By Rodrigo Gutierrez, History Teacher
Should public figures from the past be judged by today’s moral standards? Ninth-graders chose that topic for the Freshman Forum because of its relevance, especially with recent controversies regarding the reevaluation of the legacies of John Wayne, Michael Jackson, and others.
I had the pleasure of being the faculty mentor for the Freshman Forum this year. The process takes about six to eight weeks. Students volunteer to be part of the Forum and give up free time to prepare. After identifying students that want to participate, they discuss and debate possible topics. After they choose a topic, they research it. Students have a small tryout, and then we work together to assign roles. Once students have their roles or positions, they go through the writing process: outline, rough drafts, and final speech. Along the way, they get advice and revisions from faculty members and others.” (more…)
Posted in: Highlights, Ninth Grade, Upper School
AC’s ongoing pursuit of civil discourse in society was challenged during this year’s Sophomore Forum. Following its counterparts for the Junior Class, Should Celebrities Speak Out?, and the Senior Class, Standing Up for Civil Discourse, this year’s Sophomore Forum tackled the topic of “Toxic Masculinity”, prompted by the recent Gillette commercial, “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be”. The ad has stimulated a lot of discussion on social media about what toxic masculinity is, if it’s a bad thing, and what we should be doing (if anything) to address it. (more…)
Should celebrities speak out on political issues?
Jessica Sherin (as Barbra Streisand), Gifford Campbell (as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones), Matt Duver (as Penguins coach Mike Sullivan), and Riley Leibeck (as Fox News’ Laura Ingraham) discussed the topic at AC Junior Forum Thursday, December 13th, with moderator Evelyn Van Arsdale.
They addressed whether athletes should be allowed to kneel during the national anthem, First Amendment freedom of speech rights, who is really “qualified” to state political opinions, and more in a riveting discussion.
Forums are conducted in each of the four Upper School grades. The seniors went first discussing whether civil discourse was possible in today’s democracy.
We see it every day: increasingly polarized and unfiltered outbursts on hot-button issues, shouting back-and-forth with neither side giving credit to the arguments of the other, and falsehoods repeated with assertive tones. This isn’t a children’s playground, it’s the world around us.
Is there room for civil discourse in today’s democracy? How do we prepare students to engage in public discourse with strategies for success and resilience? (more…)
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School