurs or comments that may cause conflict within the classroom. Great post!
  Posted on: October 1, 2013 11:11 am

yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
Having a well-defined rubric is essential. However, I don’t think it is necessary to have absolutely no discussion of race during the class discussion, because race is definitely something that affects our students as well as the issues the presidential nominees are debating. I think you just need to introduce the discussion with a lesson about the rules of a debate and how it is important to be respectful of someone else’s opinions. You could also show famous people the students are familiar with that support both sides of each debate, to point out that people of all races share the same beliefs.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 1:54 pm

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
I certainly agree that being precise in the assignment requirements is important. Well outlined consequences can help to control the discussion and gear it toward a respectful debate rather than a heated argument.
  Posted on: October 3, 2014 1:11 am

Edward Kim
Edward Kim
Reps: 106
Although it is important to teach students how to argue civilly, I am not sure that eliminating race entirely would be a good idea because it is so controversial. If people cannot learn how to discuss race civilly then we cannot hope for race relations to ever improve. School is a relatively safe environment as a teacher who can be a gatekeeper and keep the conversation on track. Although it is important to keep kids safe, students have to learn how to have the difficult talk correctly if we ever want to see change occur in our society. Just because we do not talk about something does not mean that it will go away.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 10:31 pm

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson
Reps: 98
While I believe that race should be limited, I do not think that race should be completely cut out. Race was a very important factor in the most recent election and should not be cut out completely.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 1:57 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 24
Posted October 1, 2013 7:44 pm

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
I do not believe you should change the activity. Students of this age tend to make most topics personal. They have a tendency to take any topic presented to them and make it about themselves. Many students find a way to relate just about anything to race. As you walk the halls of any high school you can here students referring to the "black girl" or the "white kid" in their normal conversations with each other. Discussing an academic topic is no different. In order to keep order in the classroom during this activity, it may be helpful if you limit the topic choices and set more specific parameters for the assignment. Holding discussion prior to the activity stating your expectations for the assignment may eliminate some of the discussions that caused the assignment to get out of hand. It is important to allow your students to express their voice and opinions. It is these qualities that will allow these students to express their voices and opinions as adults.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

A Battles
A Battles
Reps: 115
I think setting the parameters of the discussion before starting would be very beneficial. If it starts to get out of hand it needs to be controlled quickly and remind them of the expectations of the discussion.
  Posted on: October 2, 2013 7:27 pm

Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
Both of these comments are extremely helpful. As the teacher, you know the personalities of your students and you can create purposeful groups as a result to eliminate racial issues. Furthermore, you need to be sure you set very clear and precise expectations for your students and even explain to them the repercussions that stemmed the last time you gave this assignment. Students need to hear not only what to do, but also what not to do to know the level at which they are expected to achieve.
  Posted on: October 4, 2013 4:37 pm

HyraLe
HyraLe
Reps: 73
Even though I may alter the lesson a little to make it more specific than broad, I can also see what you are saying about defining the parameters of it. This will be more helpful and keep the students on track which will help them get more out of doing an essay on this lesson.
  Posted on: October 27, 2014 6:44 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 25
Posted October 1, 2013 7:44 pm

BeWuXe
BeWuXe
Reps: 117
I do not believe you should change the activity. Students of this age tend to make most topics personal. They have a tendency to take any topic presented to them and make it about themselves. Many students find a way to relate just about anything to race. As you walk the halls of any high school you can here students referring to the "black girl" or the "white kid" in their normal conversations with each other. Discussing an academic topic is no different. In order to keep order in the classroom during this activity, it may be helpful if you limit the topic choices and set more specific parameters for the assignment. Holding discussion prior to the activity stating your expectations for the assignment may eliminate some of the discussions that caused the assignment to get out of hand. It is important to allow your students to express their voice and opinions. It is these qualities that will allow these students to express their voices and opinions as adults.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

upyNuX
upyNuX
Reps: 100
I like the idea of limiting the topic choices. Some topics you know are going to be very personal for some students and it will be very difficult for them to separate themselves for what is being said and they will take it as a personal attack even if that is not what is intended.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 3:24 pm

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson
Reps: 98
I agree that limiting the topics and keeping things strictly political would be very beneficial to students as well as keep the classroom as a neutral zone.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 1:52 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 26
Posted October 3, 2013 12:28 pm

Jessica Briley
Jessica Briley
Reps: 109
I have tried to post this before, but I think that the teacher could possibly have the students choose a side to a debate and then require them to do research on the other side along with their thoughts and current knowledge on the side they chose. This will help the students learn that they need to get all the facts and knowledge so they can make a well-informed decision when it comes to their ideas. I think the teacher should set rules and guidelines for the debate and not allow the students to make racial comments. These kind of comments should not be allowed out of respect for others.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
I really like the idea of having students debate, especially if students are grouped both black and white students together on a side. This would have students looking at issues other than race.
  Posted on: September 25, 2014 12:26 pm

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
Requiring the students to research the opposing views of the positions will help students develop a different perspective than the personal one they are writing about in the essay. I agree with you that this will help students see diverse ways of addressing these issues. Students have to work outside their comfort zone to make valuable connections and changes to the way of thinking. I appreciate your solution to the situation and it is one that would be valuable to the educational process of democracy.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 6:01 pm

