Gibbs’s detailed description of decision-making around teaching war in a school that taught the children of active-duty soldiers provides an important glimpse into the numerous factors influencing their curricular and pedagogical choices. Gibbs rightly argued that the limited perspective of patriotism that resulted from the teachers’ reluctance to engage their students in a critical analysis of the justness of U.S. wars and foreign policy gives us concern for a robust, liberal democracy. The fear the teachers articulated in broaching the controversial aspects of war correspond to teachers’ reluctance to tackle numerous other controversial topics such as race/racism, religion, politics, class, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Balancing the need teachers share to engage their students in the exploration of complex social issues with a desire to shield students from harmful or uncomfortable interactions involves complex decision-making and ethical judgments. It always involves taking risks by both teachers and students. I propose the jurisprudential framework as a practical guide in developing units around social issues and professional development based in developing collaborative communities of practice in order to create the support necessary for teachers and students to take these risks.
Response to Article
Ethical Reasoning and Risk-Taking When Teaching Patriotism and War. A Response to “The Foot and the Flag: Patriotism, Place, and the Teaching of War in a Military Town”.
Democracy and Education,
(1), Article 5.
Available at: https://democracyeducationjournal.org/home/vol29/iss1/5