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15th Feb 2023 9:00am Blogs

Why citizenship teaching is essential

ACT's Research & Events Intern, Valencia Medina shares her personal experience of citizenship and discusses why she feels it is essential.

Why citizenship teaching is essential

Citizenship teaching is essential to the future of the world. Understanding citizenship and all that it encompasses is necessary for everything. The topics encapsulated by the overarching term of citizenship are ingrained in everyday life for all people. Without proper education, on these topics, the world would not have well-informed citizens. For many young people, the importance of these topics may not seem evident, but that is why it is so important that the schooling systems teach all citizenship topics.

Image of ACT intern, Valencia Medina

Early on in my education, I found myself with an interest in the world and how it works. As time and my studies continued I learned that the way to understand the interworking of the world is through investigating politics, human rights, democracy, and the various other topics that get categorised under citizenship teachings. However, I never had a class structured around these ideas specifically, it was always combined into a history or English language course. Oftentimes I would go home after school and look online for news articles or any pieces of information to piece together the particles of information I had learned in class. I looked with a specific interest in politics and human rights. Having a course structured around these topics specifically would have aided my interest and studies tremendously. But many of my peers did not have that same personal interest as me. Without a structured education in citizenship and no individual motivation to investigate further, many of them did not become active citizens. 

At a time like now where social media is the main source of information for the youth, it can be a bit overwhelming to try and teach yourself. There are always concerns surrounding if the information is trustworthy or what sources to engage with. Having a structured template around citizenship would definitely have helped to ease some of that stress around understanding the information particular to citizenship. It is also likely that more of my peers would have become involved citizens, participating in the world around them. 

Now that I am in university, my major is Global Liberal Studies concentrating on Politics, Human Rights, and Development. Using this area of study I plan to look at the way immigration policies impact access to higher-level education, specifically among undergraduate students. Through my time with ACT, I am looking forward to working with various resources and helping to find the best way to prepare information to be taught and learned. 

During this internship, I want to gain insight into how information around these topics is shared. As previously mentioned, I have a personal interest in the topics under the category of citizenship, but it is important to involve those that may not find it to be their own area of interest. Even more so coming from a family, with a school teacher as a mother, I understand the hardships that come with trying to properly educate students. Outside of regular classroom disruptions, there are also issues with access to resources for the teachers. Trying to get students involved while lacking the information needed is a struggle teachers face like no other. 

Overall, the experience to work with ACT is an amazing opportunity to combine my interests and education into real working experiences. Through citizenship teaching, I hope to work along with ACT to succeed in helping young people become active and informed citizens.

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