Dr Keith Heggart recently spoke to Jenna Price of The Canberra Times and The Echnida newsletter to discuss the idea of lowering the voting age in Australia. In the context of the upcoming Voice Referendum, Price writes:
"We hear a great deal from young people who want to be able to vote at 16. Good on them. I thoroughly endorse the idea of broadening political participation. These are the folks who inherit the future so should surely have some say on how it pans out. The latest polling shows over two-thirds of people under 34 support the voice to parliament. And over 55s? Only one in four supports the voice."
Keith Heggart continues the discussion of what it means to be part of a vibrant, participatory democracy with dismay at emerging trends for Australians to abrogate responsibility for finding out information in the lead up to the act of voting. "It privileges a passive and limited conception of citizenship that is at odds with what it means to be a citizen in Australia, and makes a mockery of Australia's long history of civic action and engagement."
To read more, visit the article here.
Many SCEAA members would be aware of Roger Holdsworth, who for a long time published a student agency magazine called Connect. Although Connect wound up last year, some young people have taken on the role of promoting student voice, through a new magazine called ReConnectEd!
Here's a message from Roger:
ReConnectedEd is edited and published by a small editorial group consisting of current and recent school students, school teachers, University academics and researchers, policy workers and representatives of support organisations. It is hosted by the Australian Council for Student Voice, and will be available through their website - where the first issue is already available.
ReConnectEd has three aims:
The first issue will be published shortly both on-line and as a PDF, with fascinating stories of practices in primary and secondary schools.
In order to be alerted to new issues and receive copies (for FREE) you will need to subscribe to it by e-mailing to: firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be added to the mailing list.
We've also attached the first issue to this message.
The Social and Citizenship Education Association of Queensland (SCEAQ) is offering five SCEAA members the opportunity to complete the 'Leading Education for Global Citizenship and Global Competence' microcredential from Central Queensland University for free.
The self guided modules take around 8 hours to complete, and will:
The State Library of NSW is hosting the Lit Up! Festival. It looks great. More information below:
AboutYou are warmly invited to join us for our 2023 conference Lit Up! Celebrating Children’s Literature. We have an exceptional line up of speakers and a range of enriching activities to inspire and immerse you in the world of children’s books. Jeannie Baker will share her latest book Desert Jungle, you'll get up close to collection items, and immerse yourself in our beautiful exhibition Imagine … the Wonder of Picture Books. All this and much more in an action-packed day in May.
This conference is aimed at both primary and secondary teacher librarians, children’s librarians, teachers and anyone with an interest in children’s literature.
Find out more here: https://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/learning/lit-up-celebrating-childrens-literature/conference-program
SCEAA members might remember Blue Dragon from previous conferences. They've asked us to share the following information.
Blue Dragon has a webinar coming up on April 12 to share what we are learning about how to end human trafficking. Details are here:
We've organized two different times, to reach different time zones, but it's the same content each time. I believe that Session 1 is likely the most convenient for people in Australia.
It would be great if you could join us and also share this around with your network. We'll be talking in very practical terms about what we're doing; what works; and what we are still trying to figure out. Plus we'll share an update about what's been happening with human trafficking since the end of Covid lockdowns. to edit.
SCEAA has been approached by a team from the University of Melbourne, who are looking for teachers to share their thoughts about the Voice to Parliament. Specifically, they are looking for
More details below:
Paper 1: A primary school teacher, or someone with insight into this world, writing a short piece about how Primary School teachers might include Indigenous knowledge, practices and beliefs into their teaching in a way to decolonise their teaching.
Paper 2: A crash course in the constitution, referendums within Australia and how this history informs the forthcoming referendum, and how teachers might best teach these concepts to their students.
If you are interested, please reach out to Keith Heggart (email@example.com) as soon as possible.
This issue of The Social Educator is a special one: it recognizes that the journal has been published continuously for 40 years. The length of time is significant in so many ways: one might consider the way digital technology has revolutionised almost every aspect of our lives, or the way that the geopolitical landscape has shifted during that time. One could also consider the growing movement towards equality and diversity in modern society, or greater concerns – and greater involvement – in issues pertaining to climate change. Regardless of what aspect one chooses to focus on, these are matters that are at the heart of social and citizenship education, and that speaks to the ongoing importance of the work that we as educators do, and the role that The Social Educator and SCEAA play.
As is fitting for this special issue, we’ve invited people who have been active in social and citizenship education to share their thoughts. Rather than confining the papers in this issue to looking back, we’ve encouraged our authors to also look forward, and to consider what the next 40 years might bring for educators, and indeed, for civil society. The result is a stimulating collection of ideas that will no doubt provoke much discussion in classrooms, staffrooms and beyond.
Dr Genevieve Hall, the President of SCEAA, begins the issue with comments on both her journey as a social and civics educator, and a consideration with what this might mean for the future place of citizenship education in the Australian Curriculum. Next, Associate Professor Ruth Reynolds, who wrote in earlier issues of The Social Educator, shares her thoughts on what has influenced civics and citizenship education over the last forty years, including national curricula, work integrated learning and global testing. Adam Brodie- McKenzie, a current teacher and PhD student, discusses the public and personal nature of civics and citizenship education, in the context of the republican movement and the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Associate Professor Lee Jerome then provides an international perspective of civics and citizenship education, before Associate Professor Libby Tudball recaps some of the debates – and how they’ve often recurred – in this field. The final article is by Professor James Arvanitakis, who suggests that the future of social and civics education lies in building spaces for disagreement, and un-cramming the curriculum.
We hope that you enjoy the articles as much as we have enjoyed them! In the meantime, stay tuned for more information about the upcoming SCEAA conferences and events, and please encourage your fellow teachers, teacher educators and students to join this amazing organisation.
Judy Moore, SCEAA’s professional officer, recently advised the SCEAA executive of her intention to retire, after many years managing SCEAA’s administration. In addition to looking after financial and banking duties, Judy has tirelessly worked with the editorial committee to proofread and check, and then desktop publish every edition of The Social Educator. Her attention to detail has made the work of the editorial committee so much easier, and we are very grateful for everything that she has done. On behalf of the committee, and all the readers of The Social Educator, we thank Judy for her work, and wish her all the best in retirement.
Check your email inboxes to get your issue.
Meg Languages is excited to announce that EOIs are open for the Global Citizenship Student Ambassador Program 2023 to schools across Australia, with funded places for Victorian schools.
This program builds empowered Global Citizens who can take action on issues they care about, using Design Thinking, Media Literacy and more, while building leadership skills and connecting with their peer changemakers across Australia, hearing from guest-speaking community experts, for deep, real life learning across a one year program.
Check out some of the projects from last year!
Cultural Inclusion Through Podcasting - Mernda Primary
Building a Sustainable and Hope Filled Future - St Michael's Catholic Primary School
Express Your Mess! Addressing Mental Health of Students in School - Bethlehem College
EOI's close Mar 3rd.
For more info, book a 10 min chat with Lottie Dowling, the program manager, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The second issue of The Social Educator has now been sent out to all members. It's a great issue. See below for the editor's message.
As we are starting to learn to live with COVID-19, the world continues to experience historically significant events. Queen Elizabeth II passed away aged 96 years having reigned for 70 years and 214 days. In Australia, there were mixed emotions with some people openly grieving, and flags being flown at half-mast. However, others, like me, were perplexed. Never was there a more important time to reflect on Australia’s First Nations’ peoples and the history that was bestowed upon them under British Reign. A one-off day of mourning was declared to pay respects for the Monarch, yet the debates around Australia Day remain unresolved further causing many people to question motives.
Further, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, the rainfall in September was the fifth highest on record for Australia. Recently, we have seen flash flooding in many States causing further damage and chaos to homes, lives and the environment. Both of thesesignificant events highlight the need for children and young people to develop their knowledge and understanding of what is happening in their world but also have the skills to think critically and question. They are the future of our world so it is our responsibility to help them develop the skills that they will need to be successful.
In this issue, Katie Maher in her article The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross curriculum priority: Pedagogical questions of Country, colonialism and whose knowledge counts, argues that Version 9 of the Australian Curriculum provides, through the revised Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross curriculum priority (CCP), opportunities for students to learn with First Nations Peoples. This, she argues, is important as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will be able to see themselves in the curriculum from which they learn. She provides insights into pedagogical practices that can support this vision.
Moving the focus to the US, Lauren Grimes in her article Youth Citizenship and Civic Injustices within K-12 U.S. Social Studies Public Education, highlights the importance of including youth citizenship and injustices within civic education. She argues that while the US has had various paradigm shifts that aimed to develop informed and active citizens the way that this is addressed has changed thus calling for groups of catalysts “to alter the foundation and face of civics learning and youth citizenship”.
Ben Wilson and David Spillman in their article, Teaching for Country: Analysing transformative student experiences through Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Being, and Doing, discuss their Teaching for Country Research Project which aimed to explore meaningful enactment of Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Being, and Doing in initial teacher education. The authors talk about a series of “Country-centric (ecocentric) learning experiences” and the range of Indigenous place-based pedagogical frameworks that they employed. This article provides valuable insights for ITE providers and teachers about ways of ‘Indigeniseing’ the curriculum.
We are excited to announce that the next issue of The Social Educator is our 40th anniversary special edition. We have some really insightful articles that reflect on how Civics and Citizenship Education has changed over time and what this means locally and globally both in terms of curriculum and teaching/learning. We look forward to sharing this exciting issue with you.
This is an article by Rachel Krust which is very relevant for Australian CCE teachers.
TLDR: We should be teaching civic participation in practice
All but the most minimalist conceptions of a true democracy envisage citizens voting and participating between elections on an informed and collectively considered basis. The Australian Curriculum adopts this vision insofar as it aspires to develop “active and informed citizens”. Under this model, citizens’ votes are cast on the strength of party policies, on which they have developed an informed and considered judgment, and they don’t rely mostly on heuristics like voting behaviour of family and peers, or simply their own historical voting behaviour. They also participate actively and on an informed basis between elections.
That’s not what Australian democracy looks like right now. While participation in some forms is increasing, we still vote and engage very much on the basis of heuristics and soundbites. The point here is absolutely not that people, especially young people, don’t want to engage more meaningfully; it’s that we’re not creating the right conditions and opportunities for engagement.
Part of the solution is to reimagine and better resource civics education in Australia. We should give the CCE curriculum more time. We should teach students to coherently evaluate and deliberate with their fellow citizens on current policies; evaluate parties and candidates; and perhaps most significantly, participate beyond elections, both formally and informally. We should do this by giving students opportunities to apply these capabilities in practice, talking and doing something about current local, state and national issues that affect them; preaching at students won’t work.
Read more here.