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Keeping a group of lively teenage students interested in politics can prove a challenge at the best of times; ask any teacher.
But when one Danish teacher spotted iReport’s call for thoughts on the U.S. election and how it affects the international community, he sensed an opportunity for his classes.
English and history teacher Anders Burman works at Orestad Gymnasium school in the Danish capital of Copenhagen. He felt that encouraging his students to send in questions and thoughts to CNN on the presidential race would give them the perfect platform to engage and learn more about an election that will have an impact beyond U.S. borders.
And keep them busy in the classroom.
“I thought it would be interesting for them, to give them experience from a learning English perspective as their language skills would improve but also because they would actually be producing something,” he said.
“The iReport assignment creates variation and adds relevancy to the course, which is important to keep students engaged in the subject.”
Students responded to two assignments: one inviting iReporters to send in their questions for the candidates, the other asking for international iReporters to send in their views on key subjects such as foreign policy and taxation.
Student Sarah Gaub and her friend, Puk, for example, wanted to share their thoughts on the contrast between Denmark and the U.S. when it came to public service funding and taxes, an issue that has proved one of the most divisive in the election. Their thoughts provided an illuminating glimpse into how the rest of the world views issues that have bubbled to the surface in the U.S. elections.
"Because we are a small country, we have a policy to take care of everybody," Sarah said in her iReport. "It is how we are raised. That is why we have a system where the richest pay more in taxes, so everybody can have the same benefits."
The students also sent in videos asking the candidates questions about the environment, education, health care and immigration – in short, much the same topics that have exercised U.S. voters’ imaginations in recent months.
In the remaining weeks leading up to Election Day on November 6, the classes will continue to follow the major events and debates on the election schedule. On the day itself, Burman will be gathering the classes together for an “election morning” where they will watch coverage - on CNN of course, in addition to local media - and study the results.
“I hope that they will learn more about U.S. politics and the U.S. electoral system in general,” says their teacher, who added that using digital platforms such as iReport meant that the students could also acclimatize to a news landscape that increasingly embraces digital tools to gather, and disseminate, information.
“By creating a video that answers or asks a certain question, the individual student is encouraged to search for, sift through, and select relevant information on the subject,” he said.
“Sifting through and selecting information is a very important discipline [for students] in today's digital world.”
We’re glad iReport can be one of their teaching aids!
Very good idea!
very good idea!!!!!!
very good idea
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