A lesson about interactive politics

Not every student gets to interact in a lesson shaped by their own voices and experiences, but in Brian Halverson’s government class the topic is always relevant and the discussion is always new.


Despite already planning out the topic and main discussion points for the day the feedback Halverson gets from his students is used to actively debate and engage in conversation instead of standing in front of a whiteboard and lecturing them for half an hour straight.


Halverson is sure his lessons don’t always get across on the first day, usually requiring some time to digest and think over before they become clear.


“I think sometimes I try to muddy the water so they’ll have clarity later on,” Halverson said. Some students might find his teaching method odd at first, but it teaches students how to better understand someone who is debating their points and opinions in the real world.


Halverson said he believes there have been situations where the way his messages have left the classroom, and without him there to explain his intentions clearly, other teachers and/or parents haven’t quite understood his message. Halverson has been mindful as he gets to know students to take their personalities and/or relatives into consideration to keep each lesson smooth and orderly.


Government has always seemed to be a natural fit for Halverson to teach, who said he wants to keep each class on current affairs and open for discussion. He has been teaching government for 10 years, and he said he plans to continue into the foreseeable future.


“I want students to become more informed on the way public policy is made,” Halverson said. “I want students to strengthen their own political compasses and opinions so they can understand their role in political policy and how to fix things.”