Letters Archive
Fall 2002, Vol. 11, No. 1 (requires Adobe Acrobat)

We the People.... The Citizen and the Constitution

For the second consecutive year, the Warren Center hosted a week-long professional development program entitled “We the People.... The Citizen and the Constitution” for educators from across Tennessee. This year’s institute met at the Warren Center June 16 through June 21. The program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education through the Center for Civic Education, helps teachers find creative ways to educate students on the history and principles of constitutional government. The institute was co-directed by Sue Chaney Gilmore and Mary Catherine Bradshaw, both teachers at Hillsboro High School in Nashville, Tennessee. Ms. Bradshaw is also an adjunct instructor in education at Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt faculty members from a variety of disciplines led the series of workshops. Those scholars included William James Booth, professor of political science; Lisa Schultz Bressman, associate professor of law; John Lachs, Centennial Professor of Philosophy; and Samuel T. McSeveney, professor of history, emeritus. R. B. Quinn, assistant professor of media law at Middle Tennessee State University, also served as a presenter. In addition, several mentor teachers from across the United States were in attendance to provide their guidance and expertise in using these classroom materials: Blaine Betts (Marquette, MI), Peter Gunn (Easthampton, MA), and Kathy Switzer (Greeley, CO).

“A lot of students think of history and civics as dry, uninteresting subjects,” said Ms. Bradshaw. “Having students learn by debating the issues faced by our nation’s founders encourages them to think about the alternatives and what it means to live in a free society.” The first session included a mock congressional hearing put on by sixth graders from Mountain City, Tennessee. Their teacher, Daphne Greene, attended last year’s program and had used the “We the People” curriculum guide with her elementary school students during the past school year.

Participants were Kevin Brewer (Puryear, TN); Amy Brill (Nashville, TN); William Cate (Marion, AR); Pennye Deal (Finley, TN); Darlene Holder (Dunlap, TN); Julie Howerton (Nashville, TN); Roger Jolley (Decherd, TN); Fred McFalls, Jr. (Savannah, TN); Terry McFalls (Savannah, TN); Mac Macsovits (Nashville, TN); Brian Moore (Elizabethton, TN); Beverly Ramsburg (Kingsport, TN); Nicole Reyes (Nashville, TN); and Ashley Smith (Nashville, TN).

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