The American Creed can define each person and who they are. The American Creed is the motivation everyone has to make a difference in the world through their careers, education, and more. As Condoleezza Rice stated in the movie American Creed, “it doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you are going”(Ball, 2018). To me, I believe this quote can define the American Creed, but also some of the values of it as well. I strongly believe the two most important values that make up the American Creed would be the background of a person and education.

People come from all different backgrounds that also change when they go through life. It is important to look toward the future, but also remember the past. The past can make up parts of who we are, but the present and future can add to that. In the film American Creed, Deidre Prevett said, “While we are a melting pot, we can’t forget where we’ve come from and we all need to learn about each other’s history”(Ball, 2018). I believe we need to all understand one another and everyone’s backgrounds. A personal experience with this is religion. I am Catholic and it is something that truly defines me and who I am, but it can also define others and who they are. Not everyone is the same religion or has the same religious beliefs as me and I understand that. The values of someone with different religious beliefs will not agree with mine, but I respect the person and their religious beliefs because that is what they believe and part of their background.

Education is an important value of the American Creed. As Deidre Prevett said in the American Creed movie, “education is the key to success and to better yourself”(Ball, 2018). I think and believe education is the top most important value of the American Creed. Education gives us amazing job opportunities through life. Education gives us new things to learn every day and through life in the careers we choose to do. As someone who is going to be a Special Education teacher, I believe education is important. I have had teachers in the past who made an impact on my life with changing my strong dislike for the subject of science to strongly liking it. I have had teachers who made me want to make a teacher and make a difference in others lives like they have through mine.

Students should learn the importance of the values of the backgrounds of each person and education within school. It is important as educators to teach these values by being the role model and example to the students. If the teacher is understanding of others backgrounds and where they come from, the students might do the same. If the teacher does not show any negativity about teaching or school, the students will see how important education is. I believe that educators can also teach the importance of these values by talking about them in lessons where they have the opportunity to.

The film American Creed has made me think about some values that I never thought of before to contribute to the definition of the American Creed, After watching the film, I realized how important education is to the American Creed. As some values might have been left out of the film, I think it did give many important facts of the American Creed.

I believe philosophy is what people believe and they should be able to express those thoughts or opinions they have.  There are many aspects that make up educational philosophy. I believe two important topics for educational philosophy are progressivism and social reconstructionism. I believe the role of the student and the teacher is important when it comes to educational philosophy. While looking at these two topics for educational philosophy, I agree with various aspects of progressivism as well as various aspects of social reconstructionism. According to Jeannie Oakes and Martin Lipton, the role of a teacher for educational philosophy within progressivism is “creates an environment rich with opportunities for student-directed learning and group problem solving”(2006, p. 107). This leads to the role of the student in educational philosophy in progressivism. Oakes and Lipton stated “active engagement in deciding what to study and in learning by doing, rather than listening”(2006, p. 107). The role should be to not just listen. They should voice their opinions in what they want to study and learn. They should use their voice on what they want to say and not sit back and listen to others.

As I agree with the role of the teacher with progressivism, I also agree with the role of the teacher in educational philosophy with the topic of social reconstructionism. The two authors stated, “raise students consciousness about social problems and provide the tools for social critique and social action”(Oakes and Lipton, 2006, p. 107). I feel that it is important for students to work together in solving many things, but also to work by themselves and figure it out on their own. They should have help at times or have help to start with solving the problem, but then be able to solve it by themselves. Oakes and Lipton said, “active engagement in understanding social problems and taking action to solve them”(2006, p. 107). I believe this is a step above the role of the student for progressivism. It is still about taking action, but finding the problems and saying how you feel about it. In schools, I believe students should be able to express their thoughts and opinions on topics without feeling that they are being judged or they can not feel the way that they do. Even if one does not agree with what something someone says, they should understand their feelings and why that feel that way and respect them.

Democracy is within schools, work, and more. I believe as future educators, we need to follow some of the main principles for democracy in schools. As Apple and Beane stated, “the open flow of ideas, regardless of their popularity, that enables people to be as fully informed as possible”(2007, p. 7). I feel that this principle is so important in explaining the idea of schools and democracy. Whether it is in school or at work, new ideas can be given to people and they might not know what to do with those new ideas because they were not prepared for it. As educators, we should be prepared for new ideas that develop,  but also have an understanding for them by the person giving them to us whether it is a principal in a school or anyone who gives us the idea. If we are not prepared, we will not be able to work with the new ideas and use them.

A second principle explained is “faith in the individual and collective capacity of people to create possibilities for resolving problems”(Oakes and Lipton, 2006, p. 7). I feel that this principle connects with the roles of a teacher in the educational philosophy of progressivism. People can work alone to figure out problems, but they can also work together. Teachers can be the example for students with this by each teacher in the school working as a team to solve problems. They should show how they respect one another and try to help one another with the problems thrown at them.

Democracy in schools can lead to people having many opinions on things. It is something that people should be able to voice those opinions and make a change. I believe backgrounds such as religion or where people live can have a major effect on this. This I believe that teachers have an important role to be the example of this in schools.

Works Cited

Ball, S. (Director and Producer). (2018). American Creed (Online Film). United States: Public Broadcasting System(PBS).

Beane, J., & Apple, M. (2007). The case for democratic schools. In Michael Apple and

James Beane (eds.), Democratic education: Lesson in powerful education, 2nd ed. (pp. 1- 12). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Oakes, J., & Lipton, M. (2006). Teaching to change the world. 3rd ed. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 105-109 only, chapter 4.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 How to Voice Your Opinion in Democratic Schooling by Jillian is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

5 Comments
  1. Ben 2 months ago

    Amy,
    I’m going to be frank with you. Your article was stellar and really opened my eyes to the idea that democracy is apart of our lives every single day even we don’t know it. It truly affects everyone around us. Me, you, and everyone we love. I found this article (https://www.deseret.com/opinion/2019/11/21/20974897/do-we-have-too-much-democracy-election-2020) to be interesting and related to the part where you write about democracy in today’s word.

    Thanks! Ben

  2. Matthew 2 months ago

    Hi Jillian,
    I thought the article was great. Your idea of how democracy is present in all facets of our lives really made me think about its effects in the country and how it effects me. Education and democracy are both very important. Here is an article that relates to the topic. (https://www.americanexperiment.org/article/what-is-education-for-democracy/)

    Thank you,
    Matthew

  3. Michael 2 months ago

    Jillian, I enjoyed the whole article. I love the extent you took to explain American creed and democratic values. I loved how you illustrated democracy in America today and how it appeals to everyone. I think it is important to remember each individual in the democracy, and you illustrated that well. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  4. Lynne 10 months ago

    Great emphasis on the need to develop voice–both as teachers and as students. Thank you. You are exactly who we need to be going into teaching!

  5. Amy 10 months ago

    Jillian, This was a very interesting post and I think you were able to cover a lot of different topics. I liked your argument that the two most important parts of the American Creed are backgrounds and education and I agree that those two things are very important. Specifically, I liked when you said that “Students should learn the importance of the values of the backgrounds of each person and education within school. It is important as educators to teach these values by being the role model and example to the students.” Here is an article you may find interesting: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/10/upshot/teacher-diversity-effect-students-learning.html

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