Beyond the Headlines
Apr 20, 2023
Civics Education in the New Normal - Part 2 (Dimitri Pavlounis)
Are Canadian students being set up for success as adults in a democratic society? A functional democracy requires its citizens to participate fully in its collective institutions, which exist to serve the public interest and create public value. In this episode, we are looking at the role that civics education plays in creating a healthy, happy society. We believe that a strong civics education provides up & coming citizens with the relevant knowledge and toolsets necessary for participating respectfully in the political process to achieve the social outcomes that they want. Some observers claim that current civics curricula are inadequate in preparing students for their adult roles as civic participants.
In this episode, we have invited two experts to join us for a conversation about the role of civics education in contemporary democracies. Our first guest, Rebecca Rajcak, will speak about the landscape of the modern civics classroom in Ontario, and what could be improved, from an educator's perspective. Our second speaker, Dimitri Pavlounis, will join at 11:30 to discuss the role of civics education more broadly, how civics education is linked to democratic outcomes, and his work with CIVIX - a non-profit organization which leads the popular student vote programs in civics classrooms across Canada.
Hess, D. E., & McAvoy, P. (2014). The political classroom: Evidence and ethics in democratic education. Routledge.
Pavlounis, D., Johnston, J., Brodsky, J., & Brooks, P. The Digital Media Literacy Gap: How to build widespread resilience to false and misleading information using evidence-based classroom tools. CIVIX Canada, November 2021.
Rebecca Rajcak is Program Leader of English, Canada & World Studies, Social Sciences & Humanities, First Nations, Métis & Inuit Studies, and Library Services at a high school in Burlington. She teaches English, Civics and Careers, special education, and I-STEM classes. She holds a Master’s Degree in Literature from Queen’s University, as well as Bachelor degrees in English (UofW) and Education (Western). Rebecca is a dedicated and passionate anti-colonial, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive educator, and chairs as a mentor on her school’s student Equity Club.
Dimitri Pavlounis is the Research Director at CIVIX, a Canadian educational charity dedicated to building the skills and habits of active and informed citizenship among youth through experiential learning opportunities. He recently helped lead a large-scale national evaluation of CTRL-F, a digital literacy program aimed at helping students navigate our polluted information environment. Prior to joining CIVIX, he completed his PhD in Media Studies at the University of Michigan and taught numerous courses in media studies and digital studies at colleges and universities in the U.S.
Connor Fraser - Executive Producer
Maria Cvetkova - Junior Producer