The Teachable Moment: Election 2004: Every Social Studies Class Holds Special Importance This Fall. Thoughtful Young Citizens Are Being Formed and in Presidential Election Years, No Future Voter Can Be Left Behind
Golston, Syd, Social Education
THE ORIGINAL IMPETUS BEHIND the creation of free public education was the need for an informed electorate. Social studies stands at center stage every four years in American schools, and in a welcome reversal, English teachers collaborate with us as they assign political topics for essays and term papers. In elementary classrooms, teachers affirm the importance of the election with their bulletin board space, tricolored bordette and all.
Yes, we will teach about the election. But what will we teach? Most importantly, how will we teach it? Charles Quigley, of the Center for Civic Education, describes best practice this way: "Democracy requires citizens with the capacity to inquire, evaluate, advocate, and defend positions on civic matters. Democratic citizens must also learn how to monitor and influence their government in the many ways that are available to them. Development of these capacities requires both attention to appropriate content and the use of methodologies that bring the subject to life and help students develop the necessary intellectual and participatory skills."'
The activities below emphasize active learning and respect for K-12 students as individuals who can indeed inquire, develop an opinion, and even influence the electorate in their own age appropriate ways. A child who can write can help to bring out the vote with a postcard or an e-mail to his grandparent, and a high school student can work at a political headquarters years before she or he can actually cast an official ballot.
Gather and display bi-partisan election materials.
Start the collection …
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Publication information: Article title: The Teachable Moment: Election 2004: Every Social Studies Class Holds Special Importance This Fall. Thoughtful Young Citizens Are Being Formed and in Presidential Election Years, No Future Voter Can Be Left Behind. Contributors: Golston, Syd - Author. Journal title: Social Education. Volume: 68. Issue: 5 Publication date: September 2004. Page number: 313+. © 2008 National Council for the Social Studies. COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group.
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