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: Using constructivist methodologies with other topics

JoEllen Ambrose: I find a great challenge in putting together a class. There’s a balance that we need between content (the knowledge that we’d like people to have) and the process piece, the performance piece, the piece that makes teaching fun. I enjoy when they do an active kind of simulation. The first unit we talked about different legal processes. They role-played a mediation. In groups of three, they were a divorcing couple. It was a he/she thing, and they had to work out some resolution to some very difficult issues. In the role of mediator, they had to be neutral and suggest ideas.

In the constitutional law unit, we role-played an appellate argument. We had them arguing in [pairs]. The kids had read the case. The justices were prepared as well and asking questions of the lawyers. In criminal procedure, we do a mock trial, where they actually role-play the opening statements and the witnesses and the whole nine yards. I’ve done the polling exercise with issues in constitutional law. That format worked great with free speech.


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