2016 Murrow Awards – Audio News Series “Teaching Tough Topics”

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            [0] => History professor John Neff, director of the University of Mississippi’s Center for Civil War Research, discusses the stone plinth in the center of the Confederate cemetery on the Ole Miss campus in Oxford, Miss. Credit: Sandra Knipsel.
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This Southern Education Desk series explored how teachers tackle tough topics like race, history and religion.This series originally aired on WBHM Dec 1, 2015 – Dec 4, 2015. The above audio compilation contains all four pieces.

0:00 – 4:32 Teaching Tough Topics, Part One: The South’s Real History

Teaching subjects that trigger strong emotions and political divides is challenging. In the South, many of those fault-lines — racial, religious and otherwise — are intimately tied to its history. This week the Southern Education Desk is exploring how teachers tackle tough topics. WBHM’s Dan Carsen starts with an overview of some the major challenges, and some of the ways teachers can get around them. Listen above or read below. Please note this report contains language some might find offensive.

4:38 – 8:06 Teaching Tough Topics, Part Two: Textbook Fight Riles Tennessee

What should school children be taught about Islam? In Southern states such as Florida and North Carolina, parents claim students are being “indoctrinated” with a sanitized version of the Muslim faith. One of the fiercest fights so far is going on right now in Tennessee, possibly revealing the playbook for future battles. Chas Sisk of WPLN reports.

8:09 – 12:07 Teaching Tough Topics, Part Three: Teaching Civil War History As Symbols Fall

In Mississippi, the Civil War still stirs emotions. It’s not so much that teachers disagree on how it should be taught, but that ongoing attempts by the University of Mississippi and several cities across the South to shed Confederate symbols have called up old ghosts. Sandra Knispel reports.

12:12 – 16:20 Teaching Tough Topics, Part Four: Teaching Beyond The Test

Civil Rights, Voter ID laws, Felon Rights. These topics aren’t foreign for teachers and students in Southern classrooms. But what happens when pressure to teach to the test prevents challenging conversations? WWNO’s Mallory Falk looks at one program in New Orleans that’s trying to move beyond rote memorization and make room for controversy.

 

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