How teachers should explain political responsibility

Teachers have a tremendous duty to their students to teach them as equitably and with as much fairness as possible. This point could not be more salient than when discussing the notion of how teachers teach political responsibility to their students.

As has been widely discussed in the media and in the best seller, The Big Sort, which comes highly recommended from former President Bill Clinton, is the notion that Americans are becoming even more divided and are living in communities with like minded and like party people more than ever before.

The effect of this ‘sorting’ is greater partisanship, which undoubtedly will drip down into the school system. To mitigate against the potential of this alarming reality, several ideas have been developed to ensure that teachers and students engage in a meaningful, educational discussion on political responsibility. The hope is if these ideologies are followed, a better educational experience can be provided for students.

The teacher should not try to shape students’ political ideologies

It is unfair for a teacher to influence a student towards a particular political persuasion. Due to the trust that a student can often put in a teacher, they tend to listen to them with greater deference and are more susceptible to blindly follow their ideas.

Because of this trusting relationship that a student and teacher are engaged in, it is inappropriate for the teacher to use this influence to persuade a person towards his viewpoint or the viewpoint of the government or any other entity.

Expressing opinions is educational, forcing these opinions is not educational

While it is key to encourage people to express their viewpoints as much as possible, we must be careful to respect what other people say and treat it with dignity and respect. Beyond our political ideologies, people ultimately want a safe, happy place where they can find employment and enjoy some freedom and prosperity.

If this notion is kept in mind when we have heated political discussions, it might lead to more constructive discussions and a more conciliatory and productive approach.

Many political commentators would agree that partisanship in politics has been a cancer that is ruining political systems as we speak. For the sake of future generations, it is critical that we do not let this form of discourse and ideology to influence the future of our society.

As such, by following a more kind, sincere approach to our discussions with others, we can achieve much more and treat each others with more kindness. It is important for us to be tolerant of one another if we are going to grow and develop as communities, nations or society as whole.