Nowadays it is important to teach pupils how to adapt in modern society. Recently, a 9-year-old boy together with his classmates persuaded the local government to overturn a century-old law which banned snowball fights. He presented his arguments at the town board meeting and surprisingly won this process.
Now there is no person who thinks that it’s unnecessary to teach middle and high school students civics. Teachers design new programs for more effective studying process and local governments prepare the laws to make study civics as a graduation requirement. But young children have the same rights and should be involved in this process.
There are a lot of ways to tell pupils about civics concepts. For example, ask them what things they believe. This question helps students to find out which issues they care about and what they can do about them.
There is a good way to engage young children. You need just to discuss with them the concepts of fair and unfair. This discussion can be based on simple events like the classroom rule that students want to change. When pupils are interested in the theme, they begin to show what they believe and why.
Give students an opportunity to find out the solutions to the problem by making the list of possible ideas. Then they should be tested out and chosen one to try in practice.
Make a speech
When the issues are identified by students, they can make speeches about those issues. It will be good practice for students in making written or verbal argumentation.
There are some recommendations oriented to creating such speeches:
- Begin with asking children to express their opinion about a current event topic.
- Start the discussion where students can say do they agree, disagree or not sure to this problem.
- Give students a task to write three sentences explained why they chose that or those positions. Younger students can just say them.
The students’ future speech will be based on these three sentences. After the presentation of students’ speeches, they have a discussion where deliver their positions (agreement and disagreement). The result of this activity is setting the foundation for civil discourse, a central component of discussing controversial issues.
Bring elections to life
Use different types of elections to show students how they work in practice. For this goal using such key elements from real elections as:
- Writing and delivering speeches during the process.
- Providing the debates between different participants.
- Give students an opportunity to act as reporters and make notes about the candidates.
- Organize the campaign ads which will be assessed by the other students.
These “game” elections help students to understand the details of this process and avoid the risk of the election become a popularity contest.
There are a lot of different books which tell the readers about human rights and people who fought for them. These books not only explain the civic actions but also concentrate on issues children care about. Pupils read the real stories which show how people fought for their rights many years ago and after it makes conclusions which are capable to change their points of view.
As a result, children will learn some strategies which help them to assert in future. All these activities will help pupils to successfully socialize when they become adult and adapt in the modern world where there are lots of opportunities and challenges too.