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Making Civics Real Workshop 7: Controversial Public Policy Issues  
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Workshop 7

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Teacher Perspectives
Student Perspectives
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Teacher Perspectives: Lessons learned

JoEllen Ambrose: Maybe I would ask the [polling] questions a little bit differently to get the kids [to] spread [out] a little bit on their opinions.

I did a lot of [research] for them. I found articles, and maybe they could have used their own research skills. Certainly we could use some critical thinking, for example, “Is this a good source? Why or why not?”

As I look back on the dynamics of those groups that I was watching more closely, I wish I could have told them in advance that they really need to come up with some sort of a conclusion that would cap their argument. One group had a zinger at the end (that the Constitution must be preserved or protected), but other groups didn’t take advantage of that.

I would like to [do] the debriefing [immediately] after the structured controversy. As they built consensus, there was a momentum and an energy that they could have brought into the debriefing. A day later, it’s a little flatter and harder to pull out.

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