K-12 education has an ongoing challenge to remain relevant (current event teaching). As a public institution, shifting practice and policies is a slow process often resulting in technological and cultural lag. It does not feel good to admit that, but consider these two items:
- Exhibit A – technology devices and bandwidth in schools compared to the private sector
- Exhibit B – public school desegregation largely began in earnest the 1960s or later. The Congress of Industrial Organizations (1936), professional baseball (1947) and US military (1948) all opposed segregation decades earlier.
With this in mind, it is easy to understand why people often refer to life outside of school as “the real world.” But it need not be that way.
Fortunately, prioritizing relevance when it comes to student learning happens at the classroom level. And one of the best ways to do that is by teaching current events. To be clear, I mean teach current events as part of the core curriculum, not as a time filler or add on “if we have time.” Committing to relevancy through current events requires teachers to make intentional instructional and organizational shifts. Facilitating those shifts so that it is an easy decision for teachers to make is where you come in. Below are six ways you can highlight how your product supports the teaching of current events.
- Content Connections: Some courses, like social studies and science, tend to have clearer connections between their content and what is going on in the world. Contrastingly, math, world languages, and literature teachers may not see the possibilities as easily. Providing ways to use current events in all classes is valuable.
- Perspectives: Current events can be controversial and are certainly open to interpretation. Providing a voice about issues that are from across the political spectrum, representative of diverse groups, and approaching the topic with different lenses removes the burden of locating these from teachers.
- Accessibility: Be sure to consider how students can access information about current events. For example, can the text be translated and have a read-aloud feature? Can the reading level be adjusted? Are there options for students to engage with current events through visuals, videos, data sets, and animation? The greater the methods of accessibility the more relevant your resource is.
- Class Integration: Having resources available is a major convenience. Knowing how to use resources is another skillset. Having current events options that are designed for class bell ringers, exit tickets, geared to student reflection, or are intended for “deep dives” offer flexibility for teachers to elevate the relevance of their class.
- Guest Speakers: One way to engage with current events is with people who can engage with your students. Having a pool of experts who are available to be live guest speakers in a classroom is a feature often overlooked. If your resource provides this option, you will stand out – just be sure that they like working with kids!
- Taking Action: Learning about current events in school is a reasonable expectation. Structuring ways that students can act regarding contemporary issues is a necessity. This feature brings the “real world” back into school. Many people will conclude that this must be a form of activism but need not be. Options that vary in the type, context, and purpose of the action should be provided.
It is often said that the teacher is the most crucial factor regarding a students’ educational experience. This claim is true. The resources that teachers have access to that support their craft are a close second. Integrating current events to your updated or new services and resources is essential. Doing so makes you more relevant too.
Ready to reach out to your target group of educators today? Reach out!