Tuesday, December 14, 2010

1st Amendment Trivia

I like to start off my classes some days with a discussion about current events, riddles, and/or trivia questions I find relevant to the subject matter I'll be covering for the day. Preceding my lecture and discussion on Ethics in my public speaking classes, I always ask the class what four rights are guaranteed by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. While the correct answers are the rights to freedom of speech, religion, press, and assembly, I always have at least one student in each of the classes (and I mean every one I've ever taught) say "the right to bear arms." In order to help placate my immense frustration at not being able to break this damn streak, I make some veiled joke about it being important for people to be able to wear tank-tops (get it?) but also stating that's very much an incorrect answer as it is the 2nd Amendment that guarantees that particular right. After reminding them to check their pocket copy of the Constitution of the United States of America (everyone has one of those right?) and read the ENTIRE 2nd Amendment rather than just the first half, I move on to talk about ethics and free speech. I find it more than just a little disturbing that students are confusing the right to bear arms with freedom of expression. I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

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