The Syrian Crisis is sparking discussion, debate and engagement in classrooms across the nation, this month. That includes Roosevelt High School's American History class right here in Sioux Falls.
With media coverage day in and day out, it's hard to miss the latest developments. Even Roosevelt High School juniors and seniors know it's important to stay connected with the decisions of, not only our president, but the role our country has in foreign affairs.
Video of chemical attacks has become almost normal when it comes to coverage of unrest in Syria. And for Mr. Tyler Fitz's American History class:
Mr. Fitz: "Does anyone know where President Obama stands on this?"
...The latest developments have become a tool sparking quality debate about what the United States is doing and what it should do going forward.
Mr. Fitz: "He's since backed away from launching missile strikes and turned to Congress."
"It's really exciting we have a president that's going to look to congress to help decide what's going to happen with this big decision. The students understand what this decision means. The fact that we're able to come together and argue points of view, and understanding each other's perspectives like we did this class, out in D.C. it's even more important. So I'm excited to hear that. Good to hear that," RHS history teacher Tyler Fitz said.
Talking about President Obama's announcement to hold off on a decision and whether the U.S. should strike.
"It all depends on how bad it gets. If it keeps getting worse, how much are we willing to put into it. how much is a life worth?" RHS senior Marc Larsen said.
The feeling among students in class was mixed.
Mr. Fitz: "It's just going to keep getting worse, escalating?"
RHS student: "If we don't do anything, it's like no one else will do anything..."
"It's good to know what's going on around the world just so you know the situations to make decisions, someone talking about it outside of class, you can always interject. It's fun, or I think it is at least," Junior Nels Tabbert said.
Mr. Fitz: "...and in that case, who is a possible enemy? Russia? It's cold war all over again, that's not even until second semester!"
"I thought it was a good discussion, it was fun," Tabbert said.
Regardless what the future holds, Fitz knows conversation and engaging his students today is crucial.
"So, what I try to do is tie in some news reels, clips, from YouTube to try to make that connection and bridge the gap between what we're learning from the past in American History to what's happening today. If they can find that relevance between the two, they're bound to do more successful in class," Fitz said.
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