Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Young People as Co-Designers of School-Based Civics Curriculum

Question: Discuss about theYoung People as Co-Designers of School-Based Civics Curriculum. Answer: Introduction High levels of hate crime, intolerance, and prejudice, support of extremism, distrust of politicians and low voter turnouts especially among the youths have been observed in many countries worldwide. This threatens the legitimate goals of democracy which are unity and patriotism. This is because of production poor inactive and unengaged citizens. These goals, however, must be balanced with the realization and tolerance of diversity in the society. These goals of democracy can only be achieved through an inclusive, active formal education (Smith et al., p. 4). The youths should, therefore, be co-designers of school-based civics curriculum to contribute their ideas. This paper discusses the importance of an inclusive curriculum and the role of youth as co-designers of the civic curriculum in preparing them to be active citizens of the future. Significance of co-designing a civics curriculum The issue of crisis democracy presents young people as the real problem who engages in violent activities. They have been displayed as a disengaged, an apolitical, and apathetic group. Their behavior has been somehow attributed to deficiencies in various institutions that are supposed to offer civic education (Bessant et al., 279). It becomes important, therefore, to engage the young people in designing a civic-oriented curriculum so that they can give out their views and hence shape them to be a better generation. The fact that the young people are politically disengaged shows that there is a need for more civic education. Educating them, however, does not play a critical role in their lives thats why involving them in designing of the civic curriculum is the best approach. Co-designing the curriculum gives the students a chance to improve the political arena (Chou et al., p. 5). Coordinating the digital media and civic engagement with youths is crucial. Young people spend a lot of time in social media as such they have a lot of information concerning politics and civics. Social media and the internet has revolutionized the world immensely. With youths spending much of their time on the internet, they are at a better-placed position to identifying upcoming and trending issues concerning democracy and politics (Youniss et al., p. 132). Involvement of youths in the process of civic education enhances the decision-making process which determines how people should conduct themselves politically. The current 21st-century politics have significantly changed and, therefore, requires different contributions from various social groups. Politics have become highly interactive, and that makes the young people ideal in co-designing of the civic curriculum. The politics also are peer-based, and the youths are the most vocal group and the unruly ones. Giving their views on matters that affect them politically becomes crucial to be integrated into the curriculum (Manning and Edwards, p. 29). Despite the fact that the internet has mitigated the power disparities such as social status, resource, experience, and power, the youthful activist politics, are not devoid of power and produces highly gendered space. Politics as usual model The concept of politics as a usual model has received critique from various social and political fields throughout the entire Europe. It aims at achieving a political consensus on the core neo-liberal project. It could lead to an expansion of the free market while causing the state to shrink. The young people, however, were the most vocal class to reject the consensus. Numerous policies such as the neo-liberal and conventional electoral policies had failed before. It was crucial, therefore, to commit the young people in social participation by creating a neo-liberal active citizenship framework. Young people as such, have the capability of restructuring the civic education to the betterment of everyone (Bennett et al., p. 111). Through digital network use, they can establish new approaches encompassing politics re-imagining, political imaginaries, and political action-oriented new norms which can create a free non-hierarchical interaction. Typically, it is thought that the older peop le can be the best designers of the civic curriculum due to their experience. As such, they can represent the young people in the political field and deploy the skills and knowledge necessary for young people to become active citizens. Contrary to this, the young people have a huge role to play in designing of the civic curriculum since they are so active and vocal concerning emerging issues and politics. Civic education is important since it helps the youth and students to understand the concepts of democracy, advocacy, human rights, and the rule of law. Young people as a source of democratic innovation Its important for the society to start viewing young people as equals in matters related to civic education rather than perceiving them as inexperienced individuals. Young people thorough their skills and innovation can improve the democracy of a country. Therefore, they stand best to be co-designers of civic education together with the teachers and older people to bring civic education to every individual. Due to their role in changing the democratic process of a country through civic education, young people can be termed as political and moral agents (Lange, p. 106). Their involvement as well gives the educators, and other collaborators have a broad knowledge of how young people think and reason in political terms. The institutions education is also oriented towards building a democratic curriculum and practices. The young people will as well give the policymakers an opportunity to reveal to the world their actual political profile. Contrary to what people perceive the youth as nar cissistic, apolitical, and disinterested individuals, the chance of co-designing the civic curriculum will counteract the negative notion of the youths in politics. It will also increase youth