[Today, instead of just passing on interesting bits of news, I'm writing a post that contains all seven of the basic sentence patterns. In the comments, see if you can identify one example of each sentence pattern. Because this post is more than seven sentences long, there are multiple possible answers. Have fun!]
This Week in Education recently posted "Campaign 2010: Turning Students into Voters" about an initiative by Rock the Vote to provide high schoolers with civics education and encourage them to register as voters. According to the press release, "Democracy Class" gives students information about "the history of voting, the connection between issues they care about and those they elect to office, and their right to vote."
If you have ever struggled to understand the working of the U.S. government or worried about the apathy of the nation's voters, you know that civics education is badly needed; however, this kind of civics education cannot make students smart voters unless they also receive training in critical thinking skills.
Students' passion and eagerness to change the world are great advantages, but without wisdom to accompany it, undirected enthusiasm can make students--and adults--rash.
Let me give you an example. You donate money to an advocacy organization, but you don't research the way it spends donations. Later, you find out that the organization wasn't reputable, and your money never reached the people you wanted to help. You had the best intentions but lacked the wisdom to steward your resources well.
The same thing is true in political engagement. Your right to vote is also a resource to steward. You may vote because you care about an issue, but if you don't have the facts, your vote may not produce the effect you want.
Knowing about the voting process and the importance of voting is great, but we also need to teach students to think carefully about the issues that matter to them and to do their research, so they will be not only active citizens, but informed citizens.
After all, what you support and why you support it are equally important as how you support it.
As teachers, mentors, and tutors, we do have to answer some "how" questions. For example, how do we approach the study of civics in order to teach our older students not what to think, but how to think and reason in pursuit of wisdom and truth? The answer will be different for every family and every student, but it's worth considering.
[Look for answers to the grammar challenge on Monday!]