President Bush on Trial

March 7, 2006 at 6:36pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I don’t know about you, but I think the mock war crimes trial of President Bush taking place at a New Jersey high school is an excellent academic exercise. It’s the type of bold assignment that gets students fired up as active participants in their learning. Sure, the topic is inflammatory, but that’s half the fun. And besides, the process is the valuable part of the lesson—conducting research, formulating arguments, building a defense, communicating effectively in oral and written arguments, and so on. The verdict isn’t important at all. (In fact, no verdict will be rendered at the end of the exercise.)

I love hearing about teachers who go to the trouble to engage their students in this sort of captivating work. In an era of test-centric public education, it’s refreshing to know that teachers aren’t just throwing creativity out the window. It’s not surprising that many people have a knee-jerk reaction against this sort of thing, but I would hope that upon reflection—if they bother to go to the trouble—they recognize the value of pedagogical approaches that stir the pot a little.

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