I am deeply saddened by the Parisian tragedy of yesterday and for all those involved, both directly and indirectly. I'm also utterly amazed by the outpouring of response from journalists via professional publications and the common man via social media; it is truly a reminder of just how much free speech DOES pervade our society, perhaps more now than ever. Through social media, anyone can have a global audience.
Today our world is infiltrated with many more words of pain, sympathy, confusion, frustration, and anger. In just a few minutes on Twitter, I noticed immediately the variety of hashtags trending on the subject. To name a few, #jesuischarlie, #jenesuischarlie, and #jesuisahmed, all rich with varied perspectives and emotions. History is being shaped by so many more perspectives, and as educators it is a solemn reminder to me of our calling to help students be informed consumers of media, constantly noting the unique backgrounds and contexts that shape both facts and opinions.
Should you happen to bring the topic into your classroom for learning and discussion, challenge your students to consider the many perspectives surrounding the reaction to this event, think all the way around the issue, evaluate ideas for bias and credibility, and then form personal opinions. If then they will contribute their own ideas to the global conversation in a way that is productive and moves the conversation forward, we will be one step closer to creating modern thinkers and leaders.