participation in politics and contribute to the implementation of civic education programs and policies. Students' engagement instills civics and citizenship knowledge and competencies that are very vital for democracy (Comber, p. 5). The young men and women learn the need to act with moral and ethical integrity. The future of democracy of a country depends on the moral values and integrity of her citizens. Lack of integrity always causes a lot of the most significant problems in a personal, professional and political arena. Offering training and education to the young citizens through an inclusive school-based curriculum could prevent these issues. This approach will enable them to appreciate the need for integrity amongst themselves and also test the integrity of the leaders and politicians during the voting and various democratic processes. An inclusive curriculum Engagement of the young as co-designers will also produce informed citizens. An inclusive curriculum is essential for students understanding of democratic institutions, processes, and their importance. It develops a sense of belonging and commitment to national values. The young citizens will then understand the need to stay informed of the national and international issue which enhances communication between them and the leaders. This, in turn, increases participation which is vital for democracy (Fletcher, p. 2012). It includes participation in voting and other democratic processes. The students are also encouraged to practice democracy through their involvement in decision-making processes. The knowledge and skills gained help them to develop analytical and critical thinking required in conflict resolution and evaluation of electoral candidates by their manifestos. The focus should be the improvement of the curriculum by controlling disruptive and violent incidences by encouraging democratic conflict resolution processes. Effective implementation of such practices, in turn, enhances democratic citizenship. Also, inclusive curriculum produces citizens who understand democracy concepts of equity and justice (Lawy and Biesta, p. 39). Students' participation is the only means through which this educational goal can be achieved. A Democratic environment in the school institutions, clubs and organizations gives students experience in decision making and conflict resolution and ensures justice and equity. The environment and exposure help the students to learn how qualities like tolerance and acceptance are vital for co-existence and democracy. Therefore, students should be actively involved in the curriculum to ensure they understand the form and spirit of democracy. This can be done by use of democratic teaching approach to enable students to practice democracy as a way of life. Students are also able to appreciate and value cultural diversity. Through an inclusive curriculum, the students develop openness and mindfulness to other people's beliefs, views, and practices. This promotes tolera nce which facilitates coexistence among the citizens. It is, therefore, necessary to employ practices and educational strategies for promoting cultural diversity and facilitate positive interactions. Students are also prepared for taking responsibility for their actions. Taking responsibility for one's actions is critical for democracy (Westheimer and Kahne, p. 247). Creation of supportive, inclusive curriculum encourages students to develop this skill by helping them understand how one's actions affect others. Conclusion Education is an essential tool for establishing a democratic culture. Arnold Packer suggests that creating informed citizens should be education's goal (2016) for citizens' contribution to democracy. Democratic culture is not like riding a bicycle, but like speaking a language: if you do not practice it you will lose the ability. It is also difficult to teach old dog new habits. Therefore, young people should be co-designers of school-based civics curriculum to provide them with the opportunity to practice democracy as a way of life. This will help eliminate the threats to the future of democracy in many countries. References Bennett, W.L., Wells, C. and Rank, A., 2009. Young citizens and civic learning: Two paradigms of citizenship in the digital age. Citizenship studies, 13(2), pp.105-120. Bessant, J., Farthing, R. and Watts, R., 2016. Co-designing a civics curriculum: young people, democratic deficit and political renewal in the EU. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 48(2), pp.271-289. Chou, M., Gagnon, J.P., Hartung, C., and Pruitt, L.J., 2017. Young People, Citizenship and Political Participation: Combating Civic Deficit? Pickering Chatto Publishers, pp. 1-9. Comber, M.K., 2003. Civics curriculum and civic skills: Recent evidence. The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), pp. 1-9. Fletcher, A., 2012. Meaningful student involvement. Retrieved on December, 1, p.2012. Lange, D. ed., 2013. Schools, Curriculum and Civic Education for Building Democratic Citizens (Vol. 2). Springer Science Business Media, pp. 1-245. Lawy, R. and Biesta, G., 2006. Citizenship-as-practice: The educational implications of an inclusive and relational understanding of citizenship. British journal of educational studies, 54(1), pp.34-50. Manning, N. and Edwards, K., 2014. Does civic education for young people increase political participation? A systematic review. Educational Review, 66(1), pp.22-45. Naval, C., Print, M. and Veldhuis, R., 2002. Education for Democratic Citizenship in the New Europe: context and reform. European journal of education, 37(2), pp.107-128. Smith, A., Fountain, S., and McLean, H., 2002. Civic Education in Primary and Secondary Schools in the Republic of Serbia.pp.1-7. Westheimer, J. and Kahne, J., 2004. What kind of citizen? The politics of educating for democracy. American educational research journal, 41(2), pp.237-269. Youniss, J., Bales, S., Christmas?Best, V., Diversi, M., Mclaughlin, M. and Silbereisen, R., 2002. Youth civic engagement in the twenty?first century. Journal of research on adolescence, 12(1), pp.121-148.

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