Illustration by Elise Parsons
It’s been said many times that students should be more aware of the current events happening outside of the St. Paul Academy and Summit School walls. Solutions have varied from allowing time at the beginning of all classes for current event discussions, to starting a new class with the main focus of timely news. However, with teachers already busy making sure students learn a whole curriculum, trying to add current event discussions to classes feels forced. Instead, the SPA social scene should have more resources to direct conversation to current events more naturally.
The news, especially in this political climate, seems to be on everybody’s radar. Some classes, most often electives in Humanities or English, are able to seamlessly integrate current events into the pre-existing curriculum. However, other classes have a harder time doing so, due to limited time to cover material, or current events being irrelevant to the topics being taught.
Scheduling mandatory class discussion about current events seems forced. Adding a current events class to the electives list, while not a terrible idea, still isolates the conversation to one place.
It only makes sense that if the community wants more conversation about current events, it would start with utilizing spaces around school dedicated to student socializing. Many conversations among students happens between classes in Schilling and Huss. Having the spaces students use to socialize filled with news sources would naturally lead the conversation to current events. The school already has a lot of the resources that could foster this shift in discussion. The library, which already provides students with a range of newspapers every day, could lay those papers out around the school rather than keeping them inside the library. The new smartboards in the Schilling Center could be set to the news site, or a local TV news station. Posters with information about what new sites and databases are available to students could be hung around the school to make that knowledge more widespread. Of course, if the school takes these measure, students would have to do their part as well: open newspapers, explore the databases, and watch the news.
To make current events a instinctive part of dialogue at SPA, students need to be presented with the correct information in accessible ways. Changing the way the community talks about current events does not require a schedule change or a new class. It simply requires for the school to use resources already available to them, and turning it to the right channel.