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Lessons

Conor Harrison
and
Máirín Wilson
1
C HA
ER
P T

Active
Citizenship
Lesson New School, New Subject
1

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Lesson 1: Benvenuto
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New Subject
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Welcome to Civic, Social and Political Education
This is a time of great change for you. Just look at all that is new
for you these days. There are so many new things to take in.
Civic, Social and Political Education is usually called CSPE and is
one of your new subjects. In CSPE you will learn about:

You as a citizen.
The country, Ireland,
in which you live.

The community.
Europe and the
wider world.

nuto
Bem
ome
men
men You will also find out how to:
hos pe a
nd the Wo
++ Get involved in issues. ro rld
áilte Eu Ireland
men ++ Act responsibly. Communit
Bem y
++ Recognise your rights. Individual
ndos
men ++ Find out information for yourself.
hos ++ Work in groups with others.
áilte
++ Examine issues from different
nuto
points of view and discuss
men them in class.
Bem
ome
men
hos Lesson 1: New School, New Subject 3
áilte
men
TH I N K
&
is b o o k , w e will encourage
STOP

Through o u t th
sk th e fo ll ow in g q uestions:
you to a

What can I as an
individual citizen do? What can we as What can the
a society do? world do?

What can we as
a community do?

What can
Europe do?

What can we as
a state do?

TY
IV I
T
AC

My School Community
You are part of many communities and your school is one of them.
Get some information on your community. Write out the following in
your copy and complete the details.

Name of my school: My Year Head’s name:


Address of my school: My Class Tutor’s name:
School telephone number: My Student Council Representative:
School fax number: Number of students in the school:
School email address: Name of my class:
Principal’s name: Number of students in my class:
Deputy Principal’s name: Subjects I am studying:

4 Lesson 1: New School, New Subject


The CSPE course is about active
citizenship and is built on seven course
concepts. These concepts (ideas or
topics) are the foundations for the
course. This book uses these concepts
as a way of covering the entire Junior
Certificate CSPE subject. You will
understand these concepts as you learn
more about each one over the next
three years.
Here’s a paragraph on what each Rights and Responsibilities
concept is about. You might be asked Human Dignity
about concepts or issues in your Junior Development
Certificate examination so be sure that
Stewardship
you will be able to explain each of these
in your own words. Democracy
Law
Interdependence

Human Dignity
Every human being has human dignity and so has a right to
basic needs, like food, health, security, shelter and education.
If people’s basic needs are not met, then there is a loss of their
human dignity. We must value and respect human beings
Human Dignity
regardless of their age, colour, gender or religious beliefs.
issues include:
Respecting human dignity means treating all people equally
poverty, homelessness, famine,
and ending all discrimination.
genocide, education, discrimination
and disability.

Rights and Responsibilities


Everybody has human rights simply because they are human;
no one is left out. When learning about human rights, you
will study the rights of people everywhere, both at home and
abroad. Human rights must be protected and guarded.
Respecting the rights of others goes hand in hand with ilities issues
Rights and Responsib
having our own human rights. You will learn about these
include: the UDHR, the
UNCRC, racism,
rights and about how we are each responsible for our (children’s
bullying, rights of some groups
actions towards other people. Rights and responsibilities s’ rights),
go together.
rights, women’s rights, traveller
ees.
asylum seekers and refug

Lesson 1: New School, New Subject 5


Stewardship
A steward is a person who looks after property or things
that do not personally belong to them. Every person
born on this planet becomes its steward and is trusted
with its care. We have a responsibility to care for the
planet – for ourselves and for future generations. In CSPE,
e:
issues includ we will see how our actions have an effect on the planet.
Stewardship
on footprints, If we do not act responsibly, we could do damage to
litter, recycling, carb
er conser vation, the planet that will influence the
animal welfare, wat
d saving energy. world for many years to come.
climate change an

Development
When learning about development, we will explore the way
improvements happen at different levels in our local community,
in Ireland and in the world. This concept in CSPE is about planning
for development and about how we can be a part of development
in a democratic society. You will also learn about underdeveloped
places and how a responsible society plays a part in
supporting them. Development issues include:
inventions and innovation, planning
for change and development in
the developed world and issues in
underdeveloped countries like famine,
drought, housing and healthcare.
Democracy
Democracy is a form of government. In CSPE, we will explore how
this type of government works. We will examine how people can get
involved at all levels of society and use their power by taking part. In
this way, people can make a difference. Living in a democracy – as we
do in Ireland – means that we have the right and the responsibility to
act on behalf of people who don’t have democratic rights. Democracy
respects human rights.

Democracy issues include:


voting and elections, how laws are
passed, political parties, the President,
an Taoiseach, Ministers, TDs, Senators,
Councillors and Student Councils.

6 Lesson 1: New School, New Subject


Law
Rules have a very important purpose in any
community, society or country. Learning about
the law involves finding out about the rules
that are recognised by the people in society.
The law is there to protect life and property
and to keep the peace by finding ways of
ending conflicts. The law makes sure that
people’s rights are protected and promoted. Law Issues include:
em,
While studying this concept, we will also the Irish legal system, the courts, the prison syst
an
explore how people can object to unjust laws. different types of laws (e.g. consumer, labour),
ch/
Garda Síochána, road safety, and community wat
neighbourhood watch.

Interdependence
All human and natural life is linked, be it at local, national
or even global levels. The actions we take can influence
people we will never meet and never see, while events
that happen elsewhere in the world can affect Ireland.
As citizens and consumers, we have responsibilities not
to have a negative effect on other people in the world.
ence issu es
Interdepend If we take positive actions, we can make the world a
include: better place for all.
, the United
the European Union
child labour and
Nations, Fair trade,
s with the world.
Ireland’s connection

ORK
EW
M

For homework, find one image that helps to explain what


HO

each of the seven CSPE course concepts is about. You


may use newspapers, magazines and the internet to find
images. Stick these images into your CSPE copy/folder.

Lesson 1: New School, New Subject 7


Lesson New School,
Being an Active
NewCitizen
Subject
1
2

on you will:
By the end of this less

Know a little about the history of cit


izenship
and the meaning of the word ‘citizen
ship’.
Have
read
e ta k e n p a r t in an activity to about some
Hav
y o u u n d e r s ta n d what being a famous and
help
o n s ib le c it iz e n is about. some not-so-
resp famous citizens
and have chosen
Have developed and used your some star citizens
thinking and discussion skills. of your own.

8 Lesson 2: Being an Active Citizen


TY
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T
Being a Citizen When you were younger you might

AC
have written your name and address
CSPE is about exploring what it means to
something like this:
be a citizen. The word ‘citizenship’ comes
from the Latin word civitas, which means
‘citizens united in a community’. Remember,
you are part of a number of communities –
your school community, your local community
where you live, the Irish community and the
worldwide community of people everywhere.
If you are a citizen of a country, then you can In your CSPE copy/folder make out your own
usually get a passport for that country. But envelope and write out your address. The last line
being a citizen today is not the same as it used should read ‘The World’.
to be.

The Greeks believed citizenship was an honour which was


inherited or won. Foreigners, slaves, women and peasants could Aristotle
not be citizens.

Julius The Romans saw citizens as people who had special rights, like
Caesar the right to serve in the army, to vote and to trade. Again, not all
people were seen as citizens.

Queen
Elizabeth I
In medieval times people obeyed their king or queen. Some were
freemen and some were not. People looked to their rulers to
protect them and were called subjects, not citizens.

King
Louis XIV In the age of revolutions, people questioned the way they were
ruled and treated. Revolutions, especially in France and America,
saw the birth of ideas of freedom and equality. Everyone was seen
as an equal citizen.

In modern times, we still believe that all citizens are equal and
that being a citizen means that we have certain rights and
responsibilities. Today we also think of ourselves as citizens of
the world – this is called being a global citizen.

‘One person can make a difference, and every one should try.’ John F Kennedy

Lesson 2: Being an Active Citizen 9


TH I N K
&

STOP
The Starfish Story
A young lad was walking down a deserted beach after a major storm. He
was astonished by the huge number of starfish that the storm had washed up
on the beach. He thought there was nothing he could do because there were so
many. In the distance he saw a frail old woman. As he approached her, he saw her bend over,
pick up a stranded starfish and throw it back into the sea.
The young lad gazed in wonder as the old woman bent over again and again, picked up
stranded starfish and threw them from the sand into the water. He asked, ‘Why do you spend
so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?’ The old woman explained that the
stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun.
‘But there must be thousands of starfish on this beach alone!’ exclaimed the young lad. ‘How
can you make a difference?’ The old woman looked at the small starfish in her hand and, as
she threw it to the safety of the sea, she said, ‘I made a difference to that one, didn’t I?’
What does this story tell you about active citizenship?
Why do you think this textbook is called ‘Make A Difference!’

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Active Citizen Activity
T
AC

Here is an activity to help you explore what being an active citizen is all about.
1. Divide into pairs.
2. Copy the following table in your CSPE copy:

Yes No Sometimes We Can’t Agree

3. Look at each Active Citizen picture on the next page and decide which heading it fits under.
R ’S R E S O
Write out each sentence under the heading you decide fits best. HE
C

UR
TEA

4. When you have listed all the pictures under a heading, compare the list you have made
CE

with the lists from other groups in your class.

10 Lesson 2: Being an Active Citizen