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
Your idea of having the students research opposing ideas is brilliant! I like the idea of having the students debate and discuss both sides of the topic. The hope would be to enlighten all students to finding value in both opinions or sides of the discussion, which is a life skill that will be needed going forward!
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 8:43 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 27
Posted October 3, 2013 9:37 pm

TuVuze
TuVuze
Reps: 99
It is good that your students were able to vocalize their opinions. However, you should inform your students that the discourse of the classroom requires respectful dialogue. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions, yet students must behave with civility. As the teacher, it is often helpful to be the moderator of the discussion so that students do not deviate too far off course from the intended objective. Instead of allowing the racial discussions to continue, you could have prompted the students by asking a question such as, “How do you think the issues of abortion, healthcare, affirmative action, foreign policy, etc., will affect the outcome of the presidential election?” I do not think you should change your activities because of the debates that ensued. The next time there is an assignment of this nature, students should be reminded of the behaviors and dialogues that are appropriate within the classroom setting.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
I like you ideas of having the teacher be a moderator in order to keep the discussion on track. Also, you had some great ideas as far as questions go to present to the students to keep them focused on the topic at hand.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 10:37 am

LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
As a teacher it may be easy to feel like you've lost control of your classroom with such a politically and racially charged activity taking place. Like you mentioned, prompts should be given to redirect the dialogue back to the original intent of the activity. Respecting others viewpoints is a must throughout life and this class activity should be a learning lesson to students that others will have differing viewpoints and it is important to maintain composure when hearing someone else out.
  Posted on: October 2, 2014 1:18 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 28
Posted October 4, 2013 4:35 pm

Meredith Bryant
Meredith Bryant
Reps: 106
Unfortunately, so much of our presidential elections (or at least those that have occurred the most recently with President Obama) are geared towards racial awareness. What frustrates me so much about politics is that it is not about the politics at all, but rather the color of their skin and who they ultimately represent. If I were you, I would have first discussed the two candidates running in the race and tried to take out all divisions or barriers that might interfere--whether it be race, gender, wealth, etc. Students need to be able to decipher between these and determine the actual qualities. Assess your students on a rubric (even with your discussion) that highlights this importance so that when it does get out of hand, refer them back to the rubric and address the root of the issue.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
Last year, I helped with the presidential elections in an 8th grade class. They did a 5-day unit on the Presidential election. I live in South Ga, so the presidential elections opinions were based primary on racism. I just listened to the kids recited the information they learned from their parents about the presidential candidates.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 10:35 pm

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
I like your suggestion of first starting by discussing the candidates themselves. I think this would help students get over the race issue.
  Posted on: September 25, 2014 12:25 pm

ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
I totally agree with your solution. Often, we allow the media to help us make decisions on the candidates and, unfortunately, race is an important issue for the media. It is an easy way to grab the attention of viewers and they use this to keep viewers attention. I think it is important to teach students to ignore the insignificant information they are given and focus on the issues that will truly affect them as citizens of the United States.
  Posted on: September 26, 2015 3:25 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 29
Posted October 5, 2013 5:07 pm

yZaveh
yZaveh
Reps: 109
Your intentions were good, and I think this is definitely an activity you can use in the future as long as your structure it a little differently. Before assigning the writing assignment, have a lesson that gives them some background knowledge into debates. Explain how the presidential debates are structured, what issues will be talked about, and the rules the participants are required to follow. Stress that one of these rules is being respectful of someone else’s opinions instead of responding in insulting ways. Explain that this is expected in any arena where debate occurs, including your classroom. Maybe have the students brainstorm a list of rules they would have for a debate, because ownership makes rules more valuable for students. Since their assignment is a persuasive (or argument) writing, one of the requirements should be that they acknowledge not only their claim, but the counterclaim, or the opposite side. What’s good about having them acknowledge the counterclaim is that they have to put themselves in the opposition’s shoes and think about what evidence they would use to support their side. By the time they get to share their writing in class, they are already prepared to see their issue from another perspective.

As far as your current class and their racial arguments, perhaps have them research whites that have fought for black issues and blacks that have fought for white issues. Show them that there are people of every race and culture on both sides of our bipartisan democracy and that it is important to be aware of this.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Jordyn Nail
Jordyn Nail
Reps: 108
Your idea about having students prepare for or research a counter claim was a great one. This skill is important for 2 reasons: 1) students will be less likely to be surprised by a counter arguments and will be more prepared for defend their argument 2) being able to see multiple points of view is a key critical thinking skill.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 6:06 pm

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
I agree. Students need to understand multiple view points about political issues. National elections require individuals to think about what is best for themselves as well as what is best for the nation as a whole. Therefore it is essential that students learn how to analyze multiple view points to determine what they feel the best course for the nation should be. They will then become adult voters who will be able to use their skills to guide the nation in the future.
  Posted on: September 25, 2014 4:21 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 30
Posted October 6, 2013 10:35 am

