Pickaway News Journal

Thu, Mar 23, 2017

Here's what I think...

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Ty Ankrom

I am a fan of technology. I enjoy taking advantage of its advances, from smartphones and tablets to posting and tweeting. But as technology evolves, I worry that civility is devolving.

This has occurred to me when I've read comments on a Web site post, watched people anchored by dissenting views on a news program or witnessed unnecessary aggression by drivers.

The lack of civil discourse has risen to the level that some people think common courtesy is worthy of a subject to be taught in school.

In Ohio, a curriculum for middle-school children has been produced to teach civility. The Thomas J. Moyer Legacy Committee Middle School Civility Project was created by Teddy Mwonyonyi of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

The curriculum contains seven lessons that focus on identifying and witnessing civility, rights and responsibilities (as tied to free speech), communication and conflict resolution, and service learning.

I am conflicted about the need for an actual curriculum on civility. While the curriculum offers wonderful learning avenues (see the full curriculum at www.oclre.org/sites/default/files/documents/MoyerLegacyFundCivilityProject.pdf), I wonder if the best way to teach civility isn't by modeling it ourselves.

There is nothing wrong with honest, spirited debate. There is nothing wrong with having strong opinions. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree.
But opinions aren't right or wrong. So it's important to be respectful of each other's views.

At a time when any moment can be caught on video and posted online, it's also important to remember that a lapse in judgment could go viral.

Let's learn from one another and accept that a different perspective is not the wrong one.

And maybe if adults are civil to one another, young people will learn to do the same.

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