We have now finished the English Civil War unit in our socials class, and the class was given the freedom to decide how we wanted to present our individual knowledge and reflection of the unit. Rather than writing a test, the class decided to reflect upon the unit via blog post.
During the unit we divided into groups to do a project of our choice. By a long series of votes, the class split the unit into different subjects, and each group did a different one. My group had the topic of The Aftermath of the First Part of the Civil War. Now, I’ll admit, I had some problems with this. Whether it was due to confusion of other group’s topics or if we did not divide the unit evenly, I do not know, but my group did not have any information to cover that was not already being covered. Either way, we managed to figure out what we wanted to do for our presentation. Our topic covered the Battle of Naseby, where the Roundheads (Parliamentarians) attacked the Cavaliers (Royalists) and the Roundheads killed many of the Cavaliers, King Charles I fleeing to try to get the Scottish and Irish to side with him so he can use their armies, and King Charles I being handed over to Parliament.
Basically how our presentation broke down was I made a video to explain what happened, Katherine prepared a PowerPoint for us to talk about it in more detail and then we all prepared prompting points for a class discussion on why people sided with the sides they did in that time period. In order to improve my understanding in future units, my goal is to talk more in class discussions. I’m one of the people who have trouble voicing what they’re thinking, so I tend to hold back in discussions but I am really hoping to improve in that. As for improvements for the class collaborative unit planning, the only thing that really could use improvement would be the time it takes to make decisions. If there was someone there to say “okay, we need to make a decision now”, that would be helpful.
Another topic from this unit that I found interesting was the role that religion had to play during the war. I’ll remember how King Charles claimed to be a Protestant, but married a Catholic. People found this suspicious and did not like it. I know that history has had many conflicts due to religious beliefs, and the English Civil War was a time where that divided people even more. This is a topic that interests me because I like seeing how different groups in history react to differences in beliefs.
So now it’s time to consider a “big question”. Considering my class has already heard my groups thoughts on who we should cheer for in the war, I have decided to answer the question: Do you agree with the statement ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely’? To understand the meaning of this phrase, absolute power is when all power is given to one person or group. I agree with this statement because I feel that when a small portion of the population has all the power, their decisions can be influenced by personal beliefs or experiences and may not make the right choices. Then when consequences of their actions arise, they do not have others to correct their mistakes and it becomes a downwards spiral. The power they once had, corrupted. Just like the phrase says. For example, when King Charles I had power, he could raise taxes, send people to war or do pretty much whatever he wanted. This power could make his subjects’ lives much harder and “corrupted”, like the phrase says.