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 5: Patriotism & Foreign Policy  
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Workshop 5

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Teacher Perspectives: Standards

Alice Chandler: All jurisdictions have standards now, so when I’m preparing my class at the beginning of the year, I know there are certain things I wish to do. What I may do is to change how I teach a particular thing for that standard. At this time, I’m using the foreign policy museum. Another time I may decide for the students to write plays or something else that relates to foreign policy on an individual level rather than as a group. I still teach the standards, but I make sure that when I apply things, I apply them so that it will give students the feeling of participating and be meaningful to them.

We must be able to address the standard we’re working with and how it relates to what the District of Columbia has given to us. Despite the fact that we do not have full voting representation in Congress, citizenship is an important standard in the District of Columbia. Every student in the class will tell you that when you turn 18, you receive a voter registration card. Another important standard here is knowing the Constitution and the founding documents. Also, understanding what your rights are and where they are and what are the rights of those people deciding the rights for what you’re doing. Those are very important, I believe, to every young person.

The big emphasis is on passing standardized exams. I think that’s sad because when you go out in the real world, they re-teach you anyway. We understand it’s good for students to be able to read at a certain level but my own belief is that we have to begin to work with student strengths. Not every child’s strength is in doing advanced calculus. This is not to say that they do not need math, because they do need math to function and reading is fundamental. But I dare say that all of us do not need to be able to read Gray’s Anatomy, which is made for doctors. I don’t think we should be required to have students be able to read things that are above and beyond the basics.


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