Active Citizenship Resources for Youth

“No one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime. Young people must be included from birth. A society that cuts off from its youth severs its lifeline.” – Kofi Annan

Click the photos to see some of our favourite active citizenship resources.

ICSEI Conference Workshop – Jan. 10, 2017

Research partners will be presenting a workshop on the Doing Democracy project at the ICSEI 2017 Conference this January, entitled, “Collaborating in a time of democratic change: Research and practice towards youth civic engagement in hybrid spaces”.

This workshop will engage participants in an investigation of the intersections connecting community service-learning, teacher candidate pedagogical development, and democratic education. The authors will draw on their experiences implementing a multi-sectoral collaboration (including government, non-profit, and academic partners), that engages 30 teacher candidates and over 1,000 high school students in learning around civic knowledge, political awareness, and democratic pedagogical practices. Using an inquiry-based learning approach, the workshop will offer space for participants to share perspectives and tools around partnership development for youth democratic engagement, and will offer insights into effective knowledge mobilization that supports student teachers in developing identities as civic educators and actors.

CSSE 2016 Conference

Project partners presented a paper at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education‘s annual conference in June, 2016. For a full version of the paper or PowerPoint, please email

Learning to Teach Citizenship: Collaborative Partnerships and Service-Learning in Teacher Education

Civic learning in teacher education is particularly important given that beginning teachers are often tasked with teaching citizenship courses (Milner & Lewis, 2011) and that teachers’ civic knowledge, conceptions of citizenship, and political and social awareness influence their pedagogical practices (e.g. Author, 2009; Journell, 2013), which in turn impact different forms of civic engagement (Kahne, Crow & Lee, 2013). This paper offers a framework for developing an extracurricular service-learning project during teacher education that supports teacher candidates in self-authoring identities as civic educators and actors. The study addresses three questions: (1) How do teacher candidates conceptualize teaching civics and citizenship education, and how does their thinking shift over the course of their involvement in a service-learning project? (2) To what degree do teacher candidates self-author identities as civic actors and educators as a result of their participation in the service-learning project? (3) Which elements of the service-learning project and community partnership contribute to teacher candidates’ development as civic educators and actors?

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IAACS 2015 Conference

Members of the research team presented their findings at the International Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies annual conference in May, 2015. The paper, entitled “Youth Civic Identities: Cultivating spaces for engagement through campaigning, social media, and arts-based competencies”, looked at three research questions: 1) What issues are youth concerned with?; 2)What types of support do youth think they need to address these issues?; and What projects are youth involved with, or want to be involved with? Findings can be found in the full presentation, posted on the Research page.


Community engagement encourages voting in youth

According to the National Youth Survey (2011) there is a positive relationship between voting and other forms of civic engagement. Youth who participated in different political activities – such as signing a petition or attending a community meeting about a local issue – were more likely to vote. Of the 22% of youth who had participated in two or more activities, participation was 12 percentage points higher than for the 52% of youth who had participated in no activities. Providing many opportunities for youth to get involved can help them to become more active citizens. People who talk about politics are also more likely to vote. The National Youth Survey (2011) showed that turnout for youth who discussed politics with their friends was 25 percentage points higher than for those who did not. For youth who discussed politics with their family, turnout was 31 percentage points higher than for youth who did not. Talking about politics is a simple, yet powerful way to build democratic engagement.

Source: Elections Canada. (2011). National Youth Survey: