The Freedom of Speech Board is an activity held weekly at Crescenta Valley High School in Mr. Hall’s classroom, the AP US History teacher. The Freedom of Speech Board which consists of reading articles on various topics and so called controversial issues has gained publicity for its complexity in agendas. Previous topics include questions such as “Is The Onion taking its satire too far on President Trump’s presidency?” and “Is kneeling an appropriate form of public protest?”
Students have an opportunity to formally debate and share their opinions on the issues as well as an environment to express reasons for their viewpoints. Students are allowed one week to analyze the social issue in articles, personal anecdotes, and additional research. Students who choose to participate have an opportunity to earn credit for debating and discussing their formal thoughts with the class.
The weekly debate is hosted by a different student leader for every topic. Students can lead their classmates in a formal debate that is based on an article provided by Mr. Hall himself. The formal debate is concluded with a vote to determine the final count of those who agree or disagree with the main question.
An interview with Mr. Hall brought to light his motive for starting such a procedure in his classroom. Mr. Hall recalled, “I started this activity after gaining inspiration from my old college professor. I believe that it is an effective way to teach students to share their opinions while being open minded to opposing views. I also believe it is an interactive way to learn about ongoing issues and controversial topics.”
Student Jasmine Ji shared her opinions on this classroom activity by claiming, “I really enjoy the Freedom of Speech Board because it allows me to freely share my thoughts in a safe and comfortable environment. Through this activity I was able to learn about several topics that I was not aware about prior to the activities. My favorite activity was the question regarding kneeling as a form of protest because it is a topic that is frequently discussed among younger generations.”
The Freedom of Speech Board is regarded as an effective activity that informs and teaches students valuable lessons on today’s societal issues. This program is predicted to expand and develop students’ reasoning and knowledge with more practice in public discussions. Students and teachers of Crescenta Valley High School look forward to the future of the Freedom of Speech Board.
Caroline Kim, Grade 11
Crescenta Valley High School