You Have A Voice, So Use It!

The right to vote is one of the most important aspects of living in this democratic country, and it need not be a process filled with anxiety. Websites like USA.gov provide all of the nuts and bolts information about registering to vote, but keep in mind that the deadlines for registering are coming soon for many states. If you need an absentee ballot, such as a friend of mine who just relocated to New York City from South Carolina to attend Bank Street, you can easily request a form for your home state online.

A major aspect of progressive education, which goes hand in hand with democracy, is social responsibility. For those of use able to use our voices, we need to consider the voiceless. As educators, that includes children. If we want to truly affect change among the youth, we must realize how our vote impacts them, not just in terms of schools, but also communities, health, the environment – everything!

Educators, I believe, hold a particularly valuable position as role models, and a responsibility to not only educate children about democracy, but show them that it is alive and maintained by our involvement. As part of Lucy Sprague Mitchell’s credo for Bank Street, a list of potentialities most desirable to be developed in humans included “a striving to live democratically, in and out of schools, as the best way to advance our concept of democracy.”

An election year is a special opportunity for those of us in classroom environments, such as myself, currently a student teacher, to foster democratic thinking. This can be as simple as creating an activity for a class that requires everyone’s opinion, and it can be done with any age group! Even in a Pre-K, small children are capable of voting on their snack preference, as one example of a seed lesson on democracy. And it’s never too early to teach children how to respect differences of opinion. You may be preparing a future voter, or who knows, maybe even a president.

About these ads

One response to “You Have A Voice, So Use It!

  1. This is such an important post and the examples you give for educators to introduce democracy in even the youngest classrooms are great! As a kindergarten teacher I often had my students vote on class decisions such as snack and they really grew to understand big ideas like majority, fairness, and differences in opinion! Thanks for blogging :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s