Hope Crosby
Hope Crosby
Reps: 122
I do not feel that you should change your assignment; it is a great assignment in my eyes. I cannot answer why every position turned into a racial debate. I feel that if you explained to you class how everyone has a right to his/her own opinion and regardless of personal beliefs, honoring someone else’s opinion(s) is of extreme importance. Perhaps next time set some guidelines for the sharing of the essays to prevent this from happening again.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
This is a great way to look at it. I agree completely with setting the standards at the beginning for how students should behave towards one another and respect each others opinions.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 10:19 pm

Kayla Mullins
Kayla Mullins
Reps: 89
I also agree that the assignment is a great way to introduce the issues. I also do not know why the topics would turn into racial debates. This should be addressed with the studnets and the teacher should come into play when the topic becomes off track.
-Kayla Mullins
  Posted on: September 28, 2014 10:59 pm

Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109
I do feel like the assignment is very beneficial. With guidelines the students with know what is expected of them and they can stay on topic with the discussion. Once these become part of the routines and procedures students wont have problems getting off topic.
  Posted on: September 25, 2015 12:03 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 31
Posted October 6, 2013 3:19 pm

upyNuX
upyNuX
Reps: 100
First, I would have a list of rules to help ensure orderliness during the debate. Include in these rules that students need to be polite and respectful of others. Also include a protocol for taking turns so that students are not talking over each other or interrupting each other. It may also be good to have students take the time to help create the rules that will be used.

Then I would grade students on their participation in the debate. I would create a rubric to use that includes following the rules so that there are consequences for them.

However, I do not think I would restrict them from mentioning race as some other posts have suggested. I think asking them to suppress their thoughts and views on race is not going to be very productive. Instead I would challenge them to explain why they feel the way they do and try to get them to understand why someone else might feel differently. Maybe even have students try to debate the OPPOSITE of what they really feel and believe so that they are taking time to consider why others might feel differently.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
I like your idea of having the students debate oppositely how they feel. That would be a good way to incorporate lots of different things to have students view what others feel.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 10:20 pm

BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
Yes, establishing the rules and expectations during the debate is essential. This is the foundation to a positive debate.
  Posted on: October 6, 2013 10:37 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 32
Posted October 6, 2013 9:15 pm

yraGaD
yraGaD
Reps: 28
The activity was really a good one. Improvements should probably done in the preparation for the discussions. It seems as if the students were not prepared that there would be opposition to their position on the issues. Before doing this activity it may be a good idea to either allow students to view a debate or if possible go observe an actual event. Having a clear set of guidelines for the students is needed. They should be instructed that the discussions should remain respectful at all times. I think it would be unrealistic to think that students will not bring race into their their stance on some of the issues so as the teacher you must be prepared to have those tough discussions.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Kayla Mullins
Kayla Mullins
Reps: 89
I also agree that there should be more preparation of the discussion. Students need to understand that there are various opinions. They also need to know that the purpose of the discussion is not to agree with someone but to express your own ideas and learn the opinion of others.
-Kayla Mullins
  Posted on: September 28, 2014 10:56 pm

Edward Kim
Edward Kim
Reps: 106
It is important for students to be able to learn how to discuss things in a civil manner. I believe that a lot of problems today come from an inability for people to be open to both sides and talk without yelling at each other. Because our students are all teenagers or younger, it is important to set clear guidelines in the beginning. Once you feel like you know your students better and that they have a better understanding of how a class debate should occur, then you can relax on some of your restrictions. But to completely eliminate the assignment I think would not be right and would take away from a valuable teaching moment.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 10:36 pm

Laura Doolittle
Laura Doolittle
Reps: 109
I like your idea of letting students view a debate to see the professionalism that has to be conducted. Students do not come to us knowing how to debate in a civil manner. It has to be modeled so they will know what to expect.
  Posted on: September 30, 2015 12:01 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 33
Posted October 6, 2013 10:18 pm

yJaGus
yJaGus
Reps: 106
I like how your teaching. I had a college professor teach the same way. I think it is important for you to tell the students that they need to try to stay on topic as much as possible and look passed anything they assume is racist. Sometimes we take something the wrong way and it was never intended to be that way. As long as you make it clear to be respectful to each other and nip it when it starts you should be just fine teaching the way you are.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 34
Posted October 6, 2013 10:27 pm

BazuTy
BazuTy
Reps: 116
The activities are great ideas, but maybe assigning the individuals to either a liberal or conservative perspective may be needed. The first thing when addressing the issues of expressing our opinions about different topics concerning our society, I would acknowledge there is ZERO tolerance for racism, prejudice or inappropriate language. Students that refuse to follow the directions of the activities would be asked to leave the classroom, which will result in a zero on the assignment
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 35
Posted September 23, 2014 1:30 am

zuPeQy
zuPeQy
Reps: 99
This is a really tough situation to be in. As a teacher you want the students to get the most out of the lesson and to learn about themselves and where they stand but if it is constantly turning into a race debate then they are missing the point. I think it would be wise to have them write their paper and then you should make comments on their paper as opposed to having them have a class discussion. I would also have an assignment where the students pair up with a student of a different race and interview each other. The questions they ask each other can be set up to where they get a good idea of how a student of a different race feels. The students need to learn how to see different sides.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
You make a good suggestion in having the teacher collect and review the paper by them-self. The current class-wide discussion has lost its original intent and must be stopped. A new approach such as the pairing interview is a good way to have view points shared on a more personable and hopefully peaceful level. Both members of the interview have some learning to do on the perspectives held by the other member and each perspective is of equal value. The class should learn that political debates are convoluted and it is important to remain politically aware. It is also not okay to push one's perspectives and belief's onto another. As a democratic country we all have freedom of speech.
  Posted on: October 2, 2014 1:13 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 36
Posted September 24, 2014 1:45 pm

