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Despite courses in civics or U.S. government, many students look with apathy upon community or civic affairs, perhaps because they feel that such dry-sounding "stuff" as city codes and regulations have no relevance for them. In addition, adolescence is typically a time of rebellion against authority and institutionalism. This seven week unit, designed for eleventh graders, has been written to help young people see that their government was created to work for them, not against them, and that their opinions and ideas are important to the whole community.

Students will learn the benefits of making themselves heard by the public, and in the process will take a closer look at their own opinions regarding public policy. Their explorations will take the form of role-playing and simulation, reading of poetry and drama, listening to songs and speeches, and researching a community or school project of their own design. English teachers should not let the "civic" sound of this unit discourage them from trying it. Students will see how language skills are used outside their classroom by people in their community to get things done. Because much of the success of the unit depends on student ideas and input, teachers must be prepared to "let go of the reins" a bit more than they typically may.

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©1990 by the Board of Student Publications, University of Northern Iowa



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