Teachers should create unbiased classroom

Exposure to multiple opinions needed for informed citizens

Yonit Krebs

Teachers have a role to ensure their classroom is open for discussion and to encourage informed decision-making.

Politics are a tough topic, especially after the recent presidential election’s chaos, for teachers to keep neutral.

Not only can their expression of political views detrimentally influence students, but it can also alienate students with different political standpoints. It is more important than ever for teachers to listen and respect other opinions, and lead by example.

Because so many students are affected by the recent election, many teachers find it hard to remain neutral. However, without opening their classrooms to discussion, tensions between students of opposing views will increase.

Students looking to their government as an example rarely see polite discussions between opposing politicians. Students need role models and can’t find them in government, and it becomes their teachers’ job to facilitate discussions in classrooms that will expose students to different views, preparing them for life in the adult world.

Students need to understand views and ideas beside their own. Often in classes of politically like-minded students, there is too much common ground. With such a class, the students receive little exposure to other opinions and as a result, they cannot strengthen their own views.

Even if teachers agree with their students, they should experiment with playing devil’s advocate. While teachers should not express their own political views, exposure to all sides of an argument is essential for a student to have a well-informed opinion and to further develop their own ideas.

When teachers express their political views it can be detrimental to their classroom’s learning environment. It puts students with opposing views in an uncomfortable situation. The student might fear a grade decrease if they turn in work expressing an opposing opinion to their teacher’s political views.

It is also important for teachers to only discuss what falls directly under their area of expertise. It is obvious how a political discussion can be related to a social studies class, but teachers of other subjects must also present all sides of controversial issues.

Classrooms must be a safe space where students can participate in an open discussion. A teacher’s job is to present their students with all relevant facts for both sides of a topic, supplying students with the tools needed to make informed decisions.

If students experience open discussions of controversial topics in schools, they will feel comfortable enough to have politically charged conversations as adults.

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