Advocates of civic education stress the importance of action and community involvement of each individual. However, action is based on thought, we can’t expect our students to suddenly become activistst if we as teachers don’t encourage them to think first. Yes, it is not a revelation, yet too many people expect some magic switch to be flipped and everyone in the society to suddenly become an activist.
There is no single one-fit-all model of civic education, we must take cultural and historical background into account. Again, not to reivent the wheel here… Even among the theorists of civic education there is certain misunderstanding that stems from cultural ignorance. To change that we need to do research in the grassroots first, before implimenting any kind of general program. Ask and see what people really need, maybe they need to understand the importance of knowing their neighbors and establishing community ties, and we are trying to force political activism onto them. Thus three defining characteristics of any educational process are to become – ability to adapt, – ability to be modified, and – local focus.
Libraries are to become public spaces. Times when libraries were the solemn temples of books are gone. Now libraries can serve as community centers, focus on comminuty needs and ecnourage outreach to the underprivileged members.
How can we demand transparency in government documentation, if our students don’t have access to the syllabi or the curriculum documents?
I ecourage teachers to create the first open transparent system, if not in the whole school but at least in their own classroom! Don’t be afraid of the feedback, student evaluations, ask them… no encourage studnents’ envolvement in syllabus modification, learn with them and from them, be open and available for your students, and create civic society in your classroom.