The 2020 Presidential election is fast approaching. This election has been one of the most controversial ones in recent memory. How do teachers tip-toe around student opinions and just teach the facts? We have created this blog post to help guide you on how to teach the presidential election without bias.
Do’s and Don’ts
must maintain professionalism in the classroom when teaching about the
election. Favoritism toward one candidate cannot be displayed in any way. Even
though the classroom teacher may have strong convictions, s/he cannot try to
persuade the students to support one candidate over the other. Because of this,
we have created some tips emphasizing the do’s and don’ts in the classroom that
should be adhered to.
Do discuss the following: the major two political party system, how a presidential election operates, the requirements in order to be president, the candidates’ positions on the issues, the electoral college system, who is eligible to vote, the difference between the electoral college and popular vote, the importance of debates in the election.
Do not: show favoritism toward a candidate, get into arguments regarding statements by candidates, bring in prejudice or discrimination toward a candidate, only share one candidates’ view, bring in guest speakers from only one side, hold debates without the facts.
There will probably be some questions and tense moments in the classroom. Here is a list of “What if’s” that may surface in the classroom and how to handle them.
A student shares his/her opinion of a candidate? We all have opinions, and that is okay, but we are not going to talk about our opinions. We are going to talk about the system and the process of becoming president.
A student disagrees with a statement another classmate made? We don’t have to agree. We have to respect everyone’s viewpoints and make informed decisions when you are an adult and have the right to vote.
A parent has an issue with talking about politics in the classroom? Make sure to send home the parent letter and assure parents that you are teaching about government, the political process, and how a person can become president in the United States.
Students want to change the opinions of their parents? Let your students know that their parents are adults and allowed the freedom to vote for whichever candidate they prefer. When the student turns 18 years of age, s/he will be able to vote for the candidate of his/her choice.
A student refuses to participate in the activities? Have a talk with the student and let him/her know that this is an assessment unit and there will be a grade associated with it. Also, discuss the importance of the freedoms we have in the United States and how elections are what has made our nation great. If the student continues to be uncooperative, then you may have to reach out to the parents.
Communicating with parents will be important when teaching about the election. A letter should be written to parents that outlines what will be taught, how it will be taught, and how you, the teacher, will deal with issues as they arise.
As the teacher, your primary goal is to educate your students about government and the election process in a non-biased way. We would love to hear how you teach the presidential election in your classroom.
To help you teach about the presidential election in your classroom, check out our Presidential Election Day Activities on TPT.
Topics Covered in Election Detective Activity:
→K-“No W”-L chart
→The President: Roles and Responsibilities
→Presidential Election Process
→The Electoral College
→Election Night Results
Remember it is your job to teach about the election, the election process, and the presidency. Stay away from showing favoritism toward any side. You’ve got this!