Thursday, January 31, 2019

Can we be Political in the Classroom? Critical Thinking Skills


Come to my talk at the APAC ELT Convention 2019 in Barcelona on
Saturday 2nd February 12.45  - Campus Ciutadella, Universitat Pompeu Fabra - Aula 40012 - 
See my next post for resources shared at the talk




“Man is by nature a political animal” said Aristotle. Everyone is political for action or for inaction. How can we bring political issues in the classroom without compromising our position as teachers and educators?



We usually encourage our students to participate in class and by that we mean: have a say, do your homework, ask questions. Anyone may participate, but most students often do not, because participation requires training.

Participation implies getting involved in the decision-making process and encourages a sense of personal and social responsibility. Those who are not interested or ignore issues are actually political in the sense that they let others choose the course of action and lead the group; in other words, non participants let participants decide.

Learn how you can encourage student participation and raise topics for discussion in the classroom by using International anniversaries like Human Rights Day, Women's Day, Martin Luther King’s Day or Buy Nothing Day.

Also, every five years there are European Parliament elections and, notwithstanding the importance of the decisions taken there, participation hit an all time low in 2014 with 43.8%.  I would like to share with you a series of activities I have used to teach the basics of the European Parliament and other institutions to raise awareness about the importance of participation in those elections.

Specially at intermediate and advanced levels, developing critical thinking skills makes classes more interesting, for you and for your students. By critical thinking skills we understand: questioning, summarizing, discussing, researching and critical reflection. I will share some tips.

There is no way to escape politics: would you like students to really participate? Come to my talk.