I am pleased with enotes’ newly stated stance on educators answering political questions that students ask. Here is a copy of the message from the editorial team I received in early November.
It can be tough to know what to do when faced with a question that touches on today’s hot-button social and political issues. In an effort to make things a little easier, the review team has put together a few additional guidelines about answering opinion-based questions (see the full list of guidelines here).
1. If a question doesn’t explicitly ask for your opinion on a controversial issue, avoid offering it; stick to a discussion of the bare facts and try to represent multiple perspectives in a balanced way.
2. When a question does explicitly ask for your opinion on a controversial subject, it’s okay to include your beliefs in your answer—just make sure you identify your beliefs as opinion and include counterarguments and other perspectives.
In short, we recommend you answer controversial questions the way you would in your own classroom: by advocating on behalf of a variety of perspectives and making students’ learning your priority. Our number one goal is not to explain our own perspectives but rather to help students figure out what they believe.
If you have any questions about the best way to tackle a tricky question, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the editorial team. We’re always happy to hear from you!
The eNotes Editorial Team