Recent political events should be not be a major focus of history classes

February 12, 2020 — by Apurva Chakravarthy

Discussions about current events can have more cons than pros

Given the current political climate, discussions and discourse on politics is almost inescapable, even in classroom settings. Incorporating current events would not fit well in classes for two main reasons: the lack of space and relevance in curricula for such discussions and political biases coming into play during discussions.

As most know, it is a commonly accepted fact that teachers should not express their political views to their students to make sure that no student with differing opinions feels uncomfortable in their class. However, effective discussions will almost inevitably have opinions injected into the point they are trying to make due to the nature of these discussions. 

Many teachers intend to conduct non-partisan discussions, but it’s likely that their own prejudices will show. Some teachers don’t even try at all to hide their political opinions. In discussing recent events, it is admittedly hard for anyone to be able to keep what they feel about such sensitive topics quiet when they participate in a discussion.

However, in voicing their opinions, teachers often upset many students (and parents as well), potentially making the classroom a tense and uncomfortable place. As a rule, it would seem best to avoid them. 

Then there’s the problem that for most history classes (at least for freshmen and sophomores), the political discussions that people are pressuring teachers to hold in their classes hold no real relevance to what they are learning. 

And as for American history-centered classes, such as U.S. History and Government and Economics, it may be useful to try and draw connections between current events to the material being taught at the time. However, the jam-packed nature of these curriculums make using class time for such discussions a burden to the teachers. 

Currently, most history classes have a strict and lengthy curriculum to follow, and adding new material with no real relevance to what the class is about doesn’t work.

With all of this in mind, I believe that the best way to avoid all the disadvantages of talking about politics in classes while still keeping students informed about the world is for teachers to encourage students to familiarize themselves with current events by finding multiple different news outlets to corroborate the facts so that they can develop opinions for themselves. 



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