Letter: Having healthy classroom discussions

Published 10:30 am Thursday, October 4, 2018

I often observe positive outcomes when I see former students who are adults now as they are giving back locally, and are showing responsibility, respect and leadership.

Many I encounter are bankers, teachers/school administrators, firefighters, pharmacists, retail personnel, police and military officers, nurses, volunteers, caregivers and small business owners.

Honored as other former teachers are, many will kindly thank me for the time we spent together as teacher and student.

For numerous years, I taught language arts and social studies in the middle grades. While discussions were sometime humorous or uncomfortable, healthy discussions during social studies were always welcomed.

Having such dialogue with middle grade students was invaluable. It was an opportunity for everyone in the classroom to learn, both teacher and students.

Opinions of students were appreciated, although agreement was not always total. However, consensus mostly prevailed when supported by evidences, facts and truths.

There are many topics related to the current political environment that will be discussed in many classrooms.

Telling our students that the press is the enemy of the people is not based on evidences, facts, and truths. Students are listening, and some are responding.

The press is not the enemy of the people. In this uncharted time in our country, steering youthful and developing minds toward dogmatic beliefs in “who or what is the enemy” of this nation is very alarming as these same students will soon become adults.

Classroom discussions about social and political issues must be facilitated appropriately with students.

I did not nonchalantly shrug off student hoopla, propaganda, misinformation and rhetoric that was part of discussions.

Instead, I facilitated many honest, healthy classroom discussions presenting evidences, truths and facts, and encouraged reasonable and sound student opinion and participation.

In this current politically environment, it is important that teachers support healthy classroom discussions.

Likewise, the decency, integrity and professionalism of the teacher will certainly inspire students to become productive citizens and leaders who will defend and support the norms of democracy and equality for all across this great nation and the world, and for generations to come.

Idiotic politics singlehandedly is surely doing enough harm to our students.

Teachers, do not fail our students in the classroom. Having healthy, honest classroom discussions is required.

Kaye Davis-Mangum, evaluation faculty,
Western Governors University,
retiree of North Carolina Public Schools,

including Stanly County Schools