A great current day educator, Jordan Peterson, once said that protests and walk-outs are lazy and ineffective ways to initiate change. Protests create a lot of yelling and acting out, and counter any meaningful exchange of ideas that could bridge any meaningful solution. Seldom does any one side have all of the answers. My focus here is on school walkouts, and protests coming form the field of education. I have included a link about a walk out that resulted in an eleven year old student’s death. He veered away from the group to go to a park while he was a part of a walkout. Had he been in the classroom instead of on this venture he would be alive today.
A very wise writer named Thomas Sowell, who is now retired, once said. “One of the painful signs of dumbed-down education is how many people are unable to make a coherent argument. They can vent their emotions, question other people’s motives, make bold assertions, report slogans…. anything except reason.”
I think teachers are dropping the ball where the issue of gun control comes into play. They have a golden opportunity to have a teaching moment that can make a big difference in their students education.
My suggestion would be for them to challenge the students to research the subject of gun control, the statistics attached, what surrounded the many shootings, and what might could have stopped them. They could also research how “Gun Free Zones” and “Soft Targets”are working out. They could study American History surrounding the second amendment, and how it might have been written differently, and why. They could even research on how amendments can be changed. They could sturdy the pros and cons of walkouts, and protests, and share their thoughts from their prospective. They could research places like Chicago, who has strict gun restrictions, and see how they rank in safety compared to other places without such laws. Then they could write their findings in an essay, and share what they learned in their research. The teachers could draw up a list of topics and assign them so many sides of the issues could be covered for the class to benefit from hearing. There could even be an assembly for the entire school to participate in, with the program being a debate of some top essay writers. How exciting would this be?
An assignment like this would be a good place to teach the students how to dig up real information, rather than media opinions and slants, and to look for facts from multiple, and trusted sources. I think this would be a good place to point out that lots of “News” is more entertainment and less about unbiased facts. They should realize that just because something is written or reported on or published, it might not be factual. Anyone can write anything this day and age. And those who scream the loudest might just be blowing smoke. Introduce them to sources and news straight from Government websites.
Here is a list of benefits that this assignment would render:
Learning research skills
Thinking based on facts
Understanding the difference between opinions and facts
Learning public speaking skills
Studying American History
Examining sections of how the government works
Focusing on the constitution
Seeing that issues have many sides
That the Tug-OF-War approach just causes fatigue rather than solutions
Everything they encounter in the media , news or on the internet is not always fact
That it is smart to question and ask questions when learning
I think teachers rob students of a meaningful education when they try to teach them what to think rather than teach them how to learn to think. Teachers political opinions are junk in the classroom unless they own up to their bias on any subject and encourage students to research for themselves. Quality education is on life support. It must change for our country to succeed.