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The effectiveness of a mock trial in teaching civic responsibility

1 August 1997


The purpose of this qualitative study was to answer this central research question: How effective is a classroom mock trial in teaching students civic responsibilities? More specifically the five citizenship characteristics measured in this study were; attitude toward jury service, participation in community or school affairs, ability to evaluate both sides of an issue, obeying the law, acceptance of an assigned responsibility. Students were asked to rate on a Likert Scale the five citizenship characteristics ' above prior to participating in a mock trial simulation activity. Students played several different roles within the mock trial including attorneys, witnesses, jurors, and a bailiff. While the entire class of students participated in the research study, a total of six students are specifically mentioned in this study. Students were then asked to rate the same five citizenship characteristics after completing the mock trial simulation activity. In addition this researcher observed the students during the unit, informally interviewed the students, collected student work, and graded the students according to a student generated scoring guide. This research revealed that student attitude toward jury service and ability to evaluate both sides of an issue are positively impacted by a mock trial simulation activity. Both of these characteristics are political elements of citizenship, while the three that showed no conclusive improvement, are citizenship charactristicsbased on social relationships.


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