Saturday, 24 March 2012

Learning About British and European Politics

We didn't learn anything about modern politics when I was at school. The subject just wasn't on the curriculum. I didn't even know you could study it until after I'd left school!

And they wanted me to vote???

Having left home at 18 to live in a small bedsit, I was feeling grown up but politically clueless. So I did what any compulsive self educator would. I completed a Politics 'O' level evening class when I was 19.

After that, politics became a bit of a passion for a while. My interest continued to build as I eventually began working in local government and found myself being coached in double speak. It grew fast as my professional and personal commitment to equal rights gained momentum. It developed further as I gradually became expert at being politic in the convoluted interdisciplinary fora that local authorities are famous for.

However, it started to lose it's appeal as it started to come naturally, as I developed my own inner spin artist. Politics fascinated me as an academic topic, but being politic as a lifeskill? Well, how do I put this? The more politic someone becomes the less I trust them. The more I learnt how to play the politics game the less I liked myself.

Nowadays I'm more direct, more uncompromising, more blunt. You see, overall I care a lot less about a lot more. I've become frank as I've become unconcerned. I've become honest as I've become uninterested. I've become open as I've become unattached. A lot of people like me a lot less now, and now I