The Industrial Revolution, 21st Century History, and Character Education

The Industrial Revolution is an exciting topic to teach because of the way it relates to character education, modern history and the exciting (but also scary) concept of change.

My classes were asked to compare the Industrial Revolution's human power/factory change to today's humanpower/technology change. Several classes brought up the idea of driverless cars--there is at least one concept car in existence and we all enjoyed watching a clip of it in action. 

The opportunity to think about character came into play when we discussed the decisions of Samuel Slater. Slater was very knowledgeable in textile machinery in Great Britain. Britain was a forerunner in the Industrial Revolution and Slater was confident he could replicate these factories in America. He ignored British laws that prevented skilled workers from leaving Britain after memorizing the information he would need. Slater became a very successful and wealthy businessman as a result.

Students were asked to come up with positive and negative character traits surrounding Slater's choices and they had opinions for both. An interesting side discussion (and teachable moment) occurred when this developed into a discussion about perspective-taking, an important social studies concept. In this instance, what was good for America (and Slater himself) was detrimental for Great Britain.

Image result for mercedes driverless car Image result for mercedes driverless car


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