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Mike Fleetham Mike's Thinking Classroom Blog


Jesus vs. Santa

Got an interesting question from the sparky, enthusiastic, level-headed JG with whom I have the privilege to work:

"Wondering: What are your thoughts on teaching professionals being ok to tell children Santa exists, but not say that Christmas is about Jesus?"

I took it at face value rather than dig any deeper into why he was asking me. My first thoughts:

My view?
We need to shovel as many debatable, provocative, interesting, curious, contentious, touchy, exciting, questionable, engaging and bold topics into the classroom as we can – then teach our kids how to think them through, expressing opinion, compromising, disagreeing, arguing, managing their anger at others’ difference, growing in their acceptance of contrary views, seeking resolution of difference, creating something new by combining opposites into middle-ways. 

Might this make a generation that will not have to witness another Paris? Another Syria?
So, rather than get involved with the pros and cons of JG's original question, I'd come at it sideways and ask the pupils 2 questions:
1. Who exists most: Santa or Jesus?
2. Who (Santa or Jesus) has left the best trace/trail through history?

I'd give this out on Friday at the end of the day, as homework (prepare your answer at home) then start Monday with a whole class debate leading to written defences, statements, arguments and opinions.

I'd then go back and ask JG why he asked.

What do you think? Are you working through a question like this right now? If you are, what's the middle-way, sideways question you could ask yourself?

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