The Problem with Being Political in the Classroom

If you’ve gone through any schooling system that includes other students (basically everything, besides homeschooling), then you probably have had the dreaded political conversation at least once during your academic career. What is it that makes it so dang hard to talk about politics? The subject seems taboo, but it involves many issues that we need to discuss today, especially with social media exposing our minds to these problems. From firsthand and secondhand experience, I have a few ideas why.

 

People already “know” that they are right.

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I have personally witnessed a political conversation where one side has decided that the other side is “the enemy”, and because of this, they also decide that their points are invalid and will not hear the other side out. Often times, it is this wall that people can unconsciously build by surrounding themselves with those that only think like them that stops people from truly understanding one another.

 

You have to see the people after you have the argument.

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Politics can get heated! In a classroom setting, the people debating more often than not know one another or will get to know each other. So, when a person mouths off to another about being a bigot or having a lack of understanding, it can put an almost tangible divide in the class. That divide can make it hard for people to have honest, real and deep conversations in the future.

 

Your teacher is obviously biased.

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Have you ever been in class where the teacher claims to want to foster an open environment, but all or most of their points are one-sided, or they only “play devil’s advocate” for your opinions? Yeah, not fun. Since the teacher is typically leading the conversation, it can be hard to get around their opinion. But, if there are other students in the class that notice this as well, you all can respectfully bring this up to the teacher. There’s strength in numbers!

 

The whole class feels the exact opposite way than you.

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It can be awkward to share your opinion when everyone else seems to feel the exact opposite way. That does not mean that you shouldn’t share your opinion. People could learn something from what you have to say. It’s scary, but more than likely you’ll feel pretty dang proud of yourself after you do!

 

Political conversations are not a walk in the park, but they are important because they are the sharing of ideas. And when did anything get done without an idea? We’ve all had those awkward moments, but typically the more we have, the less awkward they start to feel.