aHeRaL
aHeRaL
Reps: 112
You do not need to change the idea or plan of your lesson, possibly just the implementation of your lesson. Your lesson idea is a good one, unfortunately, it sounds like your students are a bit immature in their thinking and the expression of their ideas. Based on the topics you chose, with the exception of affirmative action, I am not sure how the topic of race would come up. The only thing I would suggest is to have a disclaimer conversation at the before discussion begins about having mature and intellectual discussions, creating dialogue and not arguing. No derogatory remarks will be tolerated. Disagreement is allowed and encouraged, but we need to disagree with tact. If students are not able to handle these guidelines, then simply tell them you will not have these types of class activities until they are able to prove they are mature enough to handle them. Continue with the positional papers, just do not allow class discussion. Even with some of the racial angst in your class, it may be a good opportunity to discuss with students why some conversations become so racially charged. Is it really about race, or do your past experiences cause you do to see the world in different ways? In what ways could race shape past experiences? Is race the only thing that shapes past experiences? Maybe something productive could come out of the conversation. Again, it mostly depends on the maturity of your students and creating clear and firm guidelines for your class.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 37
Posted September 25, 2014 4:17 pm

Myzusy
Myzusy
Reps: 113
The assignment created by the teacher is a wonderful way for students to explore and learn about the political process. I recommend that the teacher create rubrics for the persuasive writing assignment and the class discussion. The teacher should introduce the assignment by explaining that politics is a heated topic in which many people have strong feelings. To ensure that all students feel comfortable in sharing their views ground rules for the discussion/debate should be laid out in advance. The teacher should provide examples of appropriate and inappropriate behavior during the discussion. Using the rubric penalties for inappropriate conduct would be clearly identified. The teacher should go on to explain that each person has a right to their views. Students should come to the debate with prepared supporting evidence of those views to share. The debate is not a personal attack on an individual or cultural group represented in the classroom. It is a discussion to help students understand the views, feelings and opinions of each other. Doing so would create an environment of respectful tolerance. By teaching children how to respectfully, openly discuss political and racial topics the students will be better prepared for the voting process as adults.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 38
Posted September 28, 2014 10:52 pm

Kayla Mullins
Kayla Mullins
Reps: 89
It is crazy to think that all of the topic discussions turned into disagreements about race. This is a hard issue to overcome. Many students hear the opinions of their parents and peers and do not really form their own thoughts. I think you should continue to present the lesson in the way you do now. Having students give reports on real issues allow them to understand more on what our society faces. With that said it is important to monitor the discussion and end it when it becomes heated. It is also important to provide knowledge from a teachers perspective. This is a way to teach students the importance of a debate but keeping it civilized.
-Kayla Mullins
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 39
Posted September 29, 2014 1:26 am

aheduX
aheduX
Reps: 112
In my opinion, I think that you should keep your activity with a few changes. Students need to be able to express their thinking. Maybe you could set some guidelines to increase a more positive and respective response to their classmates. They could talk about why they feel the way they do about certain topics. This could help students become more aware of how others feel and what they need to do to communicate positively with each other.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 40
Posted September 30, 2014 12:07 am

aQazuV
aQazuV
Reps: 105
I think it is great that you are establishing political awareness in your students at this age. I think the youth of America is too wrapped up in social entertainment news rather than what is happening around them in their government and society. I think the assignment is a great idea and has the potential to be very beneficial in the learning environment. However, I do believe that you need to set some guidelines for the assignment. Students should understand that facts should be presented in their arguments and the topic of race should not be discussed. I think that the students at this age are very much influenced by peers and that is why it quickly turned into "racial awareness." In the future, explain to the students the importance of respecting other's opinions even when you do not necessary agree with them. Have students list pros and cons to both sides of their topic before choosing a side. Students may then be more open to other viewpoints on the issue.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 41
Posted October 2, 2014 1:05 am

LeHyZa
LeHyZa
Reps: 107
The discussion of politics usually leads to a convoluted and sometimes heated debate. In essence one party and its supporters will win and the other will lose. Each party has firm beliefs and has trouble seeing the other's point of view. The United States has a long history of being divided both politically and racially. It is often thought by many that the republican party is representative of the wealthy and mainly white people of this country. This is a tough activity to assign at the high school level. I feel this is the age where young adults begin to find what they believe in and stand for and this may be the reason the simple goal of political awareness went in the wrong direction. I would suggest telling the class that everyone is entitled to their political belief's and that is the beauty of being an American. We are all able to stand for what we believe in within reason and no one should try to enforce their belief's on another. It is important to be knowledgable in political debates such as abortion, healthcare, affirmative action, and foreign policy so that they can make informed decisions and be politically aware.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 42
Posted October 3, 2014 1:09 am

