One of the most dynamic, invigorating and engaging subjects we offer at OLMC is Units 1-4 Politics. In the nearly former iteration of the Study Design (our Year 12s are currently completing the final year of it) the course was known as Global Politics. In a way, we mourn this retiring name. It made the subject sound encompassing, exciting and planet-enveloping. It drew students in by its very ‘need to know about the world’ type of energy.

The title ‘Politics’ could evoke a musty yawn-fest visual at times. This couldn’t be further from the reality of our political classroom!

Once a week, all Politics students at Years 11 and 12 embark on an exploration of ‘what’s really going on around the globe’ via Media Monday or Newsday Tuesday. The objective of these sessions is for agile political students to present issues in the news, link them to elements of the Study Design and then discuss the ramifications of world events on politics, economics, citizens, statehood and the planet.

It is a fascinating part of our weekly sessions. Individual students take a turn to find one or two news items that have piqued their interest and present this to their classmates. The student introduces the topic, outlines the actors, their perspectives and any events that have occurred as a result of the news item. Questions, conversations, fact-checking and critical thinking can ensue. As teachers, we facilitate the discussion and watch as young minds digest the challenges, implications and infinite ways that politics shapes the rhythm and pattern of life on Earth.

It is one of the joys related to our work. It’s also very satisfying to observe students grapple with misinformation as they seek reliable and reputable sources to share.

I had the pleasure to sit in on the most recent Year 12 Media Monday where Siena presented an article about the situation in Israel and Iran. As imagined, the discussion touched on alliances, weapon supply, sovereignty, statehood, famine, UN responses, Australia’s role, the Iranian embassy in Syria and more.

Importantly, the students listened and conversed and decided that although issues can’t be fixed, it is vital that they are understood. Media Monday and Newsday Tuesday are not spaces for hyperbolic opinion or hot-air debate. They are moments in our Politics lessons where our minds can be grown and blown, and our thinking challenged.

Yes, there may be times in Politics where we read about an MP talking about constituency or the latest bill, but as the world is considered ‘our oyster’ according to that well-known idiom, the Politics class is where we scrape away at that very shell.

Rosemary Jones
Humanities Learning Leader