In a democracy, people often take their rights and freedoms for granted. Whether you can be friends with people from all races and cultures, applying for a job knowing you are free from discrimination, or having the freedom to speak up to your government on issues that matter to you, these are all things that are made possible by democracy. This module challenges students to consider and appreciate their democratic rights and freedoms, while emphasizing how important it is that citizens own the responsibilities that come with them.
The module opens with a Reflection & Connection performance task that challenges students to learn about a specific historical event in the world where people’s rights and freedoms were challenged to provide a list of recommendations for positive, democratic change for their own Civic Mirror country. The performance task provides students with a relevant scenario in which to apply the curricular content, one in which they own and therefore care about.
The curricular content opens with an examination of Libya in 2011, during the initial rebellion when many citizens faced human rights and freedoms violations. This example will help students understand the key elements of democracy by reading about where it does not exist for people today. While tackling the core content, they will also examine times in history when rights and freedoms have been challenged in the United States and Canada. The module explores focus concepts such as equality vs. equity, the practicality of “universal” rights and freedoms, and the importance of active participation in a democracy.
The greatest strength of this module, however, is in the simple fact that students are, with the Civic Mirror, given not only an opportunity to reflect on the health of their own country’s democracy, but also an opportunity to do something about it in a safe and teacher-guided environment.