Civic Engagement Tips for Students

According to research, schools’ increasing focus on social-emotional learning (SEL) may be laying the groundwork for more engaged civic involvement among the young. Researchers discovered that adolescents with more emotional and socio-cognitive abilities as empathy, emotion management, and moral reasoning—reported increased civic involvement in a 2018 survey including almost 2,500 pupils.

Students nowadays are more empathic and “future-oriented”. It anticipates a range of essential civic attitudes and behaviors among this group of eight to twenty-year-olds, including volunteering, assisting friends, family, and neighborhood, valuing involvement in politics, engaging in eco-conscious behaviors, illustrating social responsibility principles, and prioritizing other civic skills such as listening and drawing conclusions in conflicting viewpoints. Put another way, pupils who had particular SEL abilities seemed to be more concerned about social, communal, and political concerns.

Students may also feel better when they aid others and exercise civic activities. By its very nature, social-emotional learning may enhance democratic procedures and systems, and encourage students to be more active in their surroundings. Here are some ways by which teachers can engage students in Civic disciplines in the classroom

Include civics courses, exercises, and projects in the school’s curriculum. 

No doubt, social studies and history lessons provide enough possibilities for additional civics education.

For instance, students in the Civics curriculum can learn politics by practicing politics. They choose a problem they care about (for example, poverty, education funding, or the opioid epidemic), study it, and devise a strategy for advocating for it on a local level. This kind of project-based learning, which is hands-on, grounded in reality, and intimately tied to students’ passions, brings politics to life for them.

Discussions, Socratic conferences, and mock trials are just a few of the instructional tools and activities that allow students to actively exercise civic practices, perspectives, and beliefs while studying more about social studies and political science. Many of these methods allow students to practice articulating important concepts, developing an evidence-based statement, and anticipating counter-arguments while practicing courteous and professional behavior in a group setting.

Examine the institute’s disciplinary procedures again.

Exclusionary punishment (e.g., suspending and dismissals) is increasingly being shown to be alienating and unhelpful, with restorative methods offering a more humanizing, egalitarian, and respectful alternative. Students can learn how to handle disputes, process their emotions, and cooperatively solve a problem in this setting. 

Encourage meaningful discussion among a diverse group of students.

According to research, pupils in an open classroom atmosphere, which arises from polite exposure to other viewpoints, have stronger civic understanding, voting commitment, and understanding of the significance of dispute in a democratic society. So, arranging such discussion sessions may be helpful for promoting civic awareness. The best app for online teaching may incorporate such sections in the application for arranging discussion rooms virtually. 

Encourage group cohesion and connectivity during advisory time.

Consider advisory time in the institution if you value opportunities for effective conversation but do not have time for yet another commitment. This time of day or week can be carefully planned for the development of relationships and skills. Students may learn to engage in continuous supportive discourse with their classmates in this situation.

Creating social standards and agreements, group conflict resolution, and entertaining group activities to develop connection and trust were among the prominent homeroom routines in the research described above. Many educators, for example, encourage their pupils to create a group “constitution” or agreement that stresses 1) the group’s ideas (for example, accountability, trust, justice, and truthfulness) and 2) the actual actions that demonstrate those values. Additionally, students may lead or help the instructor in suggesting activities such as raising a small class pet, brainstorming solutions to urgent school issues (e.g., starting a recycling program), or just spending social time together (yoga in the gym).

Students may engage in service activities in their educational institutions during advisory time, and this is a wonderful opportunity to encourage volunteering and civic duty.

Last thoughts

With these concepts and tools in mind, it is time to reinvigorate civic education in live classes, with SEL skills serving as the foundation. Students are more likely to experience a greater sense of personal responsibility in their neighborhoods and in the broader world if they regularly practice these abilities in school. Supporting a functioning democracy and developing more knowledgeable, responsible, and compassionate student citizens may be the most fulfilling activity available right now.