PARTICIPATING IN A CONNECTED WORLD:
EXPLORING CIVIC ISSUES, DISCOVERING CIVIC INTERESTS
What civic issues do you hear people in your community talking about most?
Activity #1: Interview Someone in Your Community About Civic Issues of Concern to Them
(45 min, including outside of class time)
Ask students to reach out to someone in their local community and ask them for approximately 30 minutes of their time. It could be someone who lives in their neighborhood, someone who works at their school, or in a local business that they visit frequently. Above all, students should try to talk with someone who they’d feel comfortable talking with but isn’t a close friend or family member.
Develop a set of interview questions.
Sample interview questions might include.
What communities do you see yourself as part of?
What issue affecting your community/communities is of greatest concern to you right now? Why is this issue important to you? What’s at stake?
Do you know how other people in your community feel about this issue? How do you know? How are their perspectives similar or different from yours?
Do you feel motivated to get involved in addressing this issue? Why/why not? How are you involved OR how might you get involved?
How do you or might you use social media or other online tools to help address this issue? What do/would you hope to achieve and how would you know if you are successful?
For interview tips, browse Youth Radio’s guide on DIY: The Art of the Interview and StoryCorps' lesson on Tips for Effective Interviews.
Ask students to record notes during their interviews. After the interview, they can reflect on their notes and explore the following questions:
What stood out to you as important or interesting from your interview?
Can you connect in any way with the issue(s) your interviewee is concerned with?
Did their perspective change or extend your thinking at all about the issue(s)?
Did you gain any new ideas about how to address civic issues, either online or offline?
Drawing on the previous question, what are some ways that you can engage with your community to address some of the civic issues that are of concern to you and your community?
Students can share their responses to these questions with classmates either in pairs, small groups, or posts on a class blog or discussion site (if your class uses one).
You can direct students to this article that outlines 18 examples of civic engagement activities.