School of Government program focuses on engaging students in civic education

Eager listeners pay close attention as their instructor stresses the importance of history and learning about civic duty. As they look at books and newspaper articles about the civil rights movement, he tells them, “History is the living ingredient in our own lives.”

No, these aren’t middle school students. These are their teachers. The classroom is actually a conference room, and the man speaking is Tim Tyson, one of the instructors at the “From Segregation to Civil Rights” teacher workshop put on by the North Carolina Civic Education Consortium.

The program, which took place in January 2009, is one of the many innovative training workshops that the North Carolina Civic Education Consortium hosts for history, government and social studies teachers.

The consortium, a program started by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Government in 1997, was a response to local government officials’ concerns about the low levels of youth civic engagement in their communities. It offers professional development and technical assistance to teachers, community leaders and local governments to prepare North Carolina’s young people to be active, responsible citizens.

“The Consortium develops interactive and engaging lessons for busy teachers who would like to use experiential activities with their students. Since schools really serve as a laboratory for students to learn about and participate in civic life, we want to provide kid-tested, teacher-approved curriculum and activities,” said Christie Hinson, the consortium’s project director .

Through its teaching, research and public service, Carolina connects with the people of our state every day in ways that improve lives and build futures.

A Community Engaged University” recognized by the
 Carnegie Foundation