Educating for Democracy

Educating for Democracy in the Digital Age

Educators play a vital role in preparing youth to be thoughtful and active participants in our democracy. But it’s often hard to know where to start and how best to integrate civic learning. In this Deep Dive, developed in partnership with the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) at the University of CA, Riverside, we’ve curated a collection of videos, blogs, educational resources, and relevant research to support educators in and out of schools in preparing youth to participate fully and thoughtfully in civic and political life in the digital age.

What's New?

For educators wondering how to support student learning related to the recent youth civic engagement in the wake of gun violence in Parkland, Florida, check out these five resources:

After Parkland, Students Choose to Participate: Use this lesson to engage your students in reflection and action drawing on the 10 Questions for Change Makers.

Nine Ways to Help Students Discuss Guns and Violence: Ideas about how educators can respond in supporting students in the wake of the shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The Power to Change the World: A teaching unit on student activism in history and today, from The New York Times.

Student Activism and Gun Control: A blog post on how school leaders can respond by listening, helping to empower, and affirming students' rights.

YouthInFront: Inspired by youth activists from Ferguson to Parkland, a new community-created online resource with advice for youth and educators.

What is Civic Learning?

Civic learning is a process through which young people develop the knowledge, skills, and commitments to interact effectively with others, improve their communities and the broader society, and participate in democracy. New skills and dispositions are needed to help youth fully leverage new opportunities for effective participation while navigating new challenges. Watch this video to learn more about what civic engagement is and to find out how teachers in Oakland Unified School District are integrating civic learning throughout the district.

To receive updates on new resources and information about civic learning, follow @Ed4Democracy on Twitter and sign up for the Educating for Democracy newsletter.

Essential Questions

Ready to learn more about how to educate for democracy? These essential questions touch on core civic practices. By exploring the questions and diving into the resources below, you will find ways to integrate civic learning across content areas and grade levels.

How do I help students research issues that matter to them?

How do I further students’ civic knowledge and understanding?

How do I help students have productive discussions about current and controversial issues?

How can students voice their perspective on issues that matter to them?

What are effective ways to take action in the digital age?

How do I assess my students’ civic learning?

Young People Are the Now: Elizabeth Robbins at TEDxWellsStreetED

Watch Chicago Public School Teacher Elizabeth Robbins share a model for upending civics education as we know it, and helping students research and take action around issues that affect them.

Celebrating Community Ready

Preparing students to participate in their community and in democracy is a critical part of the educational mission of schools. Watch this video to see how Oakland Unified School District honors students that demonstrate community readiness (in addition to college and career readiness) in their senior projects. To find out more about community readiness and the annual event, you can also read this blog post.

Learn More

To learn more and find additional resources, check out our curated list of relevant, high-quality, civic learning materials from national civic education organizations. Click here to see a list of organizations.

About this Deep Dive

This Deep Dive was developed through a collaboration between the Teaching Channel and the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) at the University of California, Riverside. We will be updating this collection on an ongoing basis. To receive updates on new resources and information about civic learning, follow @Ed4Democracy on Twitter and sign up for the Educating for Democracy newsletter.

Special Thanks

To the Hearst Foundations, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for funding our work and helping promote the importance of teaching for democracy.

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