Friday, January 25, 2008

Choosing a President

As I mentioned in the last post, we made some campaign videos in our English classes to help us choose a President of English Classes. We did different activities to discuss what we value in life and each class choose different values to represent their class and candidate for office. Some of our classes chose to say that Mobile phones, computers, and sports are important in their life, and every class choose to say that they value family and friends. Some classes even saw the importance of Peace for the world as a value. You can watch all of our videos on the kids' website(click here), but here is the video for David, who got the most votes this week.

After the kids watched the videos, it was interesting to watch their decision making process. Some kids voted for the students that they knew, others voted for the funniest video. Some people, however, voted for the underdog, just because they wanted to give them some points. It was very necessary for some students to keep their vote hidden. I made sure to insist on using secret ballots, and I was glad when I saw that many students felt free to vote for someone different from their peers. My High School students had a crazy idea for electing a marker for president. Ironically he looks like a great candidate, the video turned out really well, and many of the kids voted for it, because it was such a funny idea. I was just happy that they wanted to participate.

So, we hope you enjoy the videos. Maybe they can enlighten you as you contemplate the values of our different candidates for office. I'm afraid that during the Super Bowl and the Super Tuesday Primaries I'll be skiing in the mountains for our spring break and without Internet access. Hopefully YouTube and CNN will help me stay connected when I return.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Primaries

It's a very special year in the US and the Czech Republic as we both choose a new president. In the Czech system, the Parliment elects the president, and the process is completely different than in the USA. So I thought it would be fun for the kids to learn about our process while they're hearing and reading about it in the news.

This week we had our own round of Primaries where we selected candidates from most of the classes to run for President of English Classes. Next week we will form our campaign and make a video, which will be shown in the classes during the following week when they make their final decisions.

You can follow our progress and even vote in the poll for your favorite on our website:

Our Adult classes have been considering different issues at hand, such as "Should a woman be able to serve as President?" and "Should the President be chosen by the popular vote of the people or by a governing body?" I enjoyed discussing these issues with them as I myself have been tossing these thoughts around in my own head. I'm finding it a challenge to understand the candidates from so far away, especially when I live in a different society and culture. I find myself looking for a President who would be the best representative to the world, dealing with social issues and conflicts, instead of trying to match the candidates platforms with my own beliefs. I cannot vote in the Primaries, because I don't have an address in Wisconsin and I'm no longer registered in Oklahoma, but I can't help checking every morning after to see the results as the parties choose their candidates. This is the most interesting race I can remember; whether we end up with a woman, a black man, a Morman, or an ordinary white man, I think the race will be entertaining to say the least.

Note: I hope no one takes the last comment as offensive, because I do feel that a candidate(and every person for that matter) cannot be judged by the labels that society gives them. However, I think the world and history will take notice if we elect anything other than an ordinary white male with protestant beliefs like the forefathers of our country. I wonder where American stands, because I'm not sure I can tell from here.