April Rozier
April Rozier
Reps: 110
I suggest requiring the students to watch the debates and review articles you provide as a group. By doing this, you may prevent the students from watching it with their parents and automatically accepting the parents' views as their own. With our nation having an African American president, I believe it will be difficult to avoid race issues being included with politics at this time in history. Everyone has their opinion of the president and the US government but I would recommend you trying to help your students develop a political awareness that didn't involve merely looking at the color of someone's skin.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
I love the idea of making it a group discussion instead of a whole group discussion. This allows for students to still participate in discussion, but it may help eliminate some of the arguments of race. Great idea!
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 12:10 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 43
Posted October 4, 2014 7:11 pm

yXeBeX
yXeBeX
Reps: 114
I think the lesson must continue to be taught because it is important that students learn how to take a stance on the issues they feel strongly about. However, the fact that the conversations and debates always turn into a racial issue is something that certainly needs to be dealt with. I think that as a teacher, it is our job to monitor and manage the direction of the conversation so the real issue stays as the focus. When students start to veer in the direction of racial discrimination, the teacher must point out the true focus of the conversation and bring it back to the forefront. We cannot simply discontinue these lessons because they are uncomfortable. Instead, students need to learn how to disagree while at the same time, be focus on the issue and respectful to those they disagree with.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
Great idea...as soon as the topic begins to turn towards racial issues instead of the real issue at hand, correct it right away and bring the discussion back to the original topic.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 12:09 am

HyraLe
HyraLe
Reps: 73
I agree, as I said the same thing as to monitoring the classroom. By talking about the student expectations beforehand and letting them know they have to listen to one another and also respect each other's opinion will eliminate them not acting "civil" towards one another. Once the rules are established, the lesson can go on.
  Posted on: October 27, 2014 6:39 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 44
Posted October 5, 2014 1:17 am

Qureby
Qureby
Reps: 102
I don't think that you should change the assignment. The way the students were divided on the issues discussed is often how adults in society are divided so it was a realistic experience for the students. I think it might be worthwhile to have small group discussions instead of whole group discussions so that each student's voice is heard individually and they may not feel as much pressure to divide themselves along racial lines. It might also be a good idea to have students revisit their persuasive writing assignment from the opposite view they initially stated.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 45
Posted October 5, 2014 5:45 pm

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
I applaud you for exercising a classroom that promotes democracy discussions. I think it is so important for teachers to guide students in learning about the world around them. Children need to be aware of issues that affect local, national, and international perspectives. I had a social studies teacher in high school that encouraged us to keep up with current events. At the beginning of each class, we had a whole group discussion about the news topics that dealt with domestic policies. I think this teaching strategy influenced my interest in watching local and national news programs. I enjoy learning about what is going on in the world around me. The discussion about the position that students took on about the topics is a personal reaction to something meaningful to them. Discussions have to be focused on the issue, at hand. As the facilitator, teachers have to help keep students on track during whole group conversations. It is easy to get distracted to other issues when discussing important subjects regarding life choices. I think you should continue utilizing the activities, but enforce more rules about the discussion process in the classroom. I think students will benefit from these changes during instruction. Good luck!
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Kristen Bagwell
Kristen Bagwell
Reps: 107
Your solution made me think of something... Because debates are used as a source of evidence for this assignment, students should/could, when discussing, have to operate under the same or similar debate guidelines as the candidates. It would allow students to express their thoughts, but it would also teach them a method. Afterward, it may be beneficial, too, to have students reflect on the content of the debate/discussion, as well as the purpose of debate/discussion protocols.
  Posted on: September 20, 2015 3:56 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 46
Posted October 5, 2014 6:49 pm

GyJeWy
GyJeWy
Reps: 105
Your students probably haven't been taught about different races before. Maybe teaching about racial awareness before the persuasive writing assignment would be helpful. Also teaching students how respond civily with one another may also be necessary. Students don't always realize that it's okay to have a different opinion but how the opinioin or view is presented does matter.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 47
Posted October 5, 2014 8:39 pm

Kim Lucas
Kim Lucas
Reps: 107
I believe that your lesson has such value to our high school students, I would hate to see you change your activity. But, you could add a discussion that sets very strict guidelines, such as used in debates, so that each student understands how to respond to fellow classmates. Even in the youngest grades, we are trying to teach our students how to respond to others when they disagree with something said. This would give them insight into what each candidate has to do to prepare for the debates that you are asking them to watch as well. Learning to listen to others perspectives, even when you do not agree with them, and being able to find something of value in what is being said is a skill that each student will need going forward. I think it is wonderful that you are helping them learn these skills in your classroom. This is the true lesson.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

BazaNu
BazaNu
Reps: 89
I tend to agree. Students should be taught how to debate without attacking each other. It is important that they know how to handle situations in which someone disagrees with their point of view.
  Posted on: October 7, 2014 7:57 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 48
Posted October 5, 2014 8:41 pm

ePeHyM
ePeHyM
Reps: 105
I am not sure if race can be completely taken out of the picture when talking about politics. I do believe that it is important to teach your students to consider the facts on a particular issue and to teach them to be able to back-up their opinions with facts.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Jill Elton
Jill Elton
Reps: 108
I value your opinion, but I do not understand why race has to be included in politics at all. Politicians are voted into office in order to help make America better for all people, not just select races. The students in this class should, like you said, consider the facts of the issues at hand. However, I also believe that they should view the opposing standpoint on the issue as well. I believe it is best to know the whole story before making up one's mind.
  Posted on: September 30, 2015 2:15 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 49
Posted October 6, 2014 2:04 am

HaBuMu
HaBuMu
Reps: 52
I love the idea of applying current events to the classroom lessons. It helps to get the students involved in the news but also the possibilities within a democracy. The main idea I have for making this assignment calmer is to have the essay be turned into you for review instead of read aloud. The only other option is maybe set up an actual debate in the classroom and have rules in place to prevent it from getting out of hand. These activities do seem to enact a bandwagon effect among students in which they jump on one side or the other just to avoid being left out.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 50
Posted October 6, 2014 1:38 pm

ezasyp
ezasyp
Reps: 107
Honestly I think you gave your students too much freedom in this assignment. Watching the news is a great thing but there are way too many news sources with differing opinions and information about hot topics that students have to be careful. I do not think students in high school are quite old enough to sort through the information they are hearing and determine what is true and what is an opinion. I think you should narrow down the information the students get. Make sure the students are reading factual information in order to construct their opinions. Then I think you need to set up your classroom in true debate form and have students ready to defend their argument. I think this would prevent students from going straight to race. In my experience, based on what news program I watch I would definitely form different opinions about race based on what I am watching. Because I know better, I do not automatically form certain opinions. We need to teach our students this idea as well.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 51
Posted October 7, 2014 8:22 pm

SaSyXu
SaSyXu
Reps: 105
Definitely do NOT change this activity. This is a great activity. You could change it a bit by putting students into groups, with both white and black students together, and have them do research on those different political topics. Students will have to work together and put race behind them!
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 52
Posted October 27, 2014 6:36 am

HyraLe
HyraLe
Reps: 73
Before the lesson even begins I think it's very important to talk about he expectations first. Let the students know what exactly they are expected to do for the assignment and also let them know that they are going to respect one another and each other's opinion during the process. Don't allow the students to get into a debate as much and allow the students to talk about the points of their essay without leading them towards a debate. Have them share their main persuasion points with supporting details which would be the main parts of their paper.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 53
Posted September 20, 2015 3:51 pm

Kristen Bagwell
Kristen Bagwell
Reps: 107
I do not think that you should change your assignment. I, too, teach high school students, and I find that many of them have the same political beliefs of their parents simply because they think that they should, and I have found that they don't really know why they have the beliefs that they do because they do not know enough about the issues. However, as you describe, the political debate you wanted turned into a race war. Perhaps you should preface the discussion with ground rules. More than likely, too, your students weren't quite prepared to have the differences of opinion that they faced when students started sharing. In setting ground rules, I would also explain that everyone is entitled to their own opinions as long as they can support their opinions with evidence, and in your case, the evidence would be from the debates. Additionally, when students comment on other students' beliefs, they should be able to support their thoughts with evidence. I would also provide a time for reflection at the end of the discussion, and I would make students explain something that they hadn't thought of, as well as something that made them think (either agree or disagree). I think, too, you might consider having this discussion in a fish bowl setting where students are partnered, which would reduce the amount of students vocally participating at one time.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 54
Posted September 20, 2015 10:23 pm

Edward Kim
Edward Kim
Reps: 106
I do not believe that you should change your assignment. It is an important for students to know what is going on in the world around them and to be active participates in it as well. One way to help lower the hostile feelings is to make students write their topic from the other side. I make my AP students practice this because it forces them to approach the topic from a side of facts and not emotions. It also makes them think critically about the topic and gives them a chance to form counterarguments against their own original thinking. If you change the assignment it can help students to become more critical thinkers and hopefully a bit more sympathetic to the other side, but it will also hopefully lower the racial feelings controversial topics can bring up.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 55
Posted September 22, 2015 8:06 pm

Japuje
Japuje
Reps: 107
I think the education was democratic because the students were able to express themselves freely even though things did get out of hand. The only thing I would have done differently would be to make sure the students understood that they needed to be respectful of others' political positions and if they weren't they would have points taken off of their assignment or receive some sort of punishment. There's not much we as teachers can do to get our students to completely ignore race, but we can ensure that students treat one another with respect and dignity.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 56
Posted September 26, 2015 1:03 pm

yWasyD
yWasyD
Reps: 107
I don't think you need to change your activity, try and let your students see the objectivity of the activity and how race should not be an issue. Try and switch the candidates and their perspectives as in what if this is the candidate that is proposing what his opponent is proposing, would you still have the same reaction? and vice versa. Tell your students they need to go above the prejudices before they make their contributions. Another thing I will suggest is that you might tell the whites to write on how they can persuade people to vote for the black candidate and tell the blacks to do the same for the white candidate. This is a very controversial topic so one needs to be careful.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 57
Posted September 26, 2015 3:23 pm

ehyNyn
ehyNyn
Reps: 109
I actually love your idea for these activities, but I think it needs to be prefaced with activities that provide students with the relationship between political awareness and racial awareness. Also, during the activity in which students are required to watch the political debates, students must be aware that the media is trying to force their own ideas on the ideas of their viewers. A lot of time, the media will lean to one side or another and influence their viewers and students need to be aware of this prior to completing this activity.

