For the last three years, I have been "teaching" Civics as part of the Futures Forum project. I put teaching in quotations because at the same time as teaching, I have been learning. In fact, my learning has changed the way that I look at my life and my role as a citizen in a democratic nation.
That's a big change.
I give most of the credit to using Regan Ross's brilliant Civic Mirror program that I use within my classroom. A blended online and face to face role playing simulation, his program allows students to turn their "classroom into a country" and experience the process of making democratic decisions. What makes Ross's game fascinating is that each student receives a Hidden Agenda that contain their ideological or economic standpoint. These Hidden Agendas -- Conservative, Liberal, Humanitarian, Capitalist, Socialist, Environmentalist, etc -- force students to see and debate issues from different standpoints.
A core strand of the Civics curriculum when I started teaching was "Active Citizenship." (The curriculum documents were recently updated so next year the concept falls under a different term.) The more I teach, the more I feel compelled to find different ways to be an active citizen. Today I am doing something I have never done before.
Today, along with my sister, I am setting up a bike on a trainer and riding on the sidewalk in Uptown Waterloo. We are riding to collect spare change for the Wounded Warriors initiative Battlefield Bike Ride 2014. My brother, an air-to-air refueller Hercules pilot is riding this June from Juno Beach to Vimy Ridge. The purpose of the ride is to raise awareness of the impact of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how it affects Canadians in the military.
In my next post, I will write more about PTSD. Right now, I need to load up my bike, gather my signs and make my way on this beautiful Saturday morning to be an active citizen.