I have an idea let’s try tipping a pyramid like object. Try it if you want to engage in some challenging fun. In fact tipping a pyramid like object is almost an impossible task. Perhaps for a detached pyramid, shifting from one location to another is a more natural result. Yes, thoughts can shift as well; whereas, fundamentals or principles most likely remain. Agree now – a good and well thought out foundation provides a basis for survival. Strong and sustainable communities are built on good and strategic foundations.
At the bottom of the pyramid, and on the tip of my tongue lies not my first idea to talk about, and not last, and probably not just my community engagement idea. The idea is – teach local politics and history in our schools. We have people flocking to Canada writing great books about their country’s history of social and political issues including small communities or personal stories. Do we have anyone flocking out Canada doing the same? I don’t know, but I have not seen anything eye catching just yet. On the other hand I think we may have too many flocking out from our community and taking very little with them, just enough not to come back.
It is never too late to have new beginnings. The community engagement in local politics and history is obviously declining. It is obvious that local community organizers, politicians or historians have to compete against technology advancements that are far more engaging in our society than anything else. The technology obviously is more entertaining rather than reading newspapers or books about our local politics or history especially for our younger generation. The question is – does it have to be? No it does not, if it is part of the school curriculum or embedded in our education system.
From an adult perspective we might find local politics and history boring as well and educators designing curriculum perhaps think the same. This is just boring. Let me ask again – does it have to be? No it does not. Think creatively and strategically. The primary teaching in schools should not really focus on what to teach but more so how to study. It is the how to methods that will help students the most. The educators sometimes get involved too much in the content as opposed to encouraging critical thinking for better understanding of the truth.
Here is my point. Even though this may be a costly program to implement there are definitely ways to implement local studies within the curriculum effectively. Have the student body be part of the implementation process. The local studies can be more about research, investigation and critical thinking and to add they can learn project and time management skills. That kind of education method promotes fun memorization that can last with a person forever. On the other hand students can get involved in local history. Teenagers can be very resourceful if we give them the right tools and we provide them with the right guidance. There is definitely an opportunity for teenagers to express themselves and generate clever ideas with a use of modern technology. Why not give the younger generation a try and let them be the bridge.
There are two ways to do so, either local politics and history can be included as part of a political science or history course; or part of on assignment in any course like literature, geography, computer science. Put your creative hat on and you will figure out what I mean.
Students can be great messengers. They bring their work home – a great opportunity for the whole family to engage in the discussion about local issues. Without realizing it, the whole family unit is learning as well. Our community is built on family units and thus potential or an opportunity for more engagement in our community. Engagement built into the system. To be strong on a larger scale communities must have a good foundation from the ground up. It is only logical.
Easier said than done; cost and dedication are in fact two drawback factors from implementing. Let us shift our thinking. This is a solution to strong and sustainable communities – everything else will follow: we must work from the inside-out as opposed outside-in. Something to think about, it is only logical and the right way to go.
Therefore, instead of asking for grant money from governments and people, those who support local history should start banging at the school board doors and show the benefits of teaching local – it is almost like designing a perpetual mechanism, once it gets going it will keep moving. We need education system engagement to create sustainable communities. Again, it is only logical and let us shift our thoughts.
Anna Lozyk Romeo, Editor’s Notes