ERIC Number: EJ814320
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep-19
Reference Count: 0
What Not to Say in Class during an Election Season
O'Neil, Robert M.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n4 pA104 Sep 2008
Professors and politics blend uneasily in the classroom, especially in an election year. As the election cycle unfolds, professors can expect to be asked about their political views: "How do you feel about McCain?" "Do you think we're ready for a black president?" Nothing in higher-education policy explicitly precludes honest answers to those questions. Indeed, refusing to respond might appear evasive if the question is sincere and germane to the course. For the political scientist, as well as the historian and sociologist, politics involves discussing their subject. What about the chemist or literary scholar, whose views on campaigns may also interest students? Even in teaching a relatively apolitical subject, occasional references to politics or ideology should be permissible, for surely no scholar is confined in revealing his or her views by the subject matter of the course. That point has been amplified by the American Association of University Professors' recent report on freedom in the classroom. The issue isn't simple, and land mines are plentiful. In this article, the author offers some tricky situations that might arise when the classroom conversation turns political, and what to keep in mind.
Descriptors: College Faculty, Political Issues, Elections, Political Attitudes, Teacher Responsibility, Teacher Influence, Teacher Attitudes, World Problems, Educational Environment
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A