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Off Campus Learning Program > Classrooms > Ha Classroom > Core Values  

Core American Values

 

Values are the standards by which members of a culture distinguish what is desirable from the undesirable.  It is the distinction between good or bad, beautiful or ugly, and prized or avoided.  Thus values are judgments from a cultural perspective.  These values shape our personalities and behavior.  We learn our values from our families, schools, and religions.  Values help us learn how to think and act in our particular culture in accordance with its approved principles and rules.

 

In 1970, Robin Williams (the sociologist not the actor) identified what he believed were the ten core American Values.  They include:

 

  • Equal opportunity-this refers to our perception of fairness and having the same rules for everyone.
  • Achievement and success-refers to our work ethic, competitive nature and drive for success, both personally and professionally.
  • Material comfort-refers to pursuit of wealth and comfort.  Each generation tries to improve its relative wealth and comfort.
  • Activity and work-refers to our collective preference for action such as work or sports activities over reflection.
  • Practicality and efficiency-refers to our attitude toward cost-effective problem solving and may contribute to our capitalistic success.
  • Progress-refers to our efforts to improve our society and incorporate the attitude that today is better than yesterday and tomorrow will be even better.
  • Science-refers to the rational tendency to devalue emotions.
  • Democracy and enterprise-refers to our democratic principles of individual rights to pursue personal and business enterprises which cannot be overridden by government.
  • Freedom-refers to favoring individual initiative over collective conformity.
  • Racism and group superiority-refers to the linking of personal worth to social categories based on race, ethnicity, social class, and gender.

 

Many of these values are represented in the games children play.  For example, games require the same rules for every player.  The game, King of the Mountain, stresses achievement, success and competition.  The multitude of sports activities encourages activities of both genders and all ages.  The game, Monopoly, encourages the pursuit of wealth and the value of material comfort.  It also encourages development of the value of free enterprise.  Computer games often have levels which represent the cultural value of progress.  Stealing bases in baseball encourages creativity, individualism and freedom.  Team competitions encourage group superiority.  Tag encourages racism against whoever is “it”.  Declaring winners and losers on the basis of the game rules encourages the rational tendency to devalue emotions.

 

You may copy and paste the assignment below into a word document or notepad for easy electrontic completion and submittal.

 

Core American Values Assignment

(60 points)

Write a persuasive essay regarding the theory presented by Robin Williams and his list of American core values.  You may either agree or disagree that his list are core American values.  However, you must provide facts, examples, and well-reasoned arguments supporting your opinions about core values in American culture and society.  If you disagree with Williams, present your own list of core American values.

Your essay should be at least 5 paragraphs long and should follow essay format with an introduction, hook, thesis statement, three body paragraphs and conclusion.  It may be helpful to conduct research regarding these values.  The research will provide ideas and evidence for your essay. Remember to use quotation marks for direct quotes and to cite your sources.  You may use either APA or MLA style for citations. 

Your scored will be based on the rubric below.

 

15 points

12 points

9 points

6 points

3 points

Content

Well-reasoned opinions supported by excellent examples and factual evidence

Well-reasoned opinions supported by proficient examples and factual evidence

Adequately reasoned opinions supported by fair examples and facts

Adequately reasoned opinions,    no examples or facts provided

Poorly stated opinion, no examples, or facts provided

Organization

Excellent hook, thesis statement, conclusion and three supporting body paragraphs

Proficient hook, thesis statement, conclusion and three supporting body paragraphs

Adequate hook, thesis statement, conclusion and three supporting body paragraphs

Poor hook, thesis statement, conclusion and less than three supporting body paragraphs

Did not include two or more organizational elements: hook, thesis, statement, three body paragraphs, or conclusion

Style

Excellent use of a variety of sentence types, varied word choice, and literary devices

Proficient use of a variety of sentence types, varied word choice, and literary devices

Fair use of a variety of sentence types, varied word choice, and literary devices

Poor use of a variety of sentence types, varied word choice, and literary devices

No variety of sentence types, word choice, or literary devices

Conventions

Excellent use of correct grammar, capitalization, spelling, and punctuation

Proficient use of correct grammar, capitalization, spelling, and punctuation

Fair use of correct grammar, capitalization, spelling, and punctuation

Many errors in correct usage of grammar, capitalization, spelling, and punctuation

The errors in grammar, capitalization, spelling, and punctuation interfere with reading the essay