Reengaging youth in politics through a new approach to civics education.
The Institute’s Education Department is committed to providing students with thorough knowledge of contemporary political issues and the skills needed to discuss these issues in a productive manner. Not only are civic engagement and education lacking among younger generations today, but our harshly partisan political climate is preventing students from understanding the many dimensions of an issue in a way that makes effective problem-solving possible.
Our Education team at YIP seeks to change these trends through a nonpartisan, discourse-based approach to civics curriculum. The YIP high school civics curriculum focuses on addressing the most pressing political issues today and providing opportunities for students to discuss, debate, and engage in these issues. Our curriculum begins with a foundational unit of hands-on exercises in formal debate, political discourse, and community engagement through which students build core skills in research, creative problem-solving, analysis, and argumentation.
Building on this foundation, each of the following seven units of the curriculum addresses a different polarizing political issue, such as the proper role of government and America’s responsibilities in foreign affairs, with the goal of students understanding the substance of each issue and its relevant ideological perspectives. Students are encouraged to look beyond their own perspectives and to engage thoughtfully with other points of view. The ultimate goal is for students to break down the partisan barriers surrounding these issues through discussions that achieve problem-solving and consensus-building.
The Education Department’s primary goal is to implement our curriculum in classrooms beginning in the 2023-24 academic year, taught either as an elective course or by integrating specific units or activities into existing course offerings. Our curriculum is designed to give schools and teachers flexibility both in the content they implement and how they apply that content to their respective classes. By bringing this approach to classrooms, we seek to equip students of all personal and political backgrounds with the ability to evaluate contemporary issues and engage with other perspectives. We believe that learning to have solution-oriented dialogues instead of polarized debates about complex issues is a skill that can and should be developed starting in the classroom.
To make our educational content and mission more accessible, we will be releasing select resources online in the near future. These resources will be designed for teachers to easily incorporate into their classrooms to further engage students, either alongside our curriculum or existing courses in schools. Resources will include worksheets for discussions, guidelines for productive debates and other discussion-based activities, and political engagement resources for students. This content will be offered online at no cost and will be available by summer 2023, so stay tuned!
As we work towards implementing our curriculum in classrooms, we are also offering educational opportunities through online or in-person workshops. Education Department workshops align with the curriculum’s mission of combating political polarization through discourse but provide this experience in a 60-90 minute discussion-based event. Led by YIP’s Education team, these workshops focus on relevant political issues with the goal of students collaborating on policy solutions and familiarizing themselves with new points of view.
Past workshops have shown tremendous efficacy in expanding students’ understanding of other ideological perspectives and of the various considerations involved in contemporary issues.
If you are interested in hosting a workshop with your classroom, club, organization, or other group, please contact us at [email protected].
Join the Team
If you are interested in interning for the Education Department, please fill out the form linked below. We currently have opportunities available in outreach, editing, research, data analytics, graphic and illustrative design, and scholarly research review.
For any questions regarding open positions, please contact [email protected]. We look forward to seeing your applications!