” The first thing anyone can do, about any issue, is get informed. ” – Adora Svitak.
Dictionary.com defines current events (also called current affairs) as: ” Present-time news events concerning important people, places, things, and ideas. ” As a retired school principal I share the widely held view that genuine education cannot be restricted to a limited academic or technical curriculum. Students should not be isolated from the world around them, which, through the marvels of information and communications technology, has shrunk to the dimensions of what is now called a global village. We have to help students to understand the realities, nuances and complexities of the world in which they will have to live and work. They must understand the constantly changing context in which they will have to function later as responsible and productive citizens.
Some short-sighted teachers argue that they are paid to teach a specific subject and nothing else. That is not a tenable argument. Teaching also encompasses the full development of each student as an informed individual with positive values and the ability to think critically, solve real-world problems and make sound decisions. Some other teachers claim that the curriculum content is so vast and the high-stakes examinations for which they prepare students, so important and exclusive, that they do not have any time at all to discuss current events with students. This is a mistake. Teachers should not just teach to the test. They must educate students in a more holistic way which links learning to real life. Students need to become media-literate. This is why discussion of current events is important in the classroom and at assembly.
Current events are directly connected to every subject and topic in the school curriculum. Students should be encouraged to read, listen to, and watch news stories. Teachers can organize short discussion sessions with students, during which they analyse and evaluate relevant information they glean from the news events. Critical thinking must drive these group discussions and follow-up assignments may include essays or summaries which can be connected to elements of the curriculum. The various media can be mined for authentic teaching materials in any subject area. Teachers can also ask students how they would solve selected problems exposed in the news. Students generally welcome these brief digressions from the regular lessons and tend to participate actively.
It is important to stimulate student awareness of local, regional, and international issues. An understanding of social, spiritual, political, economic, scientific, and environmental issues, for example, will enable students to better understand the world and make life-enhancing decisions as they grow older. Schools can subscribe to newspapers, magazines and online news services after vetting them for suitability. These providers of information will also help students to expand their vocabulary and improve their reading comprehension skills. Teachers and students can definitely benefit from the study of current events in the classroom.