Teaching Video

How Teachers Can Talk About Hard Things With Students

By Jaclyn Borowski & Elizabeth Rich — October 10, 2023 3:57
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Difficult news is everywhere recently—climate disasters, refugee crises, and wars are among the devastating headlines. Lacking up-to-date resources and tools to respond to the rush of developments, educators have often been at a loss for how best to navigate these conversations in the classroom, especially around topics that can be charged at every angle.

The most recent event, the latest war between Israel and Hamas, will surely test educators as they try to help their students process their emotions and talk about the complex nature of this conflict. Abby R. Weiss—the chief program officer of Facing History and Ourselves, which provides instructional guidance to educators—offers suggestions for how educators can encourage healthy and helpful discussion in the classroom.

Where should teachers start? By checking in with themselves first, Weiss says. When teachers admit to what they don’t know, the moment can provide an opportunity to share a learning experience with their students.

Editor’s Note: Abby R. Weiss is the sister of EdWeek Opinion Editor Elizabeth Rich.

Jaclyn Borowski is the director of photography and videography for Education Week.
Elizabeth Rich is the assistant managing editor, opinion for Education Week.
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