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How Integral Is Leadership to Active Citizenship?

Identify the most effective strategies citizens could take in response to an issue of local, national or global significance and develop a plan of action.

Outcomes References Related Resources

Suggested Activities

In this possible culminating critical challenge, students explore the role of leadership as part of active citizenship by identifying effective strategies and then developing action plans designed to address issues of local, national or global significance.

Select significant issues
Provide students with a range of contemporary issues taken from newspaper headlines or current events. Ask students to identify an issue of interest to them. Examples of issues include the following:

Local issues:

  • preservation of historically significant buildings
  • enforcement of teenage curfews
  • affordable housing shortage; rent controls
  • environmental issues
  • homelessness and poverty.

Provincial and/or national issues:

  • environmental issues
  • homelessness and poverty
  • crime
  • publishing the names of young offenders
  • land claims
  • national unity
  • Canadian involvement in overseas conflicts
  • food safety.

Global issues:

  • humanitarian issues
  • environmental issues
  • trade agreements.

Brainstorm strategies
After groups have selected their issues, ask students to identify problems related to the issue. Ask students to brainstorm a list of strategies that they and their peers could use to bring about a positive resolution to the identified problems. Students should generate a list of several different strategies they could use. Ask students to sort their strategies into two categories: those strategies that would require individual leadership and those that would require collective leadership. Next, ask students to respond to questions such as the following:

  • How important is leadership in addressing this issue?
  • Are there ideologies that could effectively contribute to the resolution of this problem?
  • Are there ideologies that could hinder the resolution of this problem?

Select the most effective strategies
Ask students to consider the identified strategies and then select the three most effective strategies to address each issue. Students may use these criteria:

  • respect: includes respect for cultural and local traditions
  • viability: is doable
  • sustainability: will have long-term positive impact on quality of life.

You may wish to refer to Considering Options to structure and assess this activity.

Choose an effective strategy to address an issue of significance
Invite students to select one of the issues that have been considered and then to choose an effective strategy that could be used to respond to the issue.

You may want to adapt the charts and strategies in Justifying My Choice to structure and assess students’ recommendations.

Prepare a plan of action
After students have chosen an issue and a possible strategy, invite them to suggest the steps they might follow to develop a successful plan for the best action. The following steps could form an outline for a successful plan of action:

  1. Learn more about the selected issue.
  2. Identify the goals and objectives they hope to accomplish.
  3. Develop a list of strategies or steps they might undertake to achieve the goals.
  4. Identify both the strengths and weaknesses of each possible strategy or step.
  5. Consider what resources, e.g., human, monetary, material, will be needed.
  6. Create an action time line.
  7. Indicate how to measure the impact of the actions.

Share plan of action
Arrange for students to develop and share their personal plan of action with the class. Ask small groups of students to critique the effectiveness of the plans using the above criteria. Classmates could be encouraged to provide a productive critique of their strategies by questioning, in a respectful manner, the logistics, likely impact and possible challenges of the plan.

Last updated: January 30, 2009 | (Revision History)
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