Wendell Brooks teaches ninth-grade world history at Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California. Situated near the University of California at Berkeley, the high school has 3,500 students representing the city's ethnic and socioeconomic diversity.
Mr. Brooks began his year by reviewing the U.S. history that students had studied the previous year and looking at the rise of democratic ideas. By the time students got to the lesson on competing ideologies, they had studied world history through World War I, focusing on patterns of interaction among nations and their ideologies. Mr. Brooks expected students to have a solid understanding of economics, the concept of the nation-state, and the contractual relationship between each type of government and its citizens.
The lesson "Competing Ideologies" fell within the unit Years of Crisis, which covered the international tensions that existed between the world wars. The lesson was based on two specific standards within the California Frameworks:
1) Analyze the emergence of capitalism as a dominant economic pattern and the responses to it, including Utopianism, Social Democracy, Socialism, and Communism
2) Analyze the rise of totalitarian governments after World War I.
In this lesson, Mr. Brooks used the Socratic method to generate class discussion by asking questions, and then asking students to discuss the thinking behind different governing ideologies during the "years of crisis."
The class went on to study units on World War II, the Holocaust, and the postwar world. Mr. Brooks built on the concepts presented in "Competing Ideologies" to help his students understand the ongoing connection between ideologies and world events.
Lesson Background >>