In addition to the above, learn from experience. Obviously, all students need to be aware of racial issues and be racially aware. They need to understand stereotypes are wrong and they should understand that they should not judge people, but get to know them and see where they REALLY come from. A lot of time, we allow the media and other outside sources to give our students stereotypes and never address them.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 58
Posted September 27, 2015 2:02 am

Jasmine Bringuel
Jasmine Bringuel
Reps: 102
One solution would be to make ground rules for discussions and debates that go on in the classroom. At the beginning of the year, the first two weeks of school, the students came up with the ground rules on discussions and debates for the class that every student agreed to follow. I did not come up with any of the rules the students did. They came up with rules, like:
No talking or interrupting while someone else is talking.
No getting angry about what is said.
Speak in a normal tone even if you are upset about the topic.
Be respectful at all times.
Pay attention when someone is talking.
Participate.
Be kind and NO CURSING.
These are just a few of the rules my students came up with to follow during class. It has worked for me for three years now, but there will always be one or two that can't seem to understand the concept of the rules.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
I think that establishing rules at the beginning of the debates would be beneficial. This would give the students a clear understanding of guidelines and expectations that they are to follow. I have found that students do better when rules and expectations are clear and presented beforehand.
  Posted on: October 2, 2015 1:44 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 59
Posted September 29, 2015 4:00 pm

Amanda Whittaker
Amanda Whittaker
Reps: 114
First you have to make sure that you lay out all the rules for the students before the discussions even take place. Have each class make 4-5 rules on what they will or will not say or do when something is brought up that they do not like or vice versa. Students also need to know that there will be consequences for any of the rules that are broken in class during this time. You may also want to examine the topics you are giving them. It may be necessary to remove some of them if they may turn the conversation to race instead of political awareness. Politics is a touchy subject at all ages and many times at this age they don't know all the facts and may not research the person or topic enough to have an informed decision. I would also ask any of your co workers if they have tried this before and how it worked out for them. They may have some tips that you can use or may say that this isn't something that your students can handle. If you choose to try this again, remember what went wrong and what you can do to change it.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 60
Posted September 30, 2015 1:58 am

Jill Elton
Jill Elton
Reps: 108
I do not believe you should change your activities. Instead, I would ask the students who were in disagreement to regroup and share their thoughts regarding the issue with the mindset that we are all people, skin color aside. I believe that the political awareness turned into "racial awareness" because, unfortunately, people want an "easy way out." They would rather blame "it" on "race/ or our apparent differences" than actually facing the "real issues" at hand. In order to help your students face the real issues, I would have them expand on their initial thoughts and do research as to the possible pros and cons of each issue and report on them. They could even interview those who approve and oppose each issue, both black and white people. The ultimate goal should be that the students learn how to vocalize their thoughts and ideas without engaging in an all out war with others. Within this process, students may open their own eyes and in the process may learn how to persuade people to think like them.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 61
Posted September 30, 2015 1:34 pm

ezajaV
ezajaV
Reps: 102
I don’t think you should change your way of teaching. I would suggest having the students explain their issues but they could not have race be a reason for their opinion. I would also have the students state the facts for each side one at a time. After that, I would have the students look at the facts and then have a discussion over the facts that have been provided.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 62
Posted October 2, 2015 1:40 am

Kateline Vaughn
Kateline Vaughn
Reps: 106
I believe the key to activities like this is to have open, respectful discussions. Students need to learn that it is acceptable for them to disagree with one another if they do it in the right manor. Students need to learn how to respectfully debate with one another by using phrases like, "I understand where you are coming from, but..." or "You make a good point, but..". It is important for students to learn how to respectfully disagree with one another, and I think this is a great assignment to create discussions. Although race seems to be a divider, I do not think this has to be used in a negative way. When students make their claims and arguments, it can be a great teaching opportunity to show students how society disagrees on certain issues. I do not think it is necessary to change the activity, but it is necessary to have an open mind when being the referee between the debates.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Qybuse
Qybuse
Reps: 118
I think that your point is very valid; when having open discussions like these, the classroom environment is crucial. In order for students to be able to share their opinions, there must be a protocol in place and mutual respect.
  Posted on: October 5, 2015 12:19 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 63
Posted October 5, 2015 12:15 am

Qybuse
Qybuse
Reps: 118
When it comes to politics, many people "take a side" simply based on their cultures. They feel as if they must relate to a certain political party because that's what their family relates with, and they focus less on the issues at hand and more on the party name and branding. I think this activity would have been more effective if students were to focus more on the issues without seeing the political names. I think it would be cool if the teacher typed up quotes that were said in the political debate, yet left off who said them and just included the person's stance on the issues. This would encourage students to think about their opinions solely on the issues at hand, rather than the political association they feel they need to represent.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 64
Posted October 5, 2015 1:46 am

Amanda Robinson
Amanda Robinson
Reps: 98
This is an issue that is very sensitive. I think this most recent presidential election was all about race. I think that race was important and should be talked about but I would tread lightly when it comes to race in the classroom. I would continue the discussion but try to ask students to avoid the subject of race and just look at the political issues.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 65
Posted October 5, 2015 3:22 am

uPaSeW
uPaSeW
Reps: 209
I do not think that you should change your activities.I think that you should make the activity a silent sharing. The students cannot talk, however they are writing down any disagreements they may have to the persuasive essays. After they write down their disagreements, I would then have them write down what they think the opposing side would say on that topic. This may keep the students on task of the assignment and keep it from being a racial awareness activity instead of a political one.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 66
Posted October 17, 2015 5:03 pm

Hedynu
Hedynu
Reps: 112
This scenario is tough because for many, race plays such a large part of the lenses by which they view the world. And for many students, the heart of their disadvantages are a result from how people racially view them. I would approach instruction establishing some “ground rules”. Simple expectations such as no name calling, demeaning discussions, intentional stereotypes, etc. can only help aid the flow of talking points. I think that approach would help set a more positive tone in the classroom. Class discussions that somehow stumble onto topics of race are inevitable. After all, race is the first thing people see when they see each other. These are the facts regardless of how much people deny this; well, unless an individual is actually blind. There is no harm in seeing race; I think the offense is given essentially by how one responds negatively to race. Students are going to talk about race whether a teacher endorses it or not. I would take such an opportunity to dispel stereotypes and over-generalizations and allow students to become more informed and grow positively from the discussion. I would plan intentional, guided, remarks and make a point to redirect them for its original purpose: healthcare, abortion, affirmative action, etc. But, at the same time, not necessarily flee a topic that happens behind closed doors anyway. I liken your case to talking about sex with teenagers. It’s uncomfortable and no one wants to do it; however, whether we are doing it with our teens or not, it is being discussed. Better to have provocative topics discussed in a contained, organized, mature, environment- than allowing students to completely engage in discourse rogue.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 67
Posted October 19, 2015 9:34 pm

Daisy Dumler
Daisy Dumler
Reps: 106
I don't think the activities should be changed, when it comes to politics things can get heated. I think it's a great idea to allow the kids to speak their minds and then you can turn it into a learning opportunity. Maybe take the opinions from each side and find facts either proving their validity or debunking them. Race is always a huge topic and if controlled chaos can be attained then by all means, turn it into a lesson. People usually tend to believe that democrats are followed primarily by black people and republicans are followed by white. These students have had these ideas hounded into their minds and then your lesson was the opportunity for them to speak what they've heard. They may not even base their opinions on facts but on he said she said.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 68
Posted February 21, 2018 6:26 pm

uJyGep
uJyGep
Reps: 200
You could incorporate social justice discussions or article readings that are relevant to the topic in which you are trying to bring awareness to.
Votes: +0 / -0 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 69
Posted September 26, 2014 2:57 pm

PyveDu
PyveDu
Reps: 101
Like many others have said, I would have students meet before hand to discuss an outline of their topics and arguements. If the classroom has a safe environment then there should be policy of how discussions will take place. There should be the race card discussed and date brought up to defend the facts.
Votes: +0 / -1 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Daisy Dumler
Daisy Dumler
Reps: 106
I think a before hand meeting would be a great idea. I think an organized debate would be the way to go and it would be controlled.
  Posted on: October 19, 2015 9:35 pm

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Solution 70
Posted October 5, 2014 12:07 am

Jordan Nelms
Jordan Nelms
Reps: 104
Although I think it is important for our students and people of society in general to be aware of what is going on around them, I'm not sure that I would open up these topics for discussion in class. However, I have never liked any type of confrontation at all, so I didn't like debates. Maybe have students write the persuasive essay so you know they are participating and keeping up with the news, but not have them discuss their topics in class. They are high school students, but some I'm sure are still very immature.
Votes: +0 / -1 Vote Up This Solution Is Useful   Vote Down This Solution Is Not Useful  

Comments posted for this solution

Ashley Smith
Ashley Smith
Reps: 107
While I respect your opinion, I think it is important to open up discussion about these controversial issues. I understand your feelings about confrontation, but an activity like this could be modified to lessen the argumentative actions. Students could discuss their feelings with partners or in small groups. I think discussion rules have to be in place for students to benefit from this conversation process. Students have to participate in activities like this during their educational careers; otherwise, they will not acquire these skills to talk with diverse individuals later in life.
  Posted on: October 5, 2014 5:53 pm

Japuje
Japuje
Reps: 107
Most people don't like confrontation either, but students do need to learn how to defend their political positions and beliefs if confronted about them in the future.
  Posted on: September 22, 2015 8:09 pm

Jill Elton
Jill Elton
Reps: 108
I agree that although some high school students can be immature, they need to now how to communicate and "get their point across" without having a "knock-down, drag-out fight." As a Pre-K teacher, I tell my students all the time to "use your words." High school students need to learn to do this as well, in a professional and respectful manner with one another. Students also need to learn that we all have different opinions on various issues. We don't have to agree with one another. Sometimes we just need to agree to disagree.
  Posted on: September 30, 2015 2:34 am

Reply Add a Comment
 
     
     
 
Reply Submit a Possible Solution
Please read response(s) below (if any) before posting your solution.