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This book has been written to interest you in better citizenship. It is a well known fact that better citizenship is an outgrowth of a clear understanding of present day problems based on a knowledge of the origin of these problems. You will find many opportunities to conserve, to improve, and to pass judgment on the valuable material and the remarkable inheritance which has come down to you from the past. Throughout the March of Democracy are many questions, topics, individual problems, suggestions, and group projects planned to develop a feeling of responsibility when studying the struggle for liberty. You will find helpful the inspiring examples of men and women who gave much that you might enjoy the privileges of today.
A study of the fundamental principles of your country should train you to use books effectively, to carry on investigations, to compare conflicting statements, to have respect for the opinion of others, and to have a thorough understanding of the value of coöperative effort.
Rights and privileges of citizenship in a democracy carry with them real duties and responsibilities.
At the very beginning of this study is the most opportune time to begin to accept such duties and responsibilities. Citizenship is a question of forming proper habits. Correct habits of study are essential to success in school, which is an obligation you accept when you receive your education at the expense of the government. Every effort you make to become more efficient in your studies offers experiences that constitute valuable lessons in citizenship.
There is nothing more essential to the best citizen than ability to investigate intelligently and reach an independent conclusion on public questions. Just as the good citizen goes about his duties in an orderly and efficient way, so the one who knows goes about the preparation of his lessons with decided advantage over one who begins his studying in a random and haphazard way. How to use your hands efficiently is very important but how to use your mind effectively is more important. Preliminary to the study of the growth of government suggestions are offered here to assist you in forming habits of study, that if followed will make you a better student and indirectly a better citizen.
1. In planning your daily study periods have a regular time and place for this subject.
2. Before you begin to study remove all disturbing influences that may interfere with your work; then begin with a strong determination to succeed.
3. Just as athletes find it necessary to "warm up" before a game so the best mental workers find it necessary to go through a "warming up” process
to get into the swing of study. The length of this process depends upon the energetic start. The more time you take for the "warming up” process the longer it will take to master a lesson.
4. Begin studying with a rush. Get a flying start. At the next athletic contest watch the players to see if there is anything done there that can be applied to preparing lessons.
5. Know exactly what is to be studied. Be sure you understand the assignment of the lesson and study as soon after it is made as possible. Know the information you are to find and what use you are to make of it.
6. Think over the main points of the previous lesson, then keeping in mind the general idea, ask yourself what you expect to get from this lesson.
7. Read headings and heavy black type to see if they forecast the content of the lesson. Watch for other indications of main ideas often called "sign posts.”
8. Read over the entire assignment rapidly in order to get a general idea of the lesson. This gives you a preliminary bird's-eye view and an opportunity to select the high spots in thought before a deliberate second reading.
9. Read the lesson again, this time deliberately and thoughtfully in order to get the details that support the big ideas secured from the first reading. Do not pass up any unfamiliar words or references. Make a list of the things you do not understand and look them up.