It’s no secret that the United States is going through some historical times right now. A historical election, storming the capital, Black lives matter movements, and all during a global pandemic.
It’s vital for us as educators and parents to talk with our kids about these events as they happen so that they can understand what is going on in the world around them. But it can be daunting to bring these conversations up in a classroom setting, especially in classrooms with older kids where conversations can run deeper and you never know where they will end up.
Here are a few tips to be able to bring these conversations up in a civilized way in your classrooms.
- State facts only, no opinions. It’s not our job to sway our students in a political direction, it’s our job to foster a learning environment for them to decide their own political beliefs.
“Some individuals that identify with the republican party made the decision to riot and storm the U.S. Capitol.”
“People in the Black community felt like they have not been treated equally with those in the White community, so protests are happening around the nation.”
Yes, there is a lot of emotion in both of those statements, and your students will likely dive deep into them. However, just remember that your job isn’t to sway their political stance, but foster their education on both sides.
- Be clear about what happened. Especially in the younger grades, they don’t need a lengthy background on what is going on. They need clear, cut-to-the-chase points.
- Validate emotions. Again, emotions will come up and be high in a conversation regarding these events. Their emotions are valid and a natural reaction to the situation, validate them! Even if you disagree!
- Set expectations for discussion and stick to them. Give a gentle reminder if needed.
- Don’t be afraid! It can be daunting, but you never know where the conversations may go! Your students may surprise you with their insight and ability to regulate a conversation.
Do you discuss political happenings with your kids? What other tips would you include?