So how would you tackle Iraq?

19th November 2004 at 00:00
With the war in Iraq in the news, it's hard to avoid politics in the classroom. We asked teachers on The TES website how they manage political arguments with pupils.

Rod Woodhouse believes in teachers putting forward their views, but "you should make it clear that there are other viewpoints of equal validity. If a teacher cannot do that then they should keep their personal opinions to themselves."

Elisee Reclus, though, is happy to take a side: "Being upfront is much more honest than pretending to be neutral," but she stresses the importance of not being biased in debate.

"I generally present every possible view - you have to engender any sort of critical faculty," she writes.

Wearing your political heart on your sleeve isn't a problem for user 1951:

"I have been teaching for 25 years. I have taught the children of three Conservative mayors in that time and not one has complained. And I am a revolutionary socialist."

As for the war: "I am more interested in their beliefs than in mine. If a child asks me point blank whether I support the war then I would tell them but then go on to ask what they think. I also encourage them to look at the media coverage."

Some things, though, are off limits, as far as Eachpeach is concerned: "Not because I am afraid of 'offending' someone but partly in the interests of control of the classroom (if things get too heated it all goes to hell) and partly because if it gets too personal, the little buggers acquire ammunition for later use."

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