Encouraging Active Participation
In the United States, young people are members of a democratic society and, as adults, will have the right to participate in governance at the local, state and federal level. Each individual has not only the right but also the responsibility to understand and be active in the democratic process.
When young people are involved in civic learning and engagement projects, you help them gain important knowledge and skills for the future. Civic learning and engagement projects can also help youth build a habit of participation in community and civic life, by providing this kind of learning:
- Understanding of the democratic process and the many ways in which Americans can become informed, engaged, and responsible citizens
- Stronger connection to the school community and its relationship to the community at large
- Awareness of multiple viewpoints and diverse perspectives
- Awareness of the influence of the individual and the power of collective problem solving
- Personal understanding of the power that individuals and coalitions have to influence and change public policy, improve local communities, and address significant problems.
At times, youth may feel disconnected from civic life and may not understand their role in the democratic process. Click on the students below to see how civic learning and engagement can help.
The news these days is so complicated. How do I know what to believe?
Come join me at my afterschool program. We’re talking to a local television reporter and the mayor’s public affairs officer to learn how to interpret what we hear on the news.
Should my parents even vote in the local election? It’s hard to understand how it will affect my family and me.
Yes, they should. At my afterschool program we’ve been attending campaign events to investigate the differences between the candidates, and now we see that each candidate has plans that would really change some things in our county.
I’m starting to feel uncomfortable walking to school every morning because of the violence that’s been happening in this area. I wish someone would do something about it.
Well, we can do something about it! In my afterschool program, we’re preparing a presentation to the police department with our concerns and some suggestions for how to make the situation better. We studied what some other cities did and our teacher invited a former gang member to visit so we could hear his ideas for reducing violence.
- 2Key Terms
- 3Project-Based Learning Diagram
- 4What Makes a Good Project?
- 5Life Is Full of Projects
- 6Benefits of Projects
- 721st Century Skills
- 8Habits of Mind
- 9Projects or Activities?
- 10Project Kickoff
- 11Understanding Community Needs
- 12Become Active Investigators
- 13Engaging Students in Active Learning
- 14What Makes a Good Driving Question?
- 15Project Launch
- 16Learning by Doing
- 17Learning by Doing: Example
- 18Project-Based Learning in Action
- 19The Adult's Role
- 20Working With Diverse Student Groups
- 22Culminating Event Examples
- 23Time to Shine
- 24The Audience
- 25Document and Evaluate the Learning
- 27Civic Learning and Engagement Introduction
- 28Civic Learning and Engagement
- 29Committed to Positive Change
- 30Key Civic Terms
- 31A Special Kind of Project-Based Learning
- 32Civic Learning and Engagement in Action
- 33Encouraging Active Participation
- 34Building 21st Century Skills
- 35Linking With School-Day Civics
- 36Linking Civic Learning and Engagement With School-Day Learning
- 37Linking Skills and Academics With Civic Life
- 38Starting a Project
- 39Develop a Plan of Action
- 40Implement a Plan of Action
- 41Evaluate and Reflect
- 42Realizing the Results
- 43Learn More Library
- 46Check for Understanding
- 1Implementing Project-Based Learning
- 2Keep It Youth Centered
- 3Youth-Centered Coaching Moment
- 4Set Clear Goals and Objectives
- 5Goals and Objectives Coaching Moment
- 6Make it Doable and Sustainable
- 7Projects Over Time — Coaching Moment
- 8Facilitating Self-Directed Learning
- 9Self-Directed Learning Example
- 10Self-Directed Learning — Example 2
- 11Facilitation Strategies
- 12Think Globally, Act Locally
- 13Projects for Every Age
- 14Incorporate Multiple Perspectives
- 15Facilitation for Success
- 16Working With Agencies and Groups
- 17Demonstrate and Document Learning
- 18Demonstrate Learning — Coaching Moment
- 19Demonstrate Learning — Coaching Moment 2
- 20Pull It Together
- 21Additional Resources