Wednesday, August 25, 2010

American Institutions Teachers attend We The People Summer Seminar in Montpelier Va.

The Center for Civic Education provides teachers with professionally made free materials to teach about the United States government to all grade levels K -12. According to their website, " The primary goal of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution is to promote civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s elementary and secondary students." This past summer three American Institutions teachers from our school attended their summer institute at Montpelier, Virginia. The three teachers had the educational experience of their life learning about the teaching of the American Political System. One of the teachers had this to say about their experience:

"In preparation for the Summer Institute participates were asked to read Unit I of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution along with several primary source documents related to the creation of the American Constitution.
The four day seminar consisted of an in depth study of the political, legal and ethical circumstances surrounding the creation of the Constitution. The seminar’s overall goal was to empower teachers to help students, “develop competency in using the founding documents to organize and interpret information, analyze public issues, and evaluate public policy decisions.” The seminar also centered on helping students incorporate a mock Congressional Hearing in the classroom. In the mock Congressional Hearing students are placed in heterogeneous groups and asked to prepare a two-minute opening statement in response to a Constitutional based question (ex. What were the philosophical and historical foundations of the American political system?). After the opening statement, groups are then asked follow-up questions from a panel of judges. By going through this process students are forced to critically analyze the Constitution and apply the principles to current day issues.
There were a number of highlights to the seminar including interacting with Constitutional Scholar Dr. John J. Patrick. Dr. Patrick, who has authored several books on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In addition, participants to the seminar were able to tour James Madison’s estate at Montpelier, observe an active archeological dig and network with teachers from around the nation about the most effective ways to teach about the Constitution. At the end of the seminar the participants were able to experience a mock Congressional Hearing. "
You can learn more about the We the People program at the following links:

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