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

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Teacher Perspectives
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Teacher Perspectives: Modeling democratic principles

JoEllen Ambrose: As a teacher, I would hope to model some of the democratic values that I’m teaching. The way the class is organized, or at least in the environment of the classroom, I try to nurture some of those values. For example, I think it’s very important that students have some ownership in the class itself. They don’t need to look to me for all the answers or even all the structure. It’s helpful to open it up and say, “What topics would you like to learn?” because there are a variety of different things we can look at. I’m certainly not telling them they can define the curriculum completely, but I’m allowing them to exercise some choice. The second thing I really appreciate is helping kids feel comfortable expressing viewpoints. They’re not going to hear me say, “Oh, that’s wrong. You can’t say that.” There will be an affirmation of their right to give an opinion. There will also be an important [value] that we respect each other, but at the same time, we have to look at ourselves as individuals and support each other in that way.


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