2 Planning a citizenship project

As Case Study 1 shows, a thematic project is intended to span a number of lessons over a period of several weeks. The remaining activities in this unit are intended to be a practical guide to planning a citizenship project that incorporates language- and literacy-related objectives for your class. The activity is divided into six parts (Activities 2–7). Read the whole activity through carefully first and then work though it part by part as you progress through your chosen topic.

Activity 2: Identifying a topic for the project

With a colleague, make a list of possible citizenship-related topics for your class. Your list is likely to be tailored to your school and community context; however, we have suggested some topics below:

  • ways of making the school more attractive
  • keeping the village clean
  • obtaining blankets for new born babies or for elderly people in the village
  • helping lonely, disabled, and sick people in the community
  • organising a sale of items to raise money for a local cause
  • collecting children’s books for the anganwadis ,schools or homes in the area
  • recycling paper, food or household items that are no longer used
  • addressing local problems of dumping waste
  • saving energy
  • conserving water
  • preventing water-borne diseases
  • improving healthcare for girls and women, including recruiting more female healthcare workers
  • female – rather than male – students having to do household chores and not being able to play freely outside
  • the problem of animals being hunted to extinction
  • the impact of current and future climate changes upon the environment
  • promoting the use of local minority languages.

Which topics in your list would be most suitable for you and your class?

Some of the factors that you may have taken into account in making your decision are:

  • whether the topics are age-appropriate, relevant and interesting to all your students
  • how far they align with the content of your school curriculum
  • what subjects – such as maths, environmental studies, science, or social studies – they embrace
  • whether the topics are overly sensitive or controversial
  • how confident and comfortable you are in investigating them with your class.

Now list the language- and literacy-related opportunities that your selected topics lend themselves to. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • reading newspapers or other texts to understand the issue and its causes
  • interviewing a local person
  • organising a debate
  • writing a class letter to a politician or newspaper editor
  • creating and distributing leaflets or posters
  • organising an awareness-raising campaign, starting a petition or devising a fundraising initiative
  • writing a play on the issue to present to the other students in the school or to members of the local community.

1 Thinking about language, literacy and citizenship

3 Engaging your students in a citizenship project