The positive side of Brexit and Trump is that they make children think about politics...

The positive side of Brexit and Trump is that they make children think about politics...

28th February 2019

Ed Dickie, Head of Seniors at Claremont School, tells us more.

One of the fantastic things about being a Politics teacher is that what is being taught changes on a regular basis. A decade ago Donald Trump was still hosting the Apprentice USA and the idea that Britain might, ten years later, be on the verge of leaving the EU would be met with as much incredulity as the prospect of ‘The Donald’ being the US President. Recent times have seen an extraordinary acceleration of political events that few foresaw. Whatever might have been seen as ‘normal’ in the past has now been swept away by a relentless torrent of unimaginable and historic moments. It is in this context that young people are having to digest Brexit and teachers are having to find ways to articulate arguments, which are constantly changing and evolving. For many students, the narrative of Brexit is all they have ever really known, given the drawn out process since the announcement of a Referendum in 2016. All of this is played out for them on social media, with tweets and memes often providing the main sources of information and ‘facts’ upon which opinions are built.  As a result, it is not always straightforward to ‘teach’ how seismic the potential changes might be to students’ lives because the very nature of those changes is so contentious and unknown. That said, I cannot remember a time when the daily ‘news’ has provided so much opportunity for testing student’s abilities to debate, argue and be exposed to different perspectives. In this context Brexit has been a godsend! At Claremont we have sought to keep Brexit relevant largely through regular references in the curriculum punctuated with assemblies and events. In the summer term our local MP will be joining the panel at our own ‘Question Time’ event. Climate change, the ‘broken’ political system, votes for 16 year olds and, of course, the impact of Brexit will be high on the agenda!

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