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 7: Controversial Public Policy Issues  
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Workshop 7

Workshop Session
Lesson Plan
Teacher Perspectives
Student Perspectives
Essential Readings
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Student Perspectives: Working in groups and with partners

Becky: As you grow up, you’re almost always working with someone. It’s very rare that you’re ever just going to sit somewhere and not work. Working in a group allows you to see how other people think, and they bring more things to the surface and more issues you hadn’t thought of and that’s what’s going to happen in the real world. You’re going to see that people have different views.

[My partner and I] have been friends since ninth grade and we work very well together. What’s kind of interesting is that I found out she has different views than I do. I kind of knew that going into this, and I thought that would be good because we would really be able to have a discussion. If someone had the exact same views I did, it wouldn’t be any fun. We wouldn’t learn anything and grow but she’s bringing up questions that I hadn’t thought of and she also has a different experience. She lives in Dayton, so it’s a little smaller town. I live in Champlin. That’s the town where supposedly the cops pull over all the young kids. We have different experiences that we’re bringing together and she’s a very good partner. She’ll go home and do all of her homework, which is very nice. I hate getting stuck with someone that isn’t prepared.

Joseph: I think if you do it in a group, you see more viewpoints than just your own, and it’s easier to come up with your own viewpoints because you listen to what other people are saying. It formulates ideas in your head of what to say. Individual worksheets sometimes tend to be more boring. When you’re in a group, it helps liven the activity a little bit. When other people tell you what they feel, it helps get your thought process going, so you can get better ideas instead of just your bias. That might actually help you to decide which way you feel. When you work by yourself, it’s kind of boring, not as fun as when you work with other people.

Rayad: We’re good friends, and basically we got together on this because we know we work [well] with each other. We also like to look at both sides of everything, and we like to get all of the facts together before we take a stand on it.

Renee: I really like the hands-on activities and the group work because you have to work with other people and form sort of a teamwork. A lot of teachers don’t do that. They believe in, “Here’s the assignment. Do the book work and your test will be tomorrow.” She gives us time to work it out as a class, and we get to discuss with other kids. Sometimes kids explain things better than a teacher because they’re at the same understanding level as you are, and I think it’s a really good idea that she has us in the group work because it helps a lot of us out.

Robin: You’re getting other people’s ideas and viewpoints and it’s introducing you to things that you might not have thought of just on your own, so it’s helpful. I don’t really know what [my partner’s] opinion on racial profiling is. Neither of us has really experienced it for ourselves so we’re kind of both in the same position. But it’s something we find interesting and are willing to look into more and see how it’s affecting others.


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