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My Voice, My Vote Curriculum
Transcript of My Voice, My Vote Curriculum
The starting point for genuine engagement in the 'political' comes from having a personal connection to politics. Young people need to have clarity about what matters to them and understand that they can act on these issues to influence change.
The first step is to build and develop relationships within your group. A key component of self- discovery involves young people discussing their experiences and feelings with each other and as a team. In order to achieve this outcome young people need to feel comfortable speaking to each other and with you.
Young people often need some stimulus to explore in order to decide what they are particularly interested in. Showcasing local solutions to problems inspires young people to believe that change in possible as well providing them with the necessary stimulus.
Question the Over - Simplification of issues
Young people will have some previous experience of discussing issues that matter to them and this knowledge needs to be developed and enriched. Few social issues are simple or have simple solutions. Young people need to explore the complexity of issues to gain a deeper understanding and to gain an appreciation of both sides of a debate.
Let young people set the agenda
Young people should be deciding which topics are discussed to make sure they have a chance to explore issues that they feel are important. Every group has different interests and so it is impossible to second-guess what issues will be most prominent. Allowing young people to set the agenda also gives them the chance to become confident discussing their issues.
Once a young person has an interest in an issue they would like to change they need to understand the power landscape to see where and how to act. Any effective campaigner has an understanding of the political system whether or not they choose to directly engage with it.
Politics from First Principles
1. Explain political differences from their first ideological principles (e.g. Freedom/Equality - Individual/Collective) through discussing different attitudes to spending and services.
2. Map political parties onto this binary and explain political differences in this context.
UK parties do not sit easily onto a left/right spectrum, so explaining the background helps the young people gain clarity.
Explain how the national UK political structures work and how a young person can influence it. This learning needs to be experiential in order to make it relevant to the young people. Focus on:
The role of an MP and how to get nominated.
How a general election works
What powers citizens have to influence change (writing to MP's, joining political parties, voting etc.)
How to Externally influence power
Look at how to influence power without going through traditional systems. Look at economic power, protests, petitions and evaluate what is effective.
Develop critical thinking skills
The language of politics and political parties is often hard for young people to understand. Encourage young people to start to think critically about the media they are consuming and equip the young people to decipher the jargon associated with politics.
Once a young person has the knowledge and self belief to inspire them to make change, they need the technical skills to enable them to succeed in their campaigns.
Young people need to know who to engage with to help them achieve their goal.
Articulating your issue
Young people need to have the ability to talk about what they care about. They need the confidence and presentation skills to convince others to work with them.
Young people need the practical skills to run an effective project that can influence the world. They need an understanding of planning, budgeting, timing and resource management.
Young people need to persuade others to work with them and get advice from experts on how to most effectively run their campaigns
Introduce young people to stakeholders who are in a position to help young people to reach their goals.
Conversations with Power
Create opportunities for young people to have genuine conversations with people in power so both parties can gain an insight into the others perspective.
Create opportunities for young people to visit local organisations which can help them gain a better understanding of issues they which to tackle or of how best to make a difference.
Young people are now in a position to deliver social action projects to tackle issues they care about. They need to be designed to be: fast-paced, meaningful and realistic for best outcomes.
Create Hustings events where young people can directly hold leaders to account regarding the issues they care about. These can be constituency hustings, digital hustings or they can be events with local leaders. Where possible hold these events in civic spaces.
Young people should now be in a position to engage with society and convince others that their view is valid. They need to be supported to get the most out of this opportunity.
Social and Digital Media Focus
This programme should be the start of a journey of change for young people and not the end point. Young people often find it easiest and most effective to engage on social and digital media platforms both to campaign and to communicate. Therefore to help them to succeed their should be an emphasis on social and digital media throughout the process.
In order to engage a young person in politics they need to understand that politics is personal and effects them in many ways. Once they have that understanding you can equip them with the knowledge, skills and networks to go out and make a difference.