Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Social Studies

Civics classes and social studies in elementary, Jr. High schools, high schools and colleges are ideal places to teach and model winning together citizenship and government.  It can start with creating a structured community of the class where social studies and citizenship are taught. Actually this can work in any class. I taught in collaboration with students in speech and drama classes in junior high school.  The students and teacher develop a vision for the class together Example: “our cooperative class is interesting, exciting and meaningful for students and teacher. Everyone respects each others space, privacy and input and contributes to the success of the class by listening to the teacher, bringing in reports and assignments as agreed, prepare for tests and .working together to solve problems and create an excellent, satisfying learning / teaching environment. We participate in a school wide initiative to co-create a democratic, representative school climate.”  

The class and the school, elect, if possible by consensus, if not by parliamentary procedure, officer to “coordinate” the business of the class and the school in cooperation with the teacher, school officials and school district and other governmental requirements

Note: while parliamentary procedure can be very useful, it can also emphasize competition too much therefore loosing the sense of unity in working together.  The “looser” in elections often drops out and doesn’t stay involved in the process; therefore loosing great resources for the community. ( We will compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of parliamentary procedure and consensus decision making in another blog.)

Our representative form of government works best when citizens have had an opportunity to learn to be active and involved citizens by participating in representative, cooperative families and schools where their needs and preferences have been  taken into account and they have learned to take other citizens into account as well. And where their ideas, objections and other input have been taken into account in collaborative decision making and/ or reaching mutually agreed upon solution for the community. This experience of  provides students opportunities to learn citizenship and government by participating in it early on can lead to more active citizen;  and it also results in a more representative and effective government.

Felipe Garcia


Jacob said...

As a college student I feel that your idea of establishing a mutual goal or vision between a teacher and student would benefit all parties immensely-once all parties come to a consensus, everybody wins.

5:47 PM CDT  

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