Brexit, the term coined to describe the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (EU), has been a topic of great significance and controversy in recent years. As an educator, it is essential to ensure that students understand Brexit – its background, implications, and challenges for the future. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to teach students about Brexit.

1. Background and Reasons for Brexit

Begin by providing the necessary context for Brexit. Explain how it originated from long-standing debates between Eurosceptics and Europhiles within the UK, ultimately culminating in a public referendum on EU membership in 2016. Discuss factors that contributed to the vote for Brexit including economic concerns, immigration, and dissatisfaction with EU political processes.

– Introduce concepts such as state sovereignty and supranational organizations.

– Mention key players, like former Prime Minister David Cameron and current Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

– Discuss how opinions about Brexit varied among different socio-economic groups and regions within the UK.

2. The Referendum and its Aftermath

Dive into the 2016 referendum itself, emphasizing its significance as a public decision-making process.

– Discuss the campaigns for “Leave” and “Remain”: their objectives, arguments, strategies, and key figures.

– Present statistical data on voting patterns among different age groups, regions, or social backgrounds.

– Explain the aftermath of the referendum: political turmoil that ensued (resignation of Cameron, appointment of Theresa May), negotiations with the EU (Article 50), multiple extensions granted by European leaders in response to internal UK divisions on terms of withdrawal.

3. The Withdrawal Agreement and Negotiations

Provide an overview of the complex negotiations between the UK and EU following the referendum.

– Discuss key issues debated during negotiations:

– Citizens’ rights: rights of EU citizens living in UK & vice versa

– Financial settlement: the “divorce bill”

– The Irish border and the “backstop” issue

– Explore the Withdrawal Agreement, a legally binding document setting out divorce terms:

– Highlight key aspects of the Agreement

– Describe how it was received by the UK Parliament (multiple rejections), leading to Theresa May’s resignation

– Discuss the appointment of Boris Johnson and his objective to renegotiate the deal.

4. Brexit’s Impact on the United Kingdom and European Union

Analyze the consequences of Brexit on both the UK and EU.

– Economic impact: trade, investment, access to single market, currency fluctuations.

– Political consequences: polarization within UK politics, impact on future UK-EU relationships.

– Social implications: impact on EU citizens in UK, implications for UK citizens living or working in EU countries.

– Address potential long-term consequences: for instance, Scotland’s push for independence and renewed EU membership

5. Approaching Brexit in the Classroom

Finally, consider effective strategies for engaging students in discussions and debates about Brexit.

– Encourage critical thinking by presenting opposing viewpoints and encouraging students to evaluate arguments or develop their stance.

– Use a variety of media sources (news articles, videos) to keep students informed about ongoing developments.

– Include group or individual projects, such as researching specific Brexit-related topics or producing presentations outlining potential post-Brexit scenarios.

– Incorporate debates or role-playing activities where students assume different roles (politician, citizen, etc.) to better understand Brexit-related issues.

Choose your Reaction!