Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Yes, You Can Quote Me!

Presidential quotes have always held my interest. I think they have a valid place in the classroom. Taken out of context they can appear as a random mish-mash of who the man happened to be, but when you do a little digging the quotations help students to gain a little more insight into the man and the historical era in question.
For example, take these three quotations attributed to President Woodrow Wilson.....
---The government, which was designed for the people, have got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy.
---I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.
---A conservative is a man who just sits and thinks, mostly sits.
It doesn't matter if I agree with the sentiments or not. What's important is allowing students to dig, make connections and to discover for themselves the context of the quote. I think the process is even more powerful when students can take quotes from an era different from their own and determine if the quotation has validity in contemporary times.
Wikiquote is a source you can use regarding specific quotations and their context. Sometimes I have used presidential biographies to choose the quotes.
Getting back to President are a few links to posts I've written in the past regarding his life and time in office.