Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Activism and Community Service Learning: Providing Models to Our Students

An example of how engaged citizens organize and interact with their representatives to enact social change.
by Ann Abbott

One of my goals this semester while teaching "Spanish in the Community" was to enhance my emphasis on civic engagement. In a way, it came easily because this semester coincided with the Presidential election. However, I want students to see that they can become active citizens, even activists, outside of the polls and beyond national issues.

In future semesters I will use the image above to build a lesson plan including the following points:

  • Students research what legislation is pending now.
  • Students research what politicians on this list are still in office, which are not.
  • Students research what happened with the bill that is listed.
  • Students produce a script about an item for which they want to advocate now.
Advocacy can seem like a mysterious concept, a mysterious process. Messages like the one above demystify the process and give students models about how to organize themselves into groups and imagine new roles for themselves within the political process.

That's civic engagement.

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