Laura Tavares understands that teachers face tough choices deciding what it’s safe to discuss in their classrooms.
[S]chool climates are more hostile and polarized than before, making teachers’ tasks of nurturing civil dialogue, finding reliable sources of information, maintaining professional neutrality, and creating an inclusive environment more difficult. It’s not surprising that many teachers say it’s just too hard and too risky to engage students in discussion of contentious current issues. Yet this essential civic task of schools is more important than ever, at a time when studies reveal declining support for democracy itself.
Foster civil discourse and reflection
Establish classroom norms
Encourage informed dialogue
Let students drive the conversation
Expect the unexpected
Encourage student agency
Connect curriculum and current events
Listen to young people
Read the article for detailed insights into each approach plus links to lesson plans and further resources