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Students Talk Politics With Teacher In The USA

Screenshot of virtual Politics lesson

Year 12 and 13 Politics students met virtually with Robert Markatos, an Economics and US Government teacher at Argos High School in Summit, Illinois to learn more about government and the political landscape in the USA.  Mr Markatos is the brother of Miss Laurie Markatos, History and Politics teacher at St Paul’s.

Mr Markatos talked with students for over an hour and started by going over different political topics and explaining institutions and processes of US government, such as the filibuster in the Senate.  He discussed how polarised the current political climate in the United States is and how that impacts on how people treat each other and even affects his friendship groups.  He also looked at political parties and how they affect elections as well as third party potential influences on election outcomes. Synoptic links were made to the UK government and the students really enjoyed making these connections and putting their learning into the discussion with an expert. 

E-learning and school was a hot topic where they compared the situations in both countries for students and teachers.  The students wanted to know his thoughts about how the Biden administration is doing compared to Trump’s and if he thought that bipartisan cooperation in Congress was possible.  They were most interested in hearing about the government’s response to COVID in the USA and how the rules differ not only state to state, but even town to town. 

Students asked Mr Markatos questions about the past Trump administration, the current Biden administration, and the pride that Americans seem to be born with.  Miss Markatos said: “Our students were very curious about American political culture and enjoyed hearing about it from someone first hand.  I had such a sense of pride listening to them have such intelligent discussions about politics.”

The students said that they really appreciated being able to talk to someone who is living in the USA  and has experienced the Obama, Trump, and now the Biden administrations.  They appreciated the way he explained things clearly and took their questions, making sure that they understood his answers.  Students were also very keen to share their opinions with him. Mr. Markatos was very impressed with our students’ maturity, political astuteness and ability to articulate their side of a debate.  He also said that the students’ passion for politics was shining through and that it is very clear that they have a vast understanding of the workings of US government.

Miss Markatos said:  “All the students said that they really enjoyed the event and that they wished it was longer!” 

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