You have an enduring passion for fostering democratic participation through political action, whether your end goal is social justice, environmentalism, public health, or any number of specific social and political issues. You see your role in the classroom as a catalyst for students to begin to understand how they might have a voice in improving the quality of life in their communities and in the world. You want your students to understand that they have the power, even at a young age, to change the world as engaged participants in the democratic process.
Teaching students how to guard themselves from harmful and oppressive media messages and how to “talk back” to negative and stereotypical media images.
Preparing students for democratic participation with robust knowledge of the civic process.
Sharing a particular vision for civic engagement based on views or media with which students may be unfamiliar.
Helping students to feel comfortable voicing their own opinions and ideas in political action.
Providing opportunities for students to create media that expresses their original ideas within an existing political or social landscape.
Encouraging students to question and challenge assumed beliefs and opinions about the world to foster civic engagement.
Activists are often natural leaders who raise students’ consciousness about their role in a healthy democratic environment. They often have extensive knowledge of global and local issues around which students can become passionate and engaged directly in a political process, whether they advocate for a new recycling program in their school or write letters to local news stations.
Activists sometimes over- or underestimate the extent to which students have truly developed their own sets concrete values and beliefs—in some cases, students’ “home” beliefs are contrary to the vision of the instructor, while in others students simply do not know yet what they believe. This makes the Activist teacher vulnerable to imposing a specific set of beliefs on students who are either opposed to or unsure of their instructor’s opinions or values.