When it comes to keeping students engaged, aspiring teachers could take a lesson from Norm Williams.
Williams has taught social studies at Stowe High School for decades. He’s known for encouraging students to discuss and debate current events, and both global and local issues. Williams skillfully asks questions that get students thinking and talking without steering them toward a particular viewpoint.
For instance, during the 2012 presidential race, his students watched all three presidential debates and discussed them at length in class. Each student was assigned a particular topic — the economy, foreign policy, women’s issues — and assigned to write a paper about the candidates’ stands and how they changed or stayed the same during their campaigns.
Williams encourages his students to become involved with their community. They are assigned to attend and offer summaries of select board and school board meetings and often attend March Town Meeting as a class.