Effective Ways of Teaching about Impeachment in Middle and High School Classrooms

The Power of Classroom Discussion – From The Founders Published on March 20, 2018 https://www.revolutionprep.com/blog/from-the-founders-the-power-of-classroom-discussion/

Dr. David Childs, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

For this week’s article we will continue with the topic of impeachment. We decided to continue the discussion, as impeachment conversations have been dominating recent news and politics.

It is an important topic to address in middle and high school classrooms today. With the House of Representatives deliberating impeachment and possibly making Trump only the third president to be impeached, it is important for students to understand what it all means. However, it is a touchy topic, even for classroom teachers. It is understandable that teachers may have some trepidation about teaching on the topic of impeachment. There are many resources that can help teachers with this daunting task. For example, a recent article from the Penn State Graduate School of Education outlines tips for discussing the topic in the classroom. They highlight several tips teachers can abide by in teaching about impeachment. See them below.

Teachers should: 

  1. not be afraid to discuss controversial issues, but embrace them in classroom discussions.
  2. help students dig into the facts about the nature and process of impeachment, as well as the role of the three branches of government.
  3. create a classroom environment that facilitates whole and small group discussion surrounding impeachment.
  4. intentionally dedicate time in their classroom to adequately cover the topic of impeachment.
  5. consider diverse viewpoints, that can be supported by valid sources.
  6. help students take the discussion and research beyond the classroom and have students research their local government and political process.
  7. feel comfortable articulating their viewpoints, as long as they also remain unbiased in their teaching and discussions.

See the full article here entitled The Educator’s Playbook: A lesson plan for an impeachment inquiry.

5 Comments

  1. This is an important topic that needs to be discussed when teaching students about the three branches of government and the power that each has. Teachers need to be mindful that students will have the political views of their parents for the most part and you need to be careful about how you say certain things when talking about impeachment. Especially in today’s society debates and other classroom activities are normal but as the teacher you need to moderate and not let the conversation get out of hand.

  2. When I think back to my social studies classes that I’ve had throughout the years, it was always hard for teachers to dive into the hard stuff like impeachment with their class because of how touchy the topic is. I think that allowing your class to be a safe place for all students to bring their insight is important. Just like with any discussion that you have, hearing a different perspective can be very beneficial and teach you many things. I believe that by allowing your students to have these discussions in class without them getting out of hand helps them to dive deeper into how the government works. I am someone who thrives off of hearing different viewpoints and where people are coming from on things so if I had a classroom that was a safe place to talk about these things, I think I would’ve been much more interested. One of my favorite tips that was given was “not be afraid to discuss controversial issues, but embrace them in classroom discussions.” 

  3. As touchy as this topic might be in schools, this is a topic that is much needed to be touched on in middle school and high school. There is so much to teach and learn with such a current event going on. From this one current even going on now, I have learned more about government then I have ever learned in Middle and high school. It has allowed me to make connections of the branches, the house of representatives and the senate. The tip that I wish i could have had more in Middle School and High School was #3 small group discussion. This would have allowed me to see what others thought, connected with others that agreed with me. This would have allowed me to learn more than I ever has. I attended a catholic middle school and it would have been hard to see viewpoints.

  4. The topic of impeachment is an important component of our present state. As educators, it is important that we allow students to be rightfully informed about events occurring around them. However, with the tension related to the Presidency of Donald Trump and the diversity of viewpoints in our classroom, it is understandable that we should tread lightly. I think an important factor of teaching in a middle or high school classroom is establishing boundaries and that the Social Studies classroom is a safe space to talk about things in our world and express experience no matter perspective. Acknowledging opinion as equally valued and enriches conversation when sides are able to share beliefs. No matter where you are in the country, no views will be completely alike and its important that students know that and respect that. On top of setting up the environment, becoming a model to students is just as important. Showing that you maintain no bias and are open to all ideas that are backed up with reason will create an inviting classroom and grow you as a teacher.

  5. It is extremely important in schools today to make sure that politics and other current events are talked about, as this may the students only chance to have open conversations about such topics. I was lucky as I was in a special topics class my senior year of high school that covered politics and current events. This allowed me to learn about what’s going on outside of my community and how these events could impact my community. The thing that stands out to me from this article that was present in my current events class, and I would like to implement in my future classrooms would be number five. Allowing all viewpoints to be discussed and validated is important to promoting a welcoming environment for discussion. My social studies teacher would often have us read articles about the topic from multiple sources to help us form our own opinions. This helped me form my own political beliefs and I believe it could do the same for my students.

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