Instead, many will write how they never actually read the U.S. Constitution, which is horrifying given the number of years they have attended school prior to taking my course. Others will reference Article 7 where it explains “…guaranteed minimum wages and salaries shall be established, state support ensured to the family, maternity, paternity and childhood, to disabled persons and the elderly, the system of social services developed, state pensions, allowances and other social security guarantees shall be established,” and praise the foresight of the founding fathers.
Needless to say, when I reveal the results and my deception, the look on the students’ faces is priceless. The shock, embarrassment, and shame can be seen in their expressions. These exercises, however, have proven to be an invaluable tool to make my classes more successful, and they dramatically improve student engagement.
There are three objectives behind these assignments.
The first is to open students’ eyes to how unfamiliar they are with the country they are living. As I explain to the students, they have opinions about everything, but how can they say what the government should/should not be doing when they do not know why the government exists, the institutions within the government, and the roles and responsibilities of these institutions?