Slide showing 3 questions about citizenship transferable skills - do you demonstrate citizenship?

Teaching Citizenship is about Teaching Respect, Empathy and Fairness

Citizenship is about participating in your community and making it better. But, how do we teach that?

We just published our “Exploring the Six Cs Unit” lesson on Citizenship, and I gotta be honest. I’m super hyped about this one.

(Yes, yes, I know. I was excited about the last lesson about Character Education as well, but that was because it tied in my lessons on Growth Mindset with some new stuff that I learned about Sudoku.)

In 2018, Ontario will be switching things on the new report card and moving from “learning skills” to these Six Cs transferrable skills.

As we were writing this lesson package on Citizenship, even though we were talking about Learning Skills (transferable skills), we figured out we were really talking about diversity and equity education.

  • Do you demonstrate citizenship?
  • Do you understand local and global perspectives and address environmental, social, and economic problems through engaged citizenship
  • Do you take action to make a positive difference in the community and the world?
  • Do you participate in physical and virtual communities in a socially responsible and sustainable manner?

At the beginning of the process, we were thinking that citizenship was about making the world a better place. And, it is.

But as we started to write down our thoughts into this lesson plan, we realized that not all of our colleagues were comfortable talking about race or gender. For some of us, race is still a four-letter word.

We teach in mixed classrooms, where we’re never really sure of who is in the audience. We don’t know where to start the conversation about equity or equality or diversity because it’s out of our comfort zone.

For me, talking about racism, or sexism, or gender identity or any of the “isms” really comes down to conversations about fairness.

Equality, or Equity? (Equal, or Fair?)

I love this photo. It’s certainly made its way around the internet. Every time I show it in the classroom, some of my students will tell me they saw it last year, or they saw a different version of it.

That’s fantastic that it’s getting around. (And, I can’t wait for the day that everyone sees it.):

This version of the Equality vs Equity image is from Interaction Institute by artist Angus Maguire.

This image and remixes like it can be found a lot on the internet. As we made our unit, we knew we wanted to distribute it through our Teachers Pay Teachers store, so it was important to find a version of the image that we were allowed to use without conditions.

It took a lot of digging around, but eventually, I found this specific image comes from which provides high-quality versions of the image for people to use in their presentations:  “This image is free to use with attribution: “Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire.”

What’s fascinating to read is the story behind the original graphic and how it’s evolved over the internet into a meme. How many versions have you seen?

Bottom line, since I need to keep this short and get back to work on our “Week of Collaboration” transitional skills lesson plan…

Citizenship is about more than having a passport.

It’s about giving back to your community, respecting other people’s perspectives, and making the world a better place. But, how do we do that?

Through building respect, empathy, and fairness.

(Psst. Notice how the word “tolerance” isn’t there. Do you agree with that?)

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