In yesterday’s blog post, Upping Our Civic Game, Andy Nash offered suggestions to help adult students engage in civic life. One tool that can help you do this is The Change Agent. Every issue of The Change Agent gives students a view of other adult learners’ efforts to make change in their own lives or in their communities, whether on the topic of work or transportation, or many others.
Issue 26, “Democracy in Action” is a great place to start the conversation. The issue opens with an activity that encourages students to consider three different types of civic participation – “a personally responsible community member, a participatory community member, and a justice-oriented community member” and then asks the students to consider how they fit in – and how this compares to their idea of what it means to participate in a democracy. Try the activity here!
Explore the rest of the “Democracy in Action” issue for articles and activities on the topics of: How do you participate?; No one will solve our problems; The politics and history of voting; Money and politics; Candidates, parties, and voting; and What is democracy? But there’s no need to restrict yourself to issue #26 – every issue of The Change Agent presents students with inspiration for raising their civic voices.
In issue 27, “Making Sense of Climate Change”, you can read about the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. Jennifer Salmons wrote: “Oceans are rising and warming. Many of the big cities in our country are on or near the coasts. So what do you think would happen to these cities? When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, tens of thousands of residents became refugees. Imagine if such a catastrophe were to strike New York, Miami, or Los Angeles?” How do these articles resonate with students watching, or experiencing first hand, the effects of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria this season? What has (or hasn’t) changed since these articles were written back in 2008?
Our current issue, “Career Pathways” includes not only an exploration of careers such as nursing and construction but also the pathways to being a “change agent”! Students can consider how they are currently involved in their communities and where they might like to go from there.
These are just a very small sampling of articles that could be brought into the classroom to catalyze discussions on how to advocate for what’s important to them. On the pages of The Change Agent the experiences of adult learners come to life as they write about their personal, national, and even global concerns.
The Change Agent is available through a very affordable subscription, both in paper and as an online subscription that gives you access to all the back issues. Lesson packets that use Change Agent articles are freely available on a wide range of topics including packet #10: Taking Action at Work”. Encourage your students to share how they’ve raised their civic voices to advocate for change, in response to a call for articles or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Change Agent is published by the New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC) at World Education. If you are in an NELRC state, contact us to find out if you are eligible to access The Change Agent online for free.