Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Making Civics Real Workshop 3: Public Policy & the Federal Budget  
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Workshop 3

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Teacher Perspectives
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Student Perspectives: Working in groups

Alex: Working in groups is my favorite type of work. I’m not a big fan of working out of textbooks. We’re almost always doing something in a group. Most people perceive that the loud people are going to control [and] the quiet people are going to be more passive. I noticed that in our group. [One student] is a very smart person and very intelligent speaker. At first, he was very dominant. Then we all started to kind of mesh together and we worked very well as a group, which surprised me. When she was calling off the names that first day I was like, “Wow.” Our entire group is very vocal, except for me. Most of the other groups would have a few people that would probably dominate and a few people that wouldn’t. In our group it was four people that dominated and then me that would probably sit back and not say very much. I thought that was kind of a strange group but it worked out really great. I think that everybody contributed and did a great job. I know that I can be as vocal as I want to. Normally I might have something to say but I just don’t. I really wanted to do this and this was really exciting. I kind of stepped up and made my appearance more visible in our group. I think my confidence has really increased from this experience. I probably will be more vocal on upcoming occasions when we do something like this, which is good, because I need to be doing stuff like that.

For people who are quiet, it’s a very uncomfortable class. Most classes you sit and read out of the book and then you get a worksheet and you do busy work the entire class period. This class is completely different. I’ve always enjoyed working in groups whether I’m a quiet person or not. I may not always contribute but I enjoy doing it. There are people that just absolutely hate it. I personally enjoy group work, but I think most of the people that are quieter tend to rather work by themselves. This class offers it for some things, like writing papers. You are obviously going to write them by yourself. But this class is so much about group projects that some of the other students may feel uncomfortable.

Caitlin: I feel that we put in more than I could separately. We have different opinions, so you are getting different ideas. This is something that I would have never thought of, as opposed to what my friend thought of. I feel sometimes that I am too overbearing. I try and take the leadership role too often. Sometimes I kind of dominate over the other people. I am working on that, but I feel that we tried to get everybody’s input.

George: I usually don’t like working in groups, but this time it has been so different. A group is contingent on the work of one person usually. In a group like this, where we have several people who are responsible, it’s not so bad. Because it’s an [honors-level] class where everyone has their own politics and their own opinion, we are getting more of a learning experience. Everyone has something to say.

Sarah: I love working in groups because it provides me with more input. Sometimes I’m not sure of the answer or what I think would be most important and I want someone else’s input. That really helps me. Sometimes I do like to do things on my own though because whatever I think is the right answer I want to stick with and I’m not very good at compromising, but it’s good to have input.


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