Is your classroom ready for a ‘teachable moment’?

For a first year class in political science, last week’s chaos provided an ideal ‘teachable moment’.

As 300 students convened for a lecture on Minority Government and Constitutional Conventions on Thursday, Twitter alerted some students that senior Federal Minister Simon Crean planned to make a dramatic announcement. With quick thinking, Professor John Murphy broadcast the Parliament House media conference live using the auditorium AV system. Guest lecturer Nick Reece and Professor Murphy then abandoned the scheduled lecture topic in favour of an extended question and answer session, probing the breaking news. They invited students to think about next steps for the political players involved, the rules and strategic options for Australian political parties, the roles of factions, historical precedents and the nature of human ambition. A memorable Politics class followed, promoting engaged and critical reflection by hundreds of bright students.

Democracy may be confronting at times, but it also makes for a brilliantly lively conversation between teachers and students in the classroom.

— “A day in Politics
Glyn Davis, From the Vice-Chancellor
28 March 2013

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