Civics and Citizenship education - Australia
Key Ideas of the Humanities subject and the sub-strand of Civics and Citizenship of the Australian Curriculum
(Australian Curriculum 2017)
What are the messages for Civics and Citizenship education?
Over many years politicians, research studies and commentators have decried the lack of solid civics and citizenship education in Australian schools. Now with the advent of the ACARA curriculum, there is a responsibility on teachers of this subject to produce more positive civic results. This is a heavy responsibility for what is often seen as a minor subject that is to be taught for a maximum of 20 hours per year. The hidden curriculum of all schools has carried the burden of citizenship training over the years through promoting rules, school values, leadership, student councils and service learning, but now is the time to bring the enacted and hidden curriculum together through whole-school planning that includes the theoretical and conceptual understandings about the workings of our democracy. The status of this subject needs to be raised until it becomes a core focus of school life.
Some messages for teachers are:
This diagram was part of a presentation by QCAA at last year's SCEAA conference in Brisbane and was developed by one of our members, Caroline Hollis. Caroline's explanation follows:
Planning a Civics and Citizenship inquiry-based teaching and learning program
This diagram provides an overview for planning an inquiry-based teaching and learning program for Civics and Citizenship that aligns curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment. This diagram identifies the relationship between the contexts for learning and the specific key values and dispositions that inform planning decisions in each year level of the Civic and Citizenship curriculum.
Use the key questions for inquiry
Each year level includes key questions that provide a framework for developing students’ Civics and Citizenship knowledge, understanding and skills of inquiry.
This shows the key inquiry questions in Year 3 and 4 provide a starting point for students to pose their own questions about the society in which they live.
Embed key values and dispositions in learning experiences
The knowledge, understandings and skills of Civics and Citizenship are underpinned by values and dispositions that are the foundation of Australia’s parliamentary liberal democracy and responsible civic action.
It is important to consider how these values and dispositions are embedded in learning experiences when planning for Civics and Citizenship.
The key values are embedded in the Civics and Citizenship Knowledge and Understanding strand. These values are the foundation of liberal and parliamentary representative government such as: freedom of expression, government by the people, equality, the rule of law, fair and effective representation, responsibility, accountability and common good.
When planning a sequence of teaching and learning, students should be provided with opportunities for group work to enable them to be active and informed citizens. This is a consideration for planning a teaching, learning and assessment program in Civics and Citizenship.
Provide opportunities for active participation in civics and citizenship activities
Students’ interest in and enjoyment of civics and citizenship can be enhanced through active participation in school and community activities, for example, student governance, community service programs, parliamentary education programs, and the work of non-government organisations (including at the regional and international level).
Participation of citizens takes place at many levels – within the home/family, classes, within schools, within workplaces, within communities, within our nation and internationally.
Consider the scale of contexts of civics and citizenship issues
Civics and Citizenship explores ways in which students can actively shape their lives, value their belonging in a diverse and dynamic society, and positively contribute locally, nationally, regionally and globally. Contexts for contemporary civics and citizenship issues in Year 3 are at the school and local community level. In Year 4 the context moves to the community level with a focus on the purpose of local government and the services it provides. Contexts for contemporary civics and citizenship issues in Year 5 and 6 are at the school, local community and national level. In Year 6 contexts for learning include the state level with a focus on state government and state/territory laws. Contexts for contemporary civics and citizenship issues in Year 7 are at the local community and national level. In Year 8 the contexts moves from the national, to the world regional and global level. Contexts for contemporary civics and citizenship issues in Year 9 and 10 are at the national, world regional and global level.
The scale of contexts for civics and citizenship issues shifts in focus across Years 3-10 and should be considered when planning and selecting resources.
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