Standard 2: Knowledge of principles and processes of governance systems
Concept C: Processes of governance systems
Grade Level Expectation SS2 1.6: Analyze decision-making and conflict resolution in courts at local, state, and national levels (roles of judge, jury, attorneys for prosecution, plaintiff and defense; civil vs. criminal law; court procedures)
Original Instruction: When I taught civics, I enhanced the unit on the Constitutional Convention by teaching students parliamentary procedure. Using Roberts’ Rules of Order (a simplified version), students in my 7th grade classes formulated class constitutions and bills of rights for their hour. Interesting though I found it, the reality was that this “mock” situation had limited application to real life.
Original Assessment: Students really just got credit for being a part of the process. I suppose I could have graded on the correct application of the Rules of Order, but that seemed too complex for young adolescents to use without being given plenty of grace.
Revised Instruction: I would first teach the basic rules of order, but I would expand the application to real problems and conflicts being experienced by students. First with role playing, but ideally including real student-suggested issues, we would conduct one or more trials involving students in the roles of judge, jury, plaintiff, defendant, legal counsel,etc.
Revised Assessment: This would be an ideal place to use self-reflection for inclusion in student portfolios. A rubric would help students understand what it is important to include in their reflections on this experience. The focus would be on how they relate to real-life conflict resolution, both in and outside of the court system.