As students head back to school this month, they’ll be carrying with them both their backpacks and unsettling visions of the violence that has erupted across America and abroad. Add to that, the hateful and divisive rhetoric that has marked the U.S. presidential campaign over the past year and it’s clear that teachers have their work cut out for them. They will need to create respectful classroom communities while encouraging civic participation in this challenging environment.
These are events that can’t be ignored, especially in classrooms where a diverse student population is looking to understand and to be reassured. So how do you move students beyond the negativism, cynicism, and fear to a more positive and productive outlook?