For professors at an institution that promotes critical thinking, taking time to discuss current events in class is essential to preparing us students to be productive citizens of the world. Professors who are willing to address and incorporate current events into their curriculum are better preparing us to critically understand issues that will affect us long after we leave campus.
One of the core values of the University is education of the whole person. The core curriculum mission statement reads that “the core recognizes LMU’s special role in fostering discerning and active members of diverse communities — local and global.” In order for students to become engaged members of communities, having an understanding of what current issues are is essential.
Topics like environmentalism, geo-political conflict, elections and social activism are hot button topics that often incite impassioned, subjective discussion on campus. By being introduced to these polarizing topics in classrooms in an objective, educational manner, students are given the opportunity to approach tough current issues in a clearly educational way.
Understandably, altering the curriculum of a quantitative class like mathematics or economics would be difficult. However, incorporating current events into liberal, rhetorical and analytical arts classes would be much more appropriate and support the core of what the disciplines are.
In my personal experience, the inclusion of current events has opened my eyes to the connections between different disciplines and current events.
Notably, my Philosophical Inquiry class often uses philosophical questions to discuss the climate and sustainability.During these discussions, I—along with fellow classmates—have gained new perspective on our roles within the ecosystem. These new perspectives have helped shape my understanding of the climate crisis and the some of the nuances of multiple sides of the conversation.
This approach to integrating current events into LMU class curriculums is simple yet meaningful.
Furthermore, engaging with current events in a classroom setting is essential to encouraging students to digdeeper into their beliefs and opinions. These classes get students to not just read the news, but also analyze it and question where they lie on the issue. Engaging with current events and news fortifies our ability to empathize with and recognize other perspectives outside of our own.
As we approach the upcoming presidential election, we need to engage with the issues and conversations the news cycles incite. The classroom is the ideal place to engage in these tricky conversations. Classrooms are filled with people of different backgrounds and viewpoints, unlike a person’s close circle of friends. They also require a level of respect for other people that may not be inherent in other social settings. These factors help facilitate more productive conversations than what would happen in a casual setting.
School and schoolwork take up the vast majority of students’ time. A student with a full course load should spend at least 40 hours a week on school—equivalent to a full-time job. For professors to make time within the class curriculum to address current events also ensures students allocate proper time to these issues.
The current events of today will define our lives even after we have left the University. As the future of the country, we need to have a complete and well-formed understanding of these lasting issues. Being able to recognize multiple perspectives is imperative to help make us globally-minded citizens.
This is the opinion of Alyssa Story, a freshman film, television and media studies major from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tweet comments @LALoyolan or email firstname.lastname@example.org.