The Donald Trump era has provided social studies teachers with a new opportunity to better inform their students to make political decisions that become beneficial. Students will need to make political and voting decisions that meet their individual future needs. However, social studies teachers can only accomplish this task by beginning with the students using Personal Mastery to ensure that the personal influences of non-caretakers does not become prominent.
According to the article, Strategies For Evaluating The Trump Presidency In A High School Classroom, social studies teachers are seeking alternative ways to help their students evaluate year one of the Donald Trump era. The social studies teachers believe this especially important because some of their students will be eligible to vote in 2018 and most will be voters in the 2020 presidential election.
Many teachers are incensed with the developments that have occurred since the last presidential election. Many agree with New York Times op-ed writer Michelle Goldberg who recently compared Trump’s election to the Biblical Apocalypse and who worries that democracy in the United States may be fatally damaged. But they also believe that their professional responsibility is to involve students in a thoughtful and non-partisan evaluation of Trump and Republican ideas, proposals, and “accomplishments.”
Herein lies the problem. It appears that the social studies teachers are walking a fine line of double standards. According to James 1:8, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Which is going to be the result of their efforts to help students unless they remove their personal vendetta’ s from the classroom instructional process. Social studies teachers want to have their way of thinking in the process without appearing to violate the mission to educate children in an unbiased instructional format. Personal Mastery will offset the political influence of social studies teachers.
According to Peter Senge, Personal Mastery is the discipline of constant clarification of our personal vision which helps to focus our energies on developing the patience to see reality from an objective rather than subjective perspective. Personal Mastery should become the foundation of learning for all students. It will help social studies teachers help students develop a positive foundation to make choices based on their personal preferences rather that the cloak of deception portrayed in the media. Furthermore, Personal Mastery is an activity that will help students to clarify what is important to them and help them to evaluate and determine their reality as it fits into their external world. In this case, the reality of politics.
Many schools and social studies teachers will resist the usage of Personal Mastery for several reasons. The first challenge for social studies teachers is the perception that Personal Mastery is immeasurable and will not impact the overall instructional goals. The second challenge is associated with cynicism. It cynical to think that without the teacher, a student can actually turn their political ideas into something productive with minimal help from the social studies teachers.
The article suggest that the teacher is the major force in providing students an opportunity to debate their perspectives. This process will only add fuel to the fire in that it supplants division amongst students. It is this division that is causing fights between students and continued racial tensions in schools. Personal Mastery provides an opportunity to eliminate the same tensions that are caused by the debate instructional process in a social studies class regarding events associated with the Donald Trump era. It will eliminate the racial tensions between students, decrease the number of students fights, and even help to eliminate school vandalism for which many students choose to use as an alternative to express their allegiance or opposition to the politics associated with the Donald Trump era.
Finally, to empower a student is counterproductive to the power structure in the classroom. Social studies teachers will feel that the usage of Personal Mastery deemphasizes the importance of their opinions and classroom instruction.
Social studies teachers can implement the following steps to facilitate the process of Personal Mastery by preparing an activity sheet with the following questions:
1) Imagine an occasion when all the politicians in the Unites States of America have accomplished all of their tasks. Describe the experience in present tense. What do the politicians look like? How do the politicians feel? What words would you use to describe the politicians?
2) Describe your personal vision.
- If the United States of America could be exactly the kind of country that you wanted what qualities would the country possesses?
- What is the ideal United States of America?
- What is your desire for the United States of America?
- What type of relationships would you like the citizens of the United States to have with other citizens?
- What type of activities would you like the citizens of the United States to have with other citizens?
3) Use steps 1 and 2 to describe your personal vision. Begin your personal vision with: My vision for the politicians in the United States of America is …
4) Require students to research all political parties in the United States to determine which parties are consistent with their personal vision.
Social studies teachers can eliminate the challenges associated with the Donald Trump era by facilitating the Personal Mastery process rather than using the classroom to vet their allegiance or opposition with activities associated with the Donald Trump era.
All the best,
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
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