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The following was submitted by John S. Nickels
November 2000


I teach a unit called "World Citizens" as part of a leadership training enrichment module for honors high school freshmen. The unit begins with a brief look at each of approximately 100 key "leaders" in world history from all areas of the planet and all fields of work. We include musicians, philosophers, generals, authors, environmentalists, architects, presidents, prime ministers, scientists, doctors, inventors, entertainers, religious leaders, kings and queens, explorers, and advocates of a variety of causes. The list makes no distinction between good and bad -- the prime qualification is that a person influenced millions of lives. I leave judgments to the students, once they have the basic facts.

After we have studied these 100 (or so) World Citizens who were leaders of all types and degrees of willingness, we next study the techniques of leadership. That's where Ender's Game comes in -- the students read (more like devour) the book and our focus is always on the critical decisions Ender makes which mark him as a natural leader of people. The students often quote Ender during discussions or debates for the rest of the school year -- "What would Ender do?"

Then the unit concludes with the students each choosing three or four citizens from the list (they can include an outsider with permission), studying those people in more detail, and creating an essay in which their citizens gather. The essay must present the dialogue and attitudes which would really take place (as they can best predict), even including at least two or more real quotations from each citizen. They have the freedom to mold their group to any subject area of their particular interest, and usually produce some pretty spectacular essays. If you wish, I could elaborate in another e-mail on some examples of groups and topics. This exercise incorporates a high level of thinking (creating/synthesis) and the students can find no books sources to give it to them -- they must create it themselves. A final by-product of this unit is the students' adoption of some truly heroic models, as opposed to rock stars or professional athletes they previously admired.

NOTE:   [Part of this unit came from other sources: the list of 100 is partially inspired by the book, The 100, by R. Hart, and the gathering is copied from Steve Allen's old television show, "Meeting of the Minds."]


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