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Course Instructor Textbook

American Government Spring 2012 Ms. Eimear Wynne Bardes, B., Shelley, M., & Schmidt, S. (2011) American Government & Politics Today: The Essentials. Boston, MA: Wadsworth. Telephone (+34) 93 479 16 16, ext. 242 Fax (+34) 93 479 16 22 Email Course Description and Objectives

This course is designed to explore the birth of American democracy from its theoretical inception in pre-revolutionary days to the contemporary period. The course will trace the manner in which democracy has evolved from the political and social thought of the American Founding Fathers into the institutions that comprise the current political system. Students are expected to keep up to date with current affairs and the present administrations domestic and foreign policies. The interrelationship between government and the governed will be critically analyzed in various aspects. Primary sources, film documentaries, power point presentations and news articles will be used extensively to supplement the textbook in examining current social issues and political trends. Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to compare the structure and functions of the various forms of government; analyze the basic principles of political organizations and institutions; understand the decision-making process of three branches of government; examine the role of individuals and interest groups in the political process; understand the development of the relationship between majority rights and individual rights; analyze domestic and foreign policies in the context of historical events; and apply research, critical thinking, and decision-making skills in evaluating primary sources, events, and historical persons.

Grading There are several ways in which each student can achieve successful results in this course. For many assignments, such as class debates and research papers, grade analysis rubrics will be provided to guide you through the requirements of each assignment and to advise you what is required in order to earn the best results. The Grading Scale below is a school-wide scale used to evaluate work for its accuracy, completeness, and quality. Grades will be awarded using the following scale: A 94-100 Excellent A- 90-93 B+ 87-89 B 84-86 Very Good B- 80-83 C+ 77-79 C 74-76 Satisfactory C- 70-73 D 60-69 Below Average F 59 and below Fail The following criteria will be used to calculate your final course grade: (Grade distribution is within the purview of the instructor, except for attendance which is a school policy). Three (3) Scheduled Examinations 45% (15% each) Term Paper 20% Power Point Presentation 15% Participation 10% Attendance 10%

Scheduled Examinations There will be three (3) scheduled examinations during the course of the semester, including the final exam. The scheduled examinations will be worth a cumulative forty-five (45) percent of your total course grade. Please plan and devote sufficient study time and effort to this significant segment of your course grade. Make-up examinations may only be taken when there is an excused absence. There will be no re-testing in this course whatsoever.

Term Paper Each student will be required to select a topic in American Government for a ten (10) page research paper subject to the approval of the instructor. Additional information regarding style, format and content will be provided in order to submit a proper research paper. This paper will account for twenty (20) percent of your total course grade.

American Government | Ms. Eimear Wynne | Spring 2012

Power Point Presentation

Each student will give an oral presentation using PowerPoint to the class on a topic chosen by the student, subject to the approval of the teacher. These presentations should be no more than 40 minutes and must be accompanied with a written handout and bibliography. Additional information regarding style, format and content will be provided to each student and class time devoted to developing research and presentation skills. This presentation will account for fifteen (15) percent of your total course grade.

Class Participation, Attendance and Homework It is expected that each student understands and accepts the high level of energy and commitment necessary to be successful on this academic level. The instructor is committed to provide a course of the highest quality and commits his time, energy and talents to the process. Reciprocity of these ideals is the highest form of compliment to the instructor. All students are encouraged to participate in classroom discussions in a respectful manner as participation is an integral part of the course grade. Assigned readings must be completed prior to class in order to participate constructively in class discussions, master an understanding of the course material, and achieve excellent results. Homework must be completed as scheduled and presented in a clear, concise, and orderly manner. Quality homework is the students best preparation for revision and exams. All homework is carefully evaluated and feedback provided. The feedback is meant to assist students in their mastery of the material and should be diligently assimilated into the students future work. Students will be advised of the format and standards required of all submitted work, as well as the standards of behavior and respect required in classroom discussion and debates. Consistent and prompt attendance is an essential course component to earn an excellent grade, and prompt class attendance will be strictly enforced. Students will penalized two (2) points for each unexcused absence per class and one (1) point for each tardy per class out of the Attendance portion of their course grade. Three (3) tardies are equivalent to one (1) unexcused absence for the purposes of attendance and determining that a student qualifies to receive credit in this course. Those students with five (5) or more unexcused absences during the semester will not receive credit for the course. Students are the sole party responsible to recuperate any work missed due to an excused absence. The instructor will not pursue any student for work missed. Work not recuperated within the prescribed timeline will not be permitted for submission. Therefore, you will not receive credit for the work.

American Government | Ms. Eimear Wynne | Spring 2012

Students must come to class on time and with the appropriate materials (for example: an agenda or daily planner which is required every day, textbook (when necessary), notebook, homework, and pen or pencil). This course will require a significant amount of reading; therefore, students should follow the attached reading assignments carefully. Students who do not come to class prepared to learn, will neither maximize their potential in the course nor earn sufficient points on the assignments or class participation portion of the course grade to warrant an excellent grade. Please remember, a student earns his/her grade, the instructor does not give it. Electronic Device Usage Students are not permitted to use or have on their possession at any time in the classroom any non-approved electronic devices during the class period. The use or possession of non-approved electronic devices (iPods, MP3 players, cellular telephones or electronic translators) in the classroom is strictly forbidden. Students who violate this policy will have these devices confiscated which can only be redeemed after consultation with a parent. Use of any of these devices during an examination will result in the students automatic failure of the examination. Additionally, any student who refuses to surrender to any faculty or staff member prohibited electronic devices will automatically face a Disciplinary Committee Hearing. No Exceptions! Academic Integrity A school is a community of individuals who voluntarily join together for the purpose of learning. At the heart of this sense of academic community is the idea that the behavior of its members is guided by a shared commitment to the highest standards of academic integrity. Any form of cheating, plagiarism or assisting others in acts of dishonesty is a violation of such standards. As a student in this course, it is assumed that you pledge that you will neither receive nor give unauthorized assistance during the completion of any work in this course. Plagiarism is defined as using another person's writings or ideas as one's own without the appropriate acknowledgement such as quotation marks or a properly formatted citation/footnote/endnote. Please be sure to properly format and cite your sources when writing the research paper. No excuses, sad stories or exceptions will be accepted. Take pride in your hard work and accepts its rewards. Academic Guidance and Office Hours This instructor maintains an "Open Door Policy" and encourages ALL students to seek help or guidance concerning his/her work in this course when he/she feels necessary. If you have any questions or feel that you need clarification in any particular area, please feel free to see me. This open exchange of information will permit the instructor to give you a continuous evaluation of your progress as the course develops. All students must accept and understand his/her responsibility in the learning process, and it will be each students responsibility to seek assistance as needed.

American Government | Ms. Eimear Wynne | Spring 2012