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ERIC Number: EJ1107949
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7996
"Contested Rights": The Pedagogy and Logistics of Hosting Constitution Day
Miracle, Amanda; Smith, Michael; Anderson, Kevin; Catlett, Rob
Social Studies, v107 n5 p153-159 2016
To seriously consider one's rights under the US Constitution, one must grapple with the realization that many rights are not absolute. Instead, they are contested. But how to introduce younger students to such a complex concept, given short attention spans? In this article, we discuss the opportunities, pitfalls, and planning logistics of the 2013 Constitution Day celebration at Emporia State University, a regional university in Kansas. "Contested rights" emerges as the central theme. Planned well in advance, the event brought middle and high school students from near and far to hear a keynote address and then attend a series of twenty-minute "mini-teach" breakout sessions with topics such as how voting rights vary across time and among the states today, the importance of the lesser-known Constitutional framer George Mason, a "pop quiz" on some basic concepts of the Constitution, and even a session debriefing the students about the keynote address itself. A local community group participated in the planning and led one of the breakout sessions. Overall, this approach proved a powerful way to introduce younger students to the Constitution and our campus, in a way that did not tax their attention spans. The fundamental, pedagogical theme is that rights are not absolute, but contested: the ongoing debate over rights versus responsibilities frames our understanding of the Constitution. This fits well with the university's new strategic plan, which centers on the common good.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kansas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A