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Teacher: "Why We Can't Ignore Ferguson as School Begins"

Teacher: "Why We Can't Ignore Ferguson as School Begins"

School has returned, and as the 2014-15 school year begins, teachers around the nation have a challenging discussion to bring up in their classrooms: the events in Ferguson, Missouri. 

Veteran teacher David B. Cohen wrote about his thoughts on the issue, and said that teachers cannot ignore Ferguson in their classrooms, according to The Washington Post. In the article, Cohen asks, "What do we do in school communities when events of historic proportion take place? Or overwhelm us? What do we do when our communities are in grip of trauma, fear or grief? How many ways are we willing to define, or redefine, 'our community?'"

Cohen said as teachers, he or she should be willing to toss out their lesson plans, revise it, and be able to manage and teach something that is "more lasting and potentially important." Cohen said when he was in school, he watched the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, as well as news on the space shuttle, Challenger, that exploded. He said watching these events were significant, and made him feel like he was part of a community.

"With younger children, we actually have some influence over what they will remember, what they feel connected to," he said. "If my teachers and principals had ignored the events of 1981 and 1986, I would have less of a memory that they occurred, less of an authentic sense of meaning...For some students, if we don’t talk about this, it will not be part of their memory of our country’s history."

If teachers don’t talk about Ferguson, he said and the life and death of Mike Brown, Jr., then educators "miss an opportunity to help our students understand and develop a connection to their country’s living history."

"That’s not something we cherish – the recognition of seemingly perpetual conflict – but if we ignore it, we don’t equip students to deal with it any better in the present or the future," he said. 

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor



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