Three steps for teaching and learning
- February 9, 2021
- Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Category: Uncategorized
As we work with teachers and students embarking on active citizenship projects, we encounter a few myths around Civics and Citizenship education that tend to hold us back from getting as excited, and learning as much, as we should be.
To address some of these myths, we have created his three step process to reframe Civics and Citizenship education for ourselves and in our schools.
Step 1. Reset
Step 2. Reflect
Step 3. Respond
Step 1 – RESET: Dispelling CCE zombie myths
- Zombie Myth 1: ‘Civics and Citizenship Education is just teaching kids about voting, right?’ No, even though voting is particularly important!
- Zombie Myth 2: ‘All you do in Civics and Citizenship Education is watch the news, isn’t it?’ No, even though getting informed from reliable sources, listening to multiple perspectives and weighing-up and discerning differing viewpoints is particularly important!
- Zombie Myth 3: ‘Does Civics and Citizenship Education really matter that much?’ Yes, consider the findings in ‘Step 2’ below – Put simply, Civics and Citizenship Education matters now more than ever!
Step 2 – REFLECT: Consider what democratic legacy future generations are inheriting?
- A worrying disconnect between elected representatives and constituents: according to a 2018 discussion paper by The Australia Institute (TAI) titled ‘It’s time … for more politicians’, national polling conducted by TAI of a nationally representative sample of 1,408 people revealed the following results:
- Only 13% had spoken to their local MP (in person or on the phone), while only 16% had written to their local MP.
- Only 29% felt confident that they could speak to their local MP if they had a concern regarding a political issue.
- Only 39% said they knew the name of their federal MP – put another way, 61% of respondents DID NOT KNOW THE NAME of the federal MP elected to represent them.
- A disempowered and disillusioned electorate: according to the Australian Election Study, conducted by the Australian National University (ANU) in 2019, “Australians’ satisfaction with democracy is at its lowest since the constitutional crisis of the 1970s.” In a nationally representative survey of more than 2,100 voters, the ANU study also found:
- Just 59% of Australians are satisfied with how democracy is working – down 27 percentage points from the record high of 86% in 2007 and close to the historic low which sat at 56% in 1979.
- Only 12% of people surveyed (representing a little over one in ten Australian), believed the government is run for ‘all the people’.
- Conversely, 56% of people surveyed said government is run for a ‘few big interests’.
- Close to a decade of political turmoil: from the time the ‘Class of 2020’ started school, they have not witnessed an Australian Prime Minister serve an entire full term without a leadership challenge or a call for an early election (Scott Morrison could be their first). Put another way, from the time the ‘Class of 2020’ had progressed from Year 2 (2010) to Year 10 (2018), four sitting Prime Ministers had lost their leadership position – but not through an election:
- 2010, Julia Gillard replaced Kevin Rudd
- 2013, Kevin Rudd replaced Julia Gillard (Kevin Rudd then lost an election to Tony Abbott)
- 2015, Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott
- 2018, Scott Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull
- In contrast, during the eleven years from 1996-2007, Australia had just one PM – John Howard.
- Unrepresentative representatives – our parliament doesn’t necessarily reflect the makeup of contemporary Australian society: according to a 2016 survey conducted by The Guardian regarding the demographic composition of Australia’s 45th Parliament (30 August 2016 to 11 April 2019):
- Australians aged 18-34 made up 31% of the national population (approx. 7 440 000 people), while only 2% of Members of Parliament in the House of Representatives (in other words, 3 out of 150 members) and 6% of senators (approx. 5 out of 76 senators) came from the same age group.
- Declining national youth enrolment rates [to vote]: according to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), as of September 2020, the percentage of “eligible electors” aged 18-24 who are enrolled to vote is 85.6% (or 1,627,113 individuals). While this rate exceeds the AEC’s national youth enrolment rate target of 80%, two questions beg – Where is the remaining 14.4% (or xxx) of eligible youth voters? And why are they not enrolled to vote?
It is also worth noting that a downward trend appears to be emerging, with the September 2020 youth enrolment rate of 85.6%:
- DOWN from 86.5% in September 2019
- Slightly up from 84.9% in September 2018
- DOWN from 88.5% in September 2017
- DOWN from 87.1% in September 2016.
Step 3 – RESPOND: CCE as an antidote of hope
Unpacking the Make Change Happen learning programme – Course Overview:
|Objective: In this unit students will investigate and participate in the process required to develop, implement, and evaluate an effective civic action plan and/or community engagement initiative (within the law). Students will examine effective strategies for informed, active participation and take part in researching an issue of their choice and developing a strategy to enact peaceful and positive change in response to this issue that includes achievable objectives and outcomes within a workable timeframe. Key Inquiry Questions: What are the necessary ‘ingredients’ for a healthy democracy to function? How can individuals become informed and active citizens? How can we measure if a change-making attempt is legal, peaceful, positive, effective and successful?|
|Key Knowledge and Understanding Key features of a liberal democratic society. Key characteristics of Australian democracy. Examples of legal civic participation methods/avenues that active citizens can utilise to influence the decision-making processes of the democratic society they live in. The ‘3As of Agency’ framework: Awareness, Action and Advocacy, in relation to how change happens.||Key Skills define and explain key terms and concepts and use them accurately and appropriately. explain the key features of a liberal democratic society and the key characteristics of Australian democracy. examine different methods of civic participation used to influence the decision-making process. Developing and assessing an individual civic action plan and/or community engagement initiative.||Learner Dispositions Academic mindset: conducting accurate research, using reliable sources of information, exploring multiple perspectives, supporting claims with authoritative evidence and drawing logically, well-argued conclusions. Self-directed learning: designing a strategy to achieve personal outcomes within a set time-frame. Inter-personal interactions: participating in constructive dialogues with an emphasis on problem-solving, negotiation, cooperation and feedback.|
|Outcome: Students should be able to explain ideas and processes associated with Australian democracy, research an issue of personal interest and devise, implement and evaluate a civic action plan and/or community engagement initiative in relation to their selected issue.|
Table 1: Outline of the key learning focus areas addressed in the Make Change Happen programme.
Unpacking the Make Change Happen learning programme – Curriculum Building-blocks:
|Building Block 1 – Victorian Curriculum Civics and Citizenship Strand 1: Government and Democracy, Content Description and Elaborations (Levels 7 and 8)|
|Discuss the freedoms that enable active participation in Australia’s democracy within the bounds of law, including freedom of speech, association, assembly, religion and movement (Code: VCCCG019) Explain how citizens can participate in Australia’s democracy, including the use of the electoral system, contact with their elected representatives, use of lobby groups, interest groups and direct action (Code: VCCCG020)||VCCCG019: explaining how each freedom supports active participation in Australia’s democracy and discussing how and why the ‘bounds of law’ can limit these freedoms considering the circumstances that can lead to dissent in a democracy VCCCG020: comparing the effectiveness of different forms of participation in Australia’s democracy investigating how elected representatives can advocate on behalf of citizens explaining how to enrol to vote in Australia and the role of the Australian Electoral Commission in the electoral process|
|Building Block 2 – Victorian Curriculum Civics and Citizenship Achievement Standards|
|Achievement Standard (Levels 7 and 8)||Achievement Standard (Levels 9 and 10)|
|Students analyse features of Australian democracy, and explain features that enable active participation.||Students evaluate a range of factors that sustain democratic societies and analyse ways they can be active and informed citizens in different contexts, taking into account multiple perspectives and ambiguities.|
|Building Block 3 – Victorian Curriculum Capabilities Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Capability and Personal and Social Capability (Levels 7 and 8)|
|Critical and Creative Thinking||Ethical Capability||Personal and Social Capability|
|Questions and Possibilities Synthesise information from multiple sources and use lateral thinking techniques to draw parallels between known and new solutions and ideas when creating original proposals and artefacts Reasoning Consider how to settle matters of fact and matters of value and the degree of confidence in the conclusions Examine how to select appropriate criteria and how criteria are used in clarifying and challenging arguments and ideas Meta-Cognition Consider a range of strategies to represent ideas and explain and justify thinking processes to others Consider how problems can be segmented into discrete stages, new knowledge synthesised during problem-solving and criteria used to assess emerging ideas and proposals||Understanding Concepts Explore the contested meaning of concepts including freedom, justice, and rights and responsibilities, and the extent they are and should be valued by different individuals and groups Investigate why ethical principles may differ between people and groups, considering the influence of cultural norms, religion, world views and philosophical thought Decision Making and Actions Explore the extent of ethical obligation and the implications for thinking about consequences and duties in decision-making and action Discuss the role of context and experience in ethical decision-making and actions||Self-Awareness and Management Development of resilience Assess personal strengths using feedback from peers, teachers and others and prioritise areas for improvement Reflect on their effectiveness in working independently by identifying enablers and barriers to achieving goals Discuss the range of strategies that could be used to cope with difficult tasks or changing situations Social Awareness and Management Relationships and diversity Explore their personal values and beliefs and analyse how these values and beliefs might be different or similar to those of others Collaboration Identify ways to be proactive in initiating strategies to prevent and/or accomplish positive resolutions to conflict|
Table 2: Map of the curriculum considerations informing the Make Change Happen programme.
Unpacking the Make Change Happen learning programme – A tripartite model for effective change-making:
Figure 2: Visualising how legal, peaceful, positive change is made through the ‘3As of Agency’ Framework
“YOU CAN’T SPEND YOUR WHOLE LIFE CRITICIZING SOMETHING
AND THEN WHEN YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO DO IT BETTER
REFUSE TO GO NEAR IT.”
- Vaclav Havel, Czech playwright, statesman and political activist