Students Learning about First Amendment Freedoms

In an opening lecture for my journalism class, I listed the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. I’ve referred to the importance of the First Amendment several times, but I haven’t listed the freedoms in class.

One week after the opening lecture, I asked students to list those freedoms on a quiz. If I hadn’t specified that there should be five, perhaps students wouldn’t have guessed. At any rate, the average student listed 2.82 correct freedoms, and no student got “right to petition for redress of wrongs.”

About two weeks later, I asked the same question. This time, the average student got about 4 correct freedoms, and several students got all 5. (There are still a few outliers.)

I didn’t actually repeat this information in lecture; the students who learned this material did so on their own initiative.