Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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LINK: Social Studies in Action Home Image of a high school student in the classroom.
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Classroom Profile | Lesson Background

Read this information to better understand the lesson shown in the video.

Content: Ideologies
An ideology is a doctrine or belief that forms the basis of political, economic, or other systems.

Democracy is a form of government based on participation by an informed citizenry and majority rule, with protection of minority rights. The values of a democratic society include the protection of individual civil liberties; commitment to individual dignity without government intrusion; freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly; and processes and institutions to seek justice under due process of law. A direct democracy is one in which citizens make and vote on laws directly. Ancient Greece was a direct democracy, as are the local governments of some New England towns today. In an indirect, or representative democracy, citizens vote for persons who will hold office and represent their views.

Democracy allows for the formation of competing political parties, a choice among candidates, and regularly held elections that follow processes established by law. A cornerstone of democracy is an educated citizenry who are prepared and willing to exercise civic rights and responsibilities. Capitalism in democratic nations is characterized by mostly privately owned industries and production based on supply and demand.

Image of Wendell Brooks classroom.Fascism and Nazism are militaristic political philosophies that elevate the nation (and in the case of Nazism, race) above the welfare of the individual. They are based on centralized dictatorial leadership and complete control of all aspects of life by the government. Minorities and dissenters are often persecuted or murdered.

Fascism originated in Italy in 1919 under the leadership of Benito Mussolini and survived until he was deposed in 1943. Nazism, led by Germany's Adolf Hitler from 1921 to 1945, is closely modeled on Italian fascism. Nazi anti-Semitism and persecution of other minorities led to the establishment of concentration camps and to the death of six million Jews and others in the Holocaust. At the turn of the last century, fascism and Nazism were fueled by the dire economic circumstances of the poor and unemployed middle class, who were easily stirred by nationalistic promises and propaganda.

Communism is a social system characterized by government control of the economy -- especially public services, industry, and property. It is based on the theories of political philosopher and economist Karl Marx. Marx believed that history is determined by class struggle and that workers should unite and overthrow the bourgeoisie, thereby ending the unproductive alienation of the working class. He theorized that in the final stages, social classes would disappear along with the clashes between them caused by capitalism.

The first communist state was established in Russia following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the collapse of the government under Tsar Nicholas II. In the years following 1917, communism evolved under Lenin and Stalin. In 1949, Mao Zedong founded the Chinese Communist Party, which was based on Russian communism but adapted to the conditions of China. In 1966 he launched the Cultural Revolution, denouncing intellectuals and replacing local government with revolutionary committees. As China has moved into the modern age, it has become more economically linked to the West. Yet, it has resisted political change -- crushing opponents in a massacre of pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in June of 1989.

Totalitarianism is a form of government that in some instances seeks to control all aspects of public and private life. Limits on individual freedoms are severe. The state controls society's resources and means of production, and determines how goods and services are distributed.

Totalitarian regimes may or may not be sanctioned by a written constitution, but they are generally absolute and controlled by one party. They reject the current state of society, destroy existing institutions and customs, and propose new alternatives. Religion and other aspects of life that inspire loyalty are superseded by allegiance to the state. Fueled by propaganda, totalitarian regimes often use violent processes without the benefit of legal restraint to bring about a new order. China under Mao, Germany under Hitler, Italy under Mussolini, and a more decentralized model in the Soviet Union under Stalin are all examples of totalitarian nations.

Teaching Strategy: Presentation and Examples
Presentations, also called direct instruction, can be used to introduce new topics, build background knowledge about an unfamiliar topic, orient students to complete an activity, or review content. When presenting information, teachers can organize their presentations into a logical sequence, ask a variety of types of questions, use rich examples such as metaphors and analogies that link to the lives of students, and respond to students' questions and comments.

Examples can help students link new learning with what they already know. Teachers can recall personal experiences or use analogies, metaphors, and similes to help students create vivid pictures of what they are learning, clarify complex topics, or think about content in unique and memorable ways.

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