There’s been a lot in the news recently, since the US elections, about the need for better civic education, with a focus on teaching both how to be a better citizen and how to respect the views of others. A study in California found that civics education needs strengthening, a letter in the Guardian signed by a slew of prominent academics in education talked about the need for diversity in education, and another focused on the potential of ethnic studies. Tapping presciently into this vein of concern, Rich Brown has produced the Sortition Foundation Resource Guide for Educators.
The resource is divided into four main sections, going through the vocabulary of sortition and citizens’ assemblies; activities with lesson ideas; a wide range of resources; and a citizens’ assembly classroom simulation. The aim is to provoke students to engage with broad ideas about democracy and to question how current systems could be improved.
While we love the classroom simulation, the most impressive section is the list of resources, which are drawn from experiments happening around the world. The resources range from short cartoons to academic papers and journals, so there is something there to appeal to a wide range of age groups and learning styles. There’s also a play, by David Grant, on how four people resolve differences in a post-conflict situation.
It would be great to see this resource as the starting point – and to hear both the stories of people who are using it, or to hear from different resources that people are using. Are you an educator who is using these resources? Or who wants to? Are you a parent who wants to advocate for their use in a school near you?