As educators know, extraordinary opportunities for learning come from those often unpredictable and unscripted teachable moments. Those moments that are not ‘text-book’ and yet provide students with valuable occasions for critical thinking, reflection and deeper learning.
On Friday, our government missed a teachable moment when the Prime Minister rejected appeals for the resettlement of Rohingya refugees stranded at sea in South East Asia.
The aim of government policy is ultimately designed to improve the lives of citizens whether it be access to universal healthcare or quality education. Our politicians are elected community leaders. They are also teachers – reflecting our values, sense of identity and hopes for the future.
This generation of Australian students will be key to solving future challenges including how we aid and assist those fleeing war and persecution.
I’m not sure what values were imparted or what lessons our students learned from Friday’s response but I am reminded of the second stanza of our National Anthem:
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
With refugee week coming up in June, perhaps the word for our politicians here is – courage.
There are government and Catholic schools across western Sydney who have welcomed children from around the world (many from war-torn nations) into its classrooms and communities. These students are all contributing to a more inclusive and diverse society.
These students have stories of courage to share – and something to teach our politicians.
7 thoughts on “Missing a teachable moment”
As a first generation Australian, I welcome this post with a bang. The same blood runs through these refugee’s veins but we dismiss their spiritual poverty and the physical poverty and their character poverty with a few words in a policy.
Perhaps the Government could get a lesson from the “Inn keeper” who found somewhere for Mary and Joseph, arguably some of the most recognised refugees. They are knocking at our “innkeeper door” and we reply “I have no room”…heart wrenching.
Thanks for your comments Rita.
As educators we all know the value of teaching children in context. The values that we espouse as Catholics are in line with those that we recognise as a nation. They are deeply routed in our sense of dignity, freedom and helping those who are less fortunate. What mixed messages are we giving to our children when we emphasise these values and then reject people whose very lives are ‘on the line’? Appalling.
This government misses many teachable moments! Perhaps they have nothing to teach and much to learn
It seems to me that the government is acquiescing ( one might say yet again!) to the vocal minority – the redneck ” commentators” and to their sense of self preservation – what will get me re elected. I have taught refugee children in many schools -catholic and state and have heard their stories first hand.some are so harrowing that you just admire their ability to get to school each day. You are right Greg to quote our national anthem- we say that we will share, but the reality is that we don’t like to share -we didn’t when my family and I came to Australia over 50 years ago and we don’t now. And we won’t until as a nation we embrace compassion and the idea of mateship extends beyond just our own” kind” .
Greg, I hear your voice all the way across the pond to Canada, where we too, have a heartless and conniving Prime Minister.
I have never been more ashamed to be an Australian as I am whenever the whole issue of our Government’s Refugee Policy is discussed. Our PM’s lack of compassion for all refugees is certainly a teachable moment.