National Government: Shaping Public Policy
Session 1: Exploring Ideology
- Introduce the session with a short class discussion about the different beliefs that people have concerning life, culture, government, and society. Give examples of each topic and make sure they are different from the issues identified in step 2 below. Allow students to brainstorm other examples.
• Life – right to die
• Culture – celebrating the New Year
• Government – dictatorship
• Society – prescription drug coverage for the elderly
- List the following topics on an overhead transparency, and direct the students to copy the topics and form an opinion about each one, based on their own knowledge. There are no wrong answers. Answers will vary.
• Death penalty
• Gun control
- Ask for volunteers to read some of their opinions. Be sure to point out the differences that exist for the same topic.
- Write the definition for ideology on the board, spacing out the four categories. Have the students come to the board and place each of the overhead topics under a category. Have students copy the definition. Ask which student’s set of beliefs should be chosen to promote public policies in the United States? Allow discussion.
Ideology- A set of basic beliefs about life, culture, government, and society.
- Prepare for the next session by asking students, “What Shapes Our Individual Ideology”. Ask the students where and how they formed the set of beliefs they have just described.
- Have students interview their family members or other adult friends about how they formed their beliefs on the topics discussed in class. Tell them to be prepared to discuss the results of the interviews in class tomorrow. Make sure they take their notes home with them for the assignment.