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Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

March 2, 2014 at 10:59 PM

Sunday story: New approach aims to add depth to A.P. classes

Students at Garfield High role-play on the issue of immigration in a project-based Advanced Placement class taught by Jerry Neufeld-Kaiser. From left: Dominick Lewis, Israel Brown, Merron Teklu, Carlos Perryman, Sanai Anang and Lalah Muth. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

Students at Garfield High role-play on the issue of immigration in a project-based Advanced Placement class taught by Jerry Neufeld-Kaiser. From left: Dominick Lewis, Israel Brown, Merron Teklu, Carlos Perryman, Sanai Anang and Lalah Muth. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

In a new type of advanced government class at Seattle’s Garfield High, the students rarely sit quietly taking notes while their teacher stands and lectures.

Instead, they debate each other. They write legislation. They run for president in mock elections and pretend they’re lawyers arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

They sometimes even stand up and holler, as Sanai Anang did recently, playing a member of a Virginia-based group that lobbies for strict immigration controls.

In a simulated public hearing, Anang, who loves to ham it up, jumped to his feet without being recognized and declared, in a mangled Southern accent, “Ee-lee-gals come over and take our jobs. They don’t bee-long here.”

His classmates and teacher Jerry Neufeld-Kaiser cracked up.

They are all part of a teaching experiment that began six years ago in the Bellevue School District when a handful of frustrated government teachers teamed up with University of Washington researchers and turned the usual Advanced Placement curriculum inside out.

Read the full story here.

Comments | More in News | Topics: Advanced Placement, AP

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