Working for the Common Good
- The Caribbean, Dominican Republic
- Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
- Service Learning
Students will examine the concept of the common good and evaluate how it applies to providing assistance in a developing country.
- Students will be able to explain the concept of the common good.
- Using primary source documents from Peace Corps Volunteers serving in the Dominican Republic, students will identify examples of how people can work for the common good.
Write the following questions on the chalkboard:
- Is there such a thing as the common good?
- What does the common good mean?
- Why does it matter?
Ask students to reflect on their studies of the Dominican Republic and, in particular, the incidents that occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges. If you have not used Unit One on geography, explain to students that a devastating hurricane struck the Dominican Republic in 1998. Have students read, or tell students the stories, "In the Aftermath of Hurricane Georges" and "Working for the Common Good." As they read, ask students to think about this question:
- In how many different ways did people work together for the common good after Hurricane Georges? Why did it matter?
Conduct a class discussion on this incident. Use the following guiding questions:
- In how many different ways did people work for the common good after the hurricane?
- Why did working for the common good matter in the Dominican Republic after Hurricane Georges?
- What difference did it make?
- Think of a time in your classroom, school, home, or community when everyone had to put aside their own needs, think of the needs of others, and work together for the common good (e.g., food and clothing drives).
- After a class discussion, introduce a second story about Hurricane Georges in the Dominican Republic. Have students read it, or tell the story to the class. As they are listening to the story, ask students to look for examples of people and organizations in the Dominican Republic pulling together and putting aside their own needs for the good of the country.
Conduct a class discussion on the following questions:
- What motivated so many people in this situation to pull together and work for the common good?
- What difference did it make?
- Ask older students to respond to this question in their journals: How is the idea of the common good related to the idea we explored in the culture unit: Despite our differences, we are all united in a common bond of humanity.
Have students work in small groups to create a poster illustrating the concept of the common good. Explain to students that they can use examples from their own experience and examples from the Dominican Republic. Ask students to title their posters "The Common Good" and illustrate them in such a way that they will be able explain to younger students what the idea of the common good means.
Frameworks & Standards
- What does the common good mean and why does it matter?
- How did the Dominican people work together for the common good in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges?
- How did the Peace Corps and other international agencies work with the Dominican government for the common good in the aftermath of Hurricane Georges?