The mission of our schools is to educate young citizens. What it means to be a citizen has, however, radically changed in the past 10 years - so must our understanding of citizenship and civic learning. Every young person should grow up inspired and empowered to be a Changemaker who can contribute to the wellbeing of society. That is possibly the most important goal of education today.
New technologies are creating new channels for young people to express and exercise power
A renewed commitment to racial justice, inclusion and equality requires that we weave a refreshed, inclusive vision of community
An increased sense of urgency around global systemic challenge (e.g. climate change) is demanding an increased focus on developing skills to lead for the future
Civic learning is no longer just about the nuts and bolts of our constitutional democracy. It is being prepared to ensure the wellbeing for oneself, for others, for society and for the planet. This includes a deep sense of personal identity, belonging and agency; it includes understanding the core concepts and structures of democracy, and knowing the history behind the systems that shape our reality today; it includes being able to practice empathy and understand the perspective of others. This is a broad educational project that cuts across all subject areas, but particularly across the subjects of the humanities and of social studies.
With the dominant discourse in education being around testing in "core subjects" of ELA and Math, this mandate of civic learning is slipping out of focus. Civic learning is often siloed into the subject of Civics, administered as a narrow set of facts in a multiple choice test, and not as a framework for preparing young people to thrive as humans in society. Even those interested in civic learning can struggle to navigate the vast array of providers and resources that flood their inbox.
We as Collaborative are dedicated to helping all students receive the most high quality civic learning experiences that will help them develop the full range of skills and mindsets they need. We have partnered with Composer, a new platform designed to simplify access to the best civic education modules on the market and support teachers in designing learning units backed by learning science.
We have created curated collections of resources for some core courses drawing on the very best our local museums and the world of civic learning have to offer. The purpose of these collections are to activate curiosity, connect students to the community and encourage civic growth. These collections are designed as learning sequences or “Strings” on Composer Education.
When you sign up for Composer, enter the Learning Collaborative as your school. That will provide you access to our unique “School Room” of resources curated only for our community. You will also see everything else on the platform, but only members of the Learning Collaborative can see the Missouri-specific collections we have compiled.
You will find a “string” of triangles, circles and squares of different colors. Each shape designates a learning element with a different purpose. It may seem a bit complicated at first, but there is pure educational gold at the other side of the rainbow, so take some time to explore and look at what resources are on the site.
An out of the ordinary, memorable, immersive, or surprising experience such as an interactive workshop, engaging film and discussion, or a simulation or game. These prime students for learning by activating motivation through curiosity or urgency.
Lesson plans and activities designed for the classroom that help students build a deeper understanding of ideas and skills.
Opportunities for students to apply their skills to new challenges in ways that are both meaningful and practical, such as community projects or public presentations.
Why these three categories?
They make it easier for you to put content together in a sequence informed by learning science.
We have created curated collections of resources complimenting our inspired inquiries and local museum experiences with the best civic education tools to enhance and deepen the learning along the core learning goals we identified.
For example, the overview of the string for World Civilization looks like this: