Municipalities Matter

Lesson Six: Democracy in Action

Now that students are aware of the governance of their community, the issues facing their community, and the people that represent them or are running to do so, they have the background knowledge needed for bringing their concerns about the community to the forefront. This lesson provides methods for students to construct a plan for their personal involvement in the political system.

Suggested Curriculum Links
The primary intent of this lesson is to explore avenues for involvement in the political system, and then launch students into creating their own action plan to do so. Therefore, this lesson can achieve several Indicators within the following Outcome:

  • Power and Authority 8.4.


1. On the board, create five columns that students can line up in front of. Label columns:
Strongly Agree • Agree • Neutral • Disagree • Strongly Disagree
Read the statement: “Citizens cannot expect positive change unless they speak out and act upon issues they are passionate about.”
Ask students to stand in the column with the stance they most agree with. Allow class discussion of various stances, then give students opportunity to change their position. Ask those who moved to share why they changed their opinion.

2. Ask students to share and discuss issues facing the community that they find of interest.

3. Work through Speak Out! Personal Involvement in the Political System as a class. Discuss each method’s merits and drawbacks.

4. To illustrate how many of the Speak Out methods work in unison, as a class or in groups examine the in-depth case study Bypassing the Saskatoon Public Library.

5. To broaden understandings of citizen participation in society, have students build a plan to participate in any of the listed activities in Speak Out! Personal Involvement in the Political System. Students could observe a rally, write an email to an elected representative, speak at a council meeting, volunteer with a community advocacy group, or even report about posters with political messages in their community. Have students research effective examples of what they are setting out to do, then build an action plan of their own. It is highly likely that any action plan will involve more than just one of the listed methods, and may include ideas not included on the following pages.

Further Exploration
6. Teachers interested in teaching for political consciousness may be interested in reading Paul Orlowski’s “Teaching For and About Democracy, Including Its Flaws.” Find it in Democracy & Education, Vol. 18 No. 2.

Speak Out! Personal Involvement in the Political System


Speak Out! Bypassing the Saskatoon Public Library