How can we support our students to “Be the Change”

This week, we have been reading about students around the globe that are learning to use socialImage media and Web 2.0 to interact with, learn about and begin movements with others from around the world.   A project started in Costa Rica, called the Deliberative Capabilities in School Age Children project hoped to explore and learn about children’s capabilities by linking to children’s exercise of their participation rights and explore the use of digital technologies in the process (Fonseca & Bujanda, 2011).  The project was created with strong methodology and connections to curriculum.  The results were that the children had, “less fear of speaking and interacting with others, increased interest and commitment toward community, increased ability to listen and participate in dialogue, and increased ability to relate and cooperate with others” (Fonseca & Bujanda, 2011, p. 254).  In some Asian countries, with more regulated media and political environments, the findings suggest that some youth, may be utilizing the internet as a alternative civic space ( Lin, Cheong, Kim & Jung, 2010, pg. 852).  People around the world are using twitter and facebook to organize into groups to work towards change. 

This week’s readings made me reflect on how to support children in gaining the necessary knowledge and technological skils in order to allow them to move forward in this area.  I teach mostly Science and Math, so my students and I do not delve as much into politics and the need for change.  I suppose looking at climate changes and environmentalism might be a starting point for me.  Do you have any suggestions in how to begin working with my students to become better global citizens?

What skills and abilities can we help to instill in our students to enable them to be part of the revolution for change?  Will the open access allow them to better understand the worldwide climate and figure out globally how to work together to make it better?

 

References:

Fonseca, C., & Bujanda, M. (2011). Promoting children’s capacities for active and deliberative citizenship with digital technologies: the CADE Project in Costa Rica. Annals Of The American Academy Of Political & Social Science, 633(1), 243-262.

 Lin, W., Cheong, P., Kim, Y., & Jung, J. (2010). Becoming citizens: youths’ civic uses of new media in five digital cities in east asia. Journal Of Adolescent Research, 25(6), 839-857

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4 Responses to How can we support our students to “Be the Change”

  1. Personally, I feel very hesitant about political agendas in school. I understand that schools can be an effective avenue to educate the electorate, but I worry that adults will not be able to resist the temptation to impose their own political views on children. That’s not a reason to keep students from being politically active, however. The disconnect that I think needs to be rectified is when we recognize that children should be involved in decisions that affect their own well-being in their own context (Fonseca & Bujanda, 2011, p. 247), but we give them almost no say in their experience at school.

    How many schools allow all students (not just student council, if one exists) make choices about school activities, learning topics, seating arrangements, ways to show learning and any other number of choices that affect them every day? In my experience, I haven’t been into any school that wasn’t run as a benign dictatorship. This daily experience informs our children’s perceptions of their place in society, and we shouldn’t be surprised at voter apathy and citizen disengagement. Programs such as Free the Children are lovely, but the systemic changes that need to take place in order to support democracy are more fundamental and need to be experienced by all students, every day.

    Reference:

    Fonseca, C., & Bujanda, M. (2011). Promoting children’s capacities for active and deliberative citizenship with digital technologies: the CADE Project in Costa Rica. Annals Of The American Academy Of Political & Social Science, 633(1), 243-262.

  2. Skye says:

    The age group of students will certainly have an impact on the level of open access they will be exposed to in the worldwide global climate but I genuinely believe that many are already growing up with global exposure because of parental influences. Our classrooms are full of cultural diversity already, how could children not be influenced by their own peers talking about their trip to visit family in Iran, South Africa, New Delhi, Sudan, or Hong Kong? Does it have to be political?

    Technology can allow for greater student control over learning content by “enabling children to create digital productions that reflect their proposals and ideas and allow the children to disseminate them to a variety of audiences” (Fonseca, C., & Bujanda, M., 2011, p.250). The fact that our classrooms are already so full of international diversity contributes to student global awareness, technology can assist with engaging students in the deeper critical thinking skills because their work is both created from personal inquiry and seen by the global community. Their questions and explorations can snowball into an immediate online discovery, international online conversations/written dialogues, deeper understanding from visual images, and thus a more engaged child in the global community.

    Reference:

    Fonseca, C., & Bujanda, M. (2011). Promoting children’s capacities for active and deliberative citizenship with digital technologies: the CADE Project in Costa Rica. Annals Of The American Academy Of Political & Social Science, 633(1), 243-262.

  3. caroleware says:

    Robert, your reply gives me lots to think about. I agree it is hard to separate yourself from your political agenda when teaching children, even when you try.

    I disagree that schools are not giving students choice. There are some schools out there who do involve their students in decisions about activities, learning topics, etc. Although I think it is more individual teachers rather than schools, there are places where students make choices. Our classroom is very student led. Although we are tied to the Alberta Curriculum, we also listen to our students and follow their lead on a great deal of the work they do. That said, even in an inquiry based school, some teachers are still planning lessons weeks in advance of their actual occurrence. In our classroom, while keeping our (we job share) eyes on the big picture, we often plan out how to approach the learning via text the night before due to what students have been doing or asking for each day.

  4. ttallerico says:

    The four dimensions of the expected learning outcomes (start/engage in a public deliberation, develop high-quality dialogues, carry out thoughtful inquiry, and undertake cooperative and agreed-upon action) and corresponding student experiences as defined in Table 1 by Fonseca & Bujanda (2011, p. 248) seem like a great place to start when determining what skills and abilities educators would like to instill in children no matter what subject area.

    With the topic of environmentalism in particular, it makes sense to start small and close to home as reported by Fonseca & Bujanda (2011, p. 254) “the children seem to have been more effective in the context of their own schools, as they often combine their action in the community with some type of collaboration in their educational context…these actions were remarkably effective in and well appreciated by the school community.” If students experienced success at this level, it may be easier to work outward into the local community then globally.

    Also, as found by Fonseca & Bujanda (2011, p. 253) teachers sometimes move “the children through rather superficial processes, limited to getting a general view of the problem and quickly moving into thinking about how to “make it known” in the community. Such a practice prevents children from deepening their understanding of and perspectives on such problems, thus limiting their chances of coming up with promising plans.” Teachers often work under time constraints and while it can be difficult to allow students the time they need to examine an issue critically the learning for all will be more than worthwhile. Like the old adage, if something is worth doing, then it is worth doing well.

    Ultimately what students need when tackling big issues like environmentalism and climate change is not a teacher who knows all the information but one who can provide well thought-out supports and scaffolds that enable the students to develop a deeper level of understanding and purposeful, meaningful action plans.

    Reference:

    Fonseca, C., & Bujanda, M. (2011). Promoting children’s capacities for active and deliberative citizenship with digital technologies: the cade project in costa rica. Annals Of The American Academy Of Political & Social Science, 633(1), 243-262.

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