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26th Apr 2024 9:00am Blogs

Citizenship Teaching Awards: Primary Teacher of the Year 2023

We hear about award-winning insights on nurturing active, informed, and compassionate global citizens through innovative Citizenship education

Michael Brothwood, Citizenship Teaching Award winner 2023, reflects on the impact of the award, innovative teaching strategies, and the future of Citizenship education.

Embarking on the path of Citizenship education has been a deeply rewarding journey for me. Driven by a passion for politics and a desire to bridge the gap between citizens, their votes, and the impact of political decisions. The early 2000s, marked by global events following the 9/11 attacks, served as a catalyst for my pursuit of a degree in International Relations and later, a PGCE in Citizenship. Today, as I reflect on my experiences, I am convinced that Citizenship education holds unparalleled importance in shaping the future of our youth, particularly in navigating the complexities of the digital landscape.

Background: A Call to Contribute to Democracy

My journey into Citizenship education began with a fervent interest in politics and its impact on everyday life. Witnessing the disconnect between citizens, their understanding of politics, and the tangible effects on their lives fueled my commitment to contribute to a functioning democracy and a successful education system. Now, more than ever, our young people need to be well-informed, equipped to discern accurate information, and actively engaged in shaping the world around them.

Award: A Validation of Collective Efforts

Receiving the ACT’s Primary School Teacher of the Year award was a heartening acknowledgment of the collective efforts made by my colleagues and I at our school. Beyond individual recognition, it affirmed the positive impact we’ve had on the children we serve and inspired us to persist in enhancing their educational experiences. The spotlight on our work with Lyfta, a platform enabling exploration of diverse stories globally, underscored the importance of fostering an inclusive environment where everyone belongs.

Student Impact: Fostering Active Participation

Encouraging students to actively participate in civic activities has been a cornerstone of our approach. We establish diverse groups centered around themes, connecting these to global stories through Lyfta. The question, “Now what?” becomes a rallying cry, leading students and staff to collaboratively devise plans that actively involve children. From exploring Lyfta storyworlds on community cleanup to executing litter picks in our local community, these initiatives sustain our children’s engagement and inspire them to make a positive difference.

Challenges and Solutions: Embedding Citizenship Values

The challenge of embedding Citizenship education within the curriculum prompted innovative solutions at our school. By linking our school values and conceptual strands to community issues, we’ve ensured a cohesive approach throughout the curriculum. Conceptual strands like women in history, environmental concerns, and power are seamlessly integrated, creating a holistic educational framework that instills citizenship values in various aspects of our students’ learning journey.

Advice for Fellow Educators: Strengthening Citizenship Education

To fellow educators, I recommend aligning school values with the local community and the broader global context. This alignment facilitates the incorporation of Citizenship values into lessons where the connection may not be immediately apparent. Leveraging programs like Lyfta and incorporating stories from around the world enriches citizenship education by providing a unique lens through which to discuss vital and sensitive topics, inspiring students to contribute to positive change.

Looking Ahead: A Vision for Citizenship Education

As we look ahead, I envision Citizenship education gaining increasing significance in our educational landscape. With the pressing need to cultivate critical thinking skills, especially in discerning trustworthy information, Citizenship education will play a pivotal role. I advocate for the integration of the Global Goals (SDGs) into school curricula, ensuring that children are not only aware of these objectives but also empowered to actively contribute to improving their futures. It is our duty to keep our youth informed about issues that directly affect them, guiding them toward a future where they are active, informed, and compassionate global citizens.

It is our duty to keep our youth informed about issues that directly affect them, guiding them toward a future where they are active, informed, and compassionate global citizens.

ACT Citizenship Teaching Awards 2024: Nominations are open

The Citizenship Teaching Awards is an opportunity to acknowledge the fabulous work of individuals and organisations who have shown commitment to Citizenship education, and represent its core values. Do you know of someone who’s gone the extra mile to support students and provide effective Citizenship education?

Find out more about the awards and how to nominate below.

Apply here