You think what?
"A curriculum is not value-free, as values and attitudes cannot be divorced from content."
HASS subjects and their teaching is not value free. It is almost impossible not to be political in some way when discussing HASS topics.
As Robert Butler was quoted as saying in the Economist in 2010:
“It is getting harder and harder in conversation to raise one or other of the most basic subjects in geography—agriculture, glaciation, rivers and population—without a flicker of panic crossing the other person’s face. You are no longer talking about a neutral subject.”
HASS has the potential to be relevant, dynamic and challenging for students in the classroom through providing the opportunity to develop a political frame around what is taught. How can we teach about water, population, migration and climate change for example without challenging students to place the discussion in a political context – that is, what do you believe is right and what are the values and ethical beliefs that guide ones opinion on an issue.
Here are two excellent classroom polling tools to have a look at and use in our tutorial
* Straw Poll
Q2. Abortion on demand https://strawpoll.com/2bbw492w
Q3. Capital punishment https://strawpoll.com/rg9xxh73
Q4. Corporal punishment https://strawpoll.com/9gxrs9xc
Q5. Australian Republic https://strawpoll.com/zpzf1y4w
Q6. Removal of the Union Jack from the Australian flag https://strawpoll.com/h3erf2ds
Q7. Privatisation of public facilities https://strawpoll.com/9zf9y57a
Q8. School uniform https://strawpoll.com/g48g4hs4
Q9. Immigration https://strawpoll.com/dx57zadw
Q10. Unemployed and community service https://strawpoll.com/3xs2zsf3
Q11. Coupons and benefit payments https://strawpoll.com/7w7825k5
Q12. Compulsory service for 19 Year olds https://strawpoll.com/351hxr6r
Q13. Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution. https://strawpoll.com/7s5ek3p9
Q14. Removal of King Edward V11 statue https://strawpoll.com/g5ada6c9
Q15. Moving Australia Day https://strawpoll.com/pr6x7ega
* Poll everywhere
Is a digital tool that is a wonderful way to get students involved (all students, not just the vocal and uninhibited) in discussion of a contestable nature is Poll Everywhere. The brilliant aspect of this program is that it is easy to use, is anonymous and inclusive of all, can be used and developed in real time in the classroom and provides instant feedback (graphs, word walls etc). The program gives all students a voice so that they can express their opinion without ridicule or embarrassment. The resulting graphs and graphics provide data for class research and discussion and can be archived for comparison over time presentations. As a tool it is a great interactive way to involve the geography class in some high order thinking and discussion.
The brief video on the Poll Everywhere Home page gives an introduction to this free digital tool which can be used not only in the HaSS classroom but also with teachers in their professional learning in HaSS.Poll Everywhere is a great way to get discussion started in any gathering. It is certainly worth the 30 minutes to get acquainted with the tool and make the learning more interactive for participants and create some inclusive and comprehensive data for contestable discussions.