I specifically seek to understand if scholarly literature as a supplement to the textbook creates more learning than simply lecturing from the textbook. Indeed, as Phelps (1994) relates; “thematic supplementary print materials motivate students to explore content in a manner that not only builds and extends textbook concepts but also provides grist for writing about them” (p. 110).
The basic design of the cooperative learning projects is (e.g., public opinion workshop, presidency workshop):
Part I: Distribute handouts. Students read the one page summary and then write down answers to the questions: (1) in two-three sentences, what is the author’s main point—contribution to [public opinion] research? (2) What is the best quote from your reading? Why? (10 Minutes).
Part II: Find your group members—others in class who also read and wrote on same summary. Do a 1 minute interview: name, major, place on campus to go eat… Group talk about your answers (5 Minutes). Group discussion about “Why this research is meaningful” and create an integrated “Best Answer” for questions 1 and 2 (5 Minutes).
Part III: Group Names announced and each group spokesperson addresses the center of the room and explains: (1) the main point of the summary and (2) the best quote. After the student speaks, the teacher connects the student’s comments with the textbook, with wider theories and explanations of subject matter (e.g., public opinion). The teacher wisely leads the lecture / debate from one group to the next in order to lecture effectively (20-25 Minutes).[i] This is an alternative to PowerPoint.
An American philosopher wrote more than a century ago said, “Civics is often taught as if it were a descriptive subject, ignoring the fact that laws and constitutions, like everything else in this living world, are in a constant process of change” (Bourne 1902, p. 95). Indeed, I argue that learning the main contributions of salient literature will help students see how political scientists measure many aspects of the political; and that change is often envisaged in their research—alongside the data which provides evidence of political reality and understanding.
1. The Rhetorical Presidency: Jeffrey K Tulis. Review by: Richard A. Brody, Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 103, No. 3 (Autumn, 1988), pp. 575-577.
2. Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership: By Richard E. Neustadt. Review by: Lucius Wilmerding, Jr. Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 75, No. 4 (Dec., 1960), pp. 597-599.
3. The Presidency and the Politics of Racial Inequality: Nation-Keeping from 1831-1965. Riley, Russell L. 1999. Review by: Philip Abbott Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 574, The Supreme Court’s Federalism: Real or Imagined? (Mar., 2001), pp. 222-223.
4. The Politics Presidents Make: Leadership from John Adams to George Bush Stephen Skowronek, Review by: Barbara Kellerman, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 2, Eisenhower and Governance (Spring, 1994), pp. 420-421.
5. Going Public: New Strategies of Presidential Leadership: Samuel Kernell. Review by: Robert A. Vitas, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 4, Leadership, Management and Organization (FALL 1986), pp. 775-777.
6. The Presidency and the Political System: Michael Nelson.[partial] Review by: Gerald De Maio. Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. 4, Perspectives on the Presidency (Fall, 1985), pp. 836-839.
7. The President’s Agenda: Paul C. Light. Review by: John F. Manley Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 98, No. 2 (Summer, 1983), pp. 312-313.
8. On Deaf Ears: The Limits of the Bully Pulpit: George C. Edwards, III. [abridged] Review by: Jeffrey K. Tulis Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Dec., 2004), pp. 838-839.