What is CSPE?
Civic, Social and Political Education is about you, the students, as members of your local community, as citizens of Ireland, Europe and the World. CSPE wants to help you in becoming citizens who know your rights, and your responsibilities. At the end of the course, you should know about things like law, democracy, the environment, the local community, development of society, the dignity of being human, how every one worldwide depends on each other in some way. You should be able to stand up for something you believe in as citizens, and know how to do something about it!
During your First Year and Third Year in Blackrock College, you will be doing an Action Project, and in your Third Year you will write a Report on one of these Projects. It is the Report, rather than the Project itself, which will be examined as part of your Junior Cert. CSPE assessment, and you will get 60% of your final mark for it. The exam you will do at the end of the course will be for the other 40% of your Junior Cert. CSPE assessment.
At the end of the course, you should know a lot about the seven key concepts, or ideas, in CSPE:
- Our rights and responsibilities as members of our local community, and as citizens of Ireland and Europe.
- Our role as stewards, people who have to care for the world we live in.
- How development helps to improve things, but sometimes at a cost!
- How democracy works in Ireland, from County Councils to the Oireachtas.
- Why we have laws, and how these rules of society help protect people.
- The dignity which every human being deserves, whether President or asylum seeker.
- How people all around the world are in some way interdependent, rely on each other.
Every part of your CSPE course is linked to at least one of these concepts, and your Action Project MUST be linked to one of these as well.
Your Action Project
As part of CSPE, you and your classmates will do an Action Project. Your action can be as part of a group or on your own. You will chose a topic or an issue that you came across in CSPE, or is linked to something you did in CSPE. It should be something you found interesting and want to find out more about, or do something about. Your project MUST reflect the Human Rights and Social Responsibility dimension of the course. What should you do?
- Choose a topic
- Decide who you might work with, if anyone
- Pick a small part of the topic to look into
- Divide up the research and the actions you will do
- Keep a record of EVERYTHING
- Start your activities
- Don’t just look up facts
- You MUST be in contact with PEOPLE
- Collect all your findings and information
- Show what should be done for the future in this topic
- Present your project to your classmates
Activities you can do in your Action Project
- Invite in a guest speaker
- Interview an expert
- Organise an awareness week
- Letter writing
- Fax messages
- Tape recording
- Information leaflets
- Visiting a place of interest
- Wall display
- Giving a talk
- Video presentation
Report on your Action Project
The Report is NOT part of your Project. When you have finished your Project and presented it in a scrap-book, poster display or video presentation, you can look back on what you have done, and what you have learnt, and ONLY THEN write up your Report in the booklet provided by the School.Your Report will be in five parts:
1- Title – 3 marks (1 page)
The title should give a clear idea of the action that has been taken.
Include the key concept the project is related to and the main activity you undertook: e.g., ‘A questionnaire on people’s attitudes to asylum seekers in my area’.
2- Introduction – 7 marks (1 page)
Give three reasons why you chose this particular Action Project.
Explain which key concept the project is linked to, and the class it arose from in CSPE.
3- Activities – 40 marks (3 pages)
Page 1 (10 marks)
You should list and briefly & clearly describe all the different activities done by the whole group.
Page 2 (15 marks)
Give a detailed account of ONE particular task which you started and finished.
Page 3 (15 marks)
Identify the different skills which you used in doing this task, giving a detailed account of at least two. The skills areas are Identification, Analysis, Communication and Action.
4. Summary of Action Project – 20 marks (1 page)
In the Summary, you should outline what sort of facts and information you found out about the topic of the Project.
Include the findings of ALL the group.
5. Conclusion – 20 marks (1 page)
The conclusion should reflect your own views about the Action Project.
Give reasons for arriving at this conclusion.
Make sure that your views reflect the Human Rights and Social Responsibility dimensions of CSPE.
Explain how what you have learned could change you for the future, particularly the way you might act.
You should use the Project to practice the following skills:
Skills which help you to collect information
– Letter writing, telephone calls
– Using computers, sending e-mail
– Surveying, asking questions, interviewing
Being able to use the information you collect
– Collating, sorting
Practicing & developing the skills of communication
– Group participation, discussion, debating
– Designing, planning, presenting, publishing, reporting
– Role play, acting, miming
Being able to do something about what you believe in
– Political skills, like voting, decision making, debating, leadership
– Social skills, like hosting, liaising, negotiating
– Other skills, like fundraising, budgeting
Action Project Resources
There are lots of useful addresses in the phone book, especially the State Directory (green pages) at the front. Also, look up local directories, and the Internet. Don’t forget: contact PEOPLE!
The title of the course is Civics and Social Studies. Each Transition Year student will take a module in TY with 13/14 class periods per module. The course aims to continue the work of CSPE from the Junior Cycle, and prepare students for active participatory citizenship. This is achieved through an exploration of the civic, social and political dimensions of their lives at a time when pupils are developing from dependent children into independent young adults. The course should produce knowledgeable pupils who can explore, analyse and evaluate, who are skilled and practised in moral and critical appraisal, and capable of making decisions and judgements through a reflective citizenship, based on human rights and social responsibilities. Such pupils should be better prepared for living in a world where traditional structures and values are being challenged, and where pupils are being confronted with conflicting interests, impermanent structures and constant questioning.
Civics is important for each individual. It enables pupils to use their minds well in a changing, complex society. It helps them to understand the rights and responsibilities of the individual in society, and the workings and nature of democracy. Attention to the concepts, attitudes and values central to citizenship develops the moral and critical faculties of the pupil. Civics seeks to be affective and to equip pupils with the skills and understanding of processes which enable them to see, decide, judge and act. Its employment of active and co-operatively structured learning methodologies enables and empowers the pupil to become an active and participative young person.
The general aims and principles of Civics should concord wholly with those of the Transition Year programme. In particular, the aim of Transition Year, to ‘prepare students for their role as autonomous, participative and responsible members of society’, is a central concern of the Civics course.
Through active exploration and study of citizenship at all levels (personal, local, national, global) in the context of contemporary social and political issues, this course aims to:
- make pupils aware of the civic, social and political dimensions of their lives and the importance of active, participative citizens to the life of the state and all people;
- encourage and develop the practical skills which enable pupils to engage in active, participatory social interaction, and to adopt responsible roles as individual, family member, citizen, worker, consumer, and member of various communities within a democratic society;
- develop the autonomous potential of pupils as socially literate, independent and self-confident young people;
- encourage pupils to apply positive attitudes, imagination and empathy in learning about and encountering, other people and cultures.