You really don’t have to think too much to realize that any assignment that evokes a visceral emotional reaction on the part of a CHILD (and you can classify anyone up to grade 12 in this way, in that they still,most likely, lack adult coping mechanisms to deal with such emotions) is……stupid.
The classroom is not a place for:
- Exercises which force the student to “put themselves in the place of” a controversial role of the present or past to which they may identify in some way, such as the above exercise. Learning about the roles can be accomplished dispassionately; assuming those roles is very different.
- Challenging students deeply held personal views, particularly regarding religion. There;s a difference for example, in telling a fundamentalist student “Look, keep your views; but here’;s what you need to know about evolution to score well on the SAT” and insisting to them that Darwin disproved their religious beliefs.
- Partisan political discussions, unless the groundwork/structure is laid so well (e.g., a formal debate using the rules of debate) that the chances for the emotive response are diminished. Political views of children come from their parents, and diminishing the views of a child’s parents never ends well.