Our world is constantly evolving. New generations are born every day. New stories are reported every minute. New fads are developed with each changing year (ummm.. still trying to figure out this VSCO girl trend). We would be doing our students and our world a disservice if we did not start taking our future voters seriously. We can no longer operate under the assumption that age equals wisdom. How do we teach our students to honor and respect the opinions of others without actually modeling the behavior ourselves?
In less than five years, our class of 13 year olds will become registered voters. One of the duties as an educator is to ensure we are sending students into the world as contributing members of society. This is one responsibility I do not take lightly which is why I began to implement "article of the week" into our classroom this year. The goal of "article of the week" is to allow students to begin to formulate their own opinions and ideas about current events and to provide them an opportunity to articulate these opinions. This idea began to fall flat when students realized the assignment was only viewed within our four classroom walls, and it simply became just another writing assignment. That was until I was approached by one of our instructional coaches, Anna Pavkov (@PavkovAnna), to bring podcasting into the classroom. I knew podcasting would fit seamlessly with "article of the week". Thus began the beginning stages of our planning journey.
Our students have inspiring ideas, fresh perspectives, and innovative thoughts that can bring about some of the positive change we are yearning for in our world. It is vital we begin providing the youth with a space to feel respected and heard, as well as and opportunity to to develop and formulate their own identity through discussion and debate with an authentic audience. Who better than the world they will stand next to in five years as equal voters? But why should we wait five years? We need to start listening now.