Social Studies students learn the value of a well-rounded argument

By Ella Wilson
Social Studies Teacher

In Social Studies classes we like to have guest speakers to present their expertise on a variety of subjects. During this term we held two interesting talks via Zoom on the topic of Euthanasia and the social actions held to either promote or stop a law change in end-of-life policy, in preparation for students’ NCEA Achievement Standard assessment.

Our Zoom Guests were Act Party Deputy Leader, Brooke van Velden and Emeritus Professor Dr Rod McLeod, who held a chair as Conjoint Professor in Palliative Care at University of Sydney and Honorary Professorship at the University of Auckland. Both speakers highlighted their opposing stance on Euthanasia: Brooke, on the creation of a member’s bill and the law-making process that she and party leader, David Seymour took; and Dr McLeod on the benefits and use of palliative care in end-of-life situations in New Zealand.

Their viewpoints helped students to both fully understand and to complete their 4 Credit assessment which is due for hand-in before the final day of Term 1.

Year 12 Social Studies has also been incredibly busy with their full attention focused on the Gun Debate currently being waged in the United States. Their assessment is a rigorous Inquiry worth 5 Credits and has been ably supported through the delivery of a superb lesson by our very own Jessica Banks who is at present one of our trained and highly valued Teacher Aides. Jessica was born in Minnesota and gained her BA at the University of Kansas in French Language and Lit, then going on to complete a Masters degree in History leading up to a dissertation for a PhD at Pennsylvania (Penn) State University. Jess is fluent in French and can read Latin text, old English, and Old and Middle French. Her specialities are many: medieval history, Roman religion, and women in religion and Western Civics to name just a few.

Due to Covid it has been impossible to invite specialist speakers into classes. So it was lucky that we had our very own specialist in American life and academic rigour onsite to help out! Jess gave talks to all five Social Studies classes on her day off! As per usual, Jessica was on fire and was so well-prepared for all manner of questions that students were keen to ask. As a native born American, Jess can attest to the levels of gun violence and the senseless loss of lives due to indiscriminate and illegal gun use. Students are well-prepared for hand-in.