American Presidents

George Bush American Presidents Teacher Guide

Life Portrait of George Bush

Program Description:
A look at the life of George Bush, including a tour of the Bush Presidential Library.

When to record:
Friday, December 17, 1999, 8-10:30pm ET on C-SPAN

Recommended grade level: High School

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    Teacher Guide:
    Teachers can use this program to teach students about the life and presidency of George Bush, focusing particularly on his foreign service career.

    Part 1
    Before Viewing American Presidents

    Tell students that they will study various roles and responsibilities of people who craft and carry out U.S. foreign policy. Each student should identify a position held by President Bush which addressed foreign policy. Encourage students to choose from the following list of President Bush's jobs which are listed in chronological order:

    • Soldier
    • Member of the House Ways & Means Committee
    • U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
    • Chairman of the Republican National Committee
    • Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
    • Vice President
    • President
    Have each student research the duties and demands of their chosen (or assigned) jobs. Students can identify someone who currently holds that job, and gather biographical and job-related information about that person.

    Have students share the results of their research in an oral presentation to the class, wearing a "name tag" with their job title and the name of a person who currently holds that position. Students may follow this outline in presenting their research:

    My name is _________________________

    My job is ______________________

    My power is derived from _____________________

    I (try to) impact U.S. foreign policy by __________________

    From my perspective, some current regions of interest in the world are ____________________ because ______________________.

    Instruct students to draw some conclusions about the ways different individuals can impact foreign policy.

    Part 2
    Tell students that some of the positions they studied were those held by George Bush. Prepare them to view C-SPAN's American Presidents program featuring George Bush, through which they can continue their research about the various foreign policy-related positions.

    Lead-in to the video with a final question:
    How can a public servant affect U.S. foreign policy?

    Copy and distribute the C-SPAN Video Activity for students to complete while viewing the program.

    While Viewing American Presidents

    C-SPAN Video Activity
    Directions: Take notes on the information offered in the C-SPAN program about George Bush's performance in each of the foreign policy jobs in the list below. Use the following questions as a guide to describe the president's performance in the various roles.

    Research Question Guide

    a. How did he acquire this job?
    b. What power did he have to influence or conduct foreign policy?
    c. What challenges did he face?
    d. What documents exist to chronicle his experience in this job?
    e. What conclusions can be drawn about his performance in this job?
    Foreign Policy Roles

      1. Soldier

      2. Member of the House Ways & Means Committee

      3. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

      4. Chairman of the Republican National Committee

      5. Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

      6. Vice President

      7. President

    After Viewing American Presidents
    Draw some conclusions about George Bush's views and performance on foreign policy. How did each one of his jobs impact his performance in the next job? What other factors impacted his views on foreign policy? What role did international topics play in his career? in his presidency? What is his foreign policy legacy?

    Additional Activity
    Hold a foreign policy job fair. Invite half the students role play George Bush's future employers, and half of the students role play George Bush at the various stages in his career. In pairs, the "employer" will interview "George Bush" about:

    I. Skills and qualifications

    II. His views on current topics in foreign policy

    III. Goals for the position

    Students can switch partners and conduct similar role plays for the various positions George Bush has held. Students, for a final project, should write the transcript of one of their role plays.

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