Above photo from Eloise Acuna
By: Kyle Palmer and Matt Hodapp
On No Wrong Answers before, we’ve talked about protests and how they might affect the classroom. Our first episode, in fact, was taped a day after the Women’s Marches that occurred in many cities around the country the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration.
But before that, there were protests at the site of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline, the University of Missouri, Ferguson, Missouri, and Occupy Wall Street, just to name a few.
Now, there is a growing legislative backlash: bills in at least 16 state legislatures have been introduced (all by Republicans) that aim in some way to limit protests, make them more orderly, or toughen penalties for protesters who are arrested.
There is evidence this news is filtering into the classroom. The New York Times, for instance, last year published a lesson plan called “Battle over an oil pipeline: teaching about the Standing Rock Sioux protest.” The authors write: “This lesson plan asks students to weigh the potential drawbacks and advantages of the pipeline project for all involved, then challenges students to develop a reasonable and just solution to the current standoff.”
Also, in December, Teaching Tolerance released a guide for teachers called “The value of teaching protest” that argued in part that teaching students about protests shows them real-world examples of valuable skills: “persistence, presence, planning and provocation.”
Teachers, is there a value in trying to bring in ‘protests’ as a curricular subject?
So, what do your teachers think? Is there value in trying to integrate protest in their classrooms? Yes, they say. Student voice can be heard in a variety of ways: from literal “loose leaf petitions” presented to the teacher to so-called “Feedback Fridays” that allow students to give a teacher their opinions on what went well (or not so well) that week.
If you care about education and want to hear what teachers think about the big issues of the day, subscribe and review our podcast at iTunes. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Send us comments and questions at our email: firstname.lastname@example.org.