POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT: Getting Involved; Getting Informed
1) Define and discuss nature of political engagement
2) Survey the student interest in local matters
3) Outline five steps of community engagement
1) Web access for online projects and research
2) Surveys and handouts
1) Group activity 1: "Knowing Where We Belong"
2) Group activity 2: "The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr."
3) Group activity 3: "Our Political Participation"
4) Group activity 4: "Top Three Problems and Solutions"
SUMMARY of the LESSON
This lesson surveys the students' interest in local
community issues and provides a framework for engaging them in civic
life. Democracy thrives when individuals are engaged in local matters
and participate in public life. Students need to understand the dynamics
of policies, politics, and individual interests in shaping the world
around us. The building blocks of daily life -schools, workplaces, houses
of worship, businesses, roads, places of entertainment and relaxation-
result from and are maintained by fellow citizens. It is important to
appreciate where these resources come from and how they are sustained.
Students will learn to appreciate how individuals can relate to the
complexities of public life and begin to see their role in it.
This unit outlines the necessary steps for participation
in public life and encourages students to see themselves as responsible
for the public good. This unit may be used by the instructor to lead
youth through a process of local action. Becoming a citizen does not
just happen but results from the actions, habits, and beliefs of individuals
committed to public life. It means more than voting. It means being
the kind of person who finds out about public issues, makes his or her
opinion heard, and listens to others respectfully. It means getting