you're reading...
Learning at its Best

The Democratic Promise

Earlier today my American Government students watched the amazing film The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky and His Legacy. The documentary, which is framed around Frederick Douglass’ famous quote that “Power concedes nothing without demand,” is a powerful reminder that democracy is an ongoing process and continual struggle.

While watching the film I realized that its structure is a model for the type of inquiry that I try to implement within my classroom. Instead of blindly accepting a concept and a simplistic definition, the film problematizes, challenges, and examines democracy in ways that lead to more questions.

Civics education should not merely be students learning “how the system works.” Democratic education needs to teach citizens the knowledge and skills necessary to analyze, organize, mobilize, and have their voices heard. Teaching history and teaching about society as if they are static entities fails to acknowledge the world we live in. According to Saul Alinsky:

Change means movement. Movement means friction.

Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract

world can movement or change occur without that abrasive

friction of conflict.    

About Joshua Block

Humanities Teacher at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. Passionately believes that education is a tool to help people understand and transform their individual and collective realities.


No comments yet.

Join the Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,103 other followers

Comments are subject to moderation.

%d bloggers like this: