Now I’ve graduated from college and I know that you don’t REALLY need to know the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to be a successful member of society. As a graduate student in social studies education, one of the things that we continuosly struggle with is getting away from fact based learning and attempting to teach our students how to be be great citizens (whatever that means). There is a great emphasis on preparing them by making them great writers and critical thinkers- which are tools that will serve them far longer than being able to recite the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.
However, I must say that I also feel that perhaps our educational systems are failing are students. With so much emphasis on testing , we are forcing our teachers to teach our students how to memorize facts, and then perform what we like to call the data dump- dumping all of the information out as soon as the test is over. At the same time, how can we produce effective members of society when they don’t have basic knowledge of the Constitution, which is the basis of our government?
As a part of my methods and curriculum class, we had to produce a teaching rationale- which basically outlines what types of broad ideas and themes you think are important and that you plan to incorporate as a teacher. Part of what I included in my rationale (excerpt below) was that students would gain an understanding of governmental and societal foundations: