Engaging with difference

It is often said that polite conversation should not be about either politics or religion – but such a view is dangerously limiting, and stops us from engaging with our students on two fundamentally important aspects of global life. In the hyper-connected global setting in which we live, knowing what others think and believe is of overwhelming importance.

Being able to understand the context of, and to be able to think from the point of view of, another human being, whether religiously or politically, is the single most important interpersonal skill we need in the 21st century.

When our students leave secondary education, most are also leaving home and going out into the world; it is a great disservice to them, to the world as a whole, to send them out unprepared to engage with it in a productive way – as citizens and voters – either within their own country or globally.

To not do so, to not give young people even a basic understanding of how politics and religion interact in the 21st Century is rather like sending them behind the bike sheds to learn about sex. They will learn something, but not necessarily what they need to know.

This ‘in brief’ article first appeared in our free UKEdMagazine, which is available to view by clicking here.

@earthdog_58 Teacher – Beijing

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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