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CITIZENSHIP DRAMATIZED

A BIT OF BRIGHTENING FOR THE STUDY

OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT

BY

GEORGE A. MCPHETERS, B.S.
Instructor in Civics in the High School, Melrose, Mass.

AND

GRACE J. A. CLEAVELAND
President of The Melrose League of Women Voters

ASSISTED BY

STELLA W. JONES
Supervisor of Women's Work in The Americanization

Bureau of Pennsylvania

NEW YORK
HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

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PREFACE

He who learns from practice as well as precept, has ever been the most firmly grounded in knowledge; and it is equally true that he to whom study is play, has ever been the most apt pupil.

Recognizing the fact that the study of government is becoming of major importance to a vast number of American women, and that increasing emphasis is being put on it in American schools, the authors of this little book have endeavored to present the essential facts of citizenship through a series of demonstrations or plays that will instruct and at the same time entertain. They are far from claiming to have given here an exhaustive compilation of facts on citizenship. Rather they have attempted to excite the curiosity of the individual pupil and thus lead him to investigate the subject himself.

With this in mind it is urged that those who take part in the following demonstrations visit the legislative sessions and political gatherings in or near their own communities whenever possible. This will enable them to make the performance realistic, and furthermore, as methods of government procedure differ in different localities, it will help to make each demonstration locally accurate.

For the past three years this method of instruction has actually been carried out with marked success in the High School of Melrose, Massachusetts; and during

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the winter of 1919–20, it was enthusiastically adopted by the Melrose Equal Suffrage League in its citizenship work. There can be no doubt of the educational value of this method, nor of the entertainment it will afford, but any tendency to use it as a burlesque would be unpatriotic and destroy its further usefulness.

When the demonstrations are not given in a class room and supervised by a teacher, an efficient leader, who is familiar with the subject matter and can assign the parts and prepare the material, is absolutely essen.tial. The leader also acts as a cicerone or showman explaining or emphasizing each episode in a performance.

In the class room all rehearsals may be dispensed with. Remarkable results will be obtained by allowing the pupil to imagine himself the person of his part and giving him great latitude in dialogue. It is more difficult for the adult to do this successfully, but the peculiar charm that characterizes this method of teaching will be forfeited by repeated rehearsals.

The story that appears in connection with each of the chapters is for the benefit of the leader, who for any reason cannot acquire this data for himself from the many avaliable resources. It may be read or told as an introduction to the performance, if so desired.

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