High School > Social Studies > Civics

Civics is a subject that deals with the rights and duties of citizens. In every country, each citizen has a set of rights he is entitled to, as well as a number of responsibilities he must fulfill. It can't be purely rights; citizenship is a two-way street. It is a give-and-take relationship between the state and the people.

Civics also deals with how the government of a country works. Students are taught the form of government, its branches, what each one does, how laws are passed, and how to participate in crafting policies. Voting in elections and referendums are also part of the subject of civics.

However, there seems to be a problem with how civics is taught these days. Students think of it as a very boring, dry subject. With that, they just forget the things they are taught after a few years. Civics has been more about memorizing stuff like who the current vice president is, who the Chief Justice is, what the branches of government are, and so on. It has lost its original purpose of equipping students with skills on how to participate in democracy.

Because of this, some people are innovating. New ways of teaching civics have come into being, like using games to demonstrate different government roles. Sandra Day O'Connor, a retired justice, designs games that shows students how to make laws in Congress or vote in the Supreme Court, among other things.

Another method put forward by David Moss, a professor of Harvard Business School, relies on historical cases that the class can debate about. Students are asked to take on the different sides of the situation, being themselves the participants of those cases. Sharing in those experiences makes students more excited and participative as a result. In turn, they enjoy civics classes like never before.

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