The Association of CSPE Teachers (ACT)
Supporting Citizenship Education in Ireland
Community Project in Carnew
by Linda Dunne, Colaiste Bhride, Carnew, Co. Wicklow.
In the process of discussing the concept of community the idea for the project developed. Our school community was chosen as the starting point. The students decided on this because they wanted to improve their school environment and create an awareness of some physical and social problems with the school.
The class of 24 broke into 6 groups to assess the following: physical environment, school rules, school lunches, bullying, smoking, sport. A 7th group was responsible for fund-raising for the cost of speakers. They organised "Quadralingual Bingo" for all 2nd years! The other 6 groups set about compiling questionnaires, writing telephoning inviting. To focus the activities it was decided to have a "CSPE School Activity Week". The effect around the school was encouraging. The co-operation of staff was freely given. Those who were invited to the talks could be heard in the school corridors discussing what was going on.
Speakers cane from The Co. Council, St Mary's College, Arklow, there was a district nurse and an expert on bullying. Trees were planted on the grounds and an art and creative writing competition captured the imaginations of first years. Student comments were positive: "I was amazed how much our class could do in a very short time" " ... the class pulled together and worked very hard."
However I became frustrated as did the students (perhaps to a lesser extent), when they set about writing THE ACTION PROJECT REPORT! There was insufficient space to demonstrate or discuss what they had actually found out or earned. Their skills surmounted those of letter writing and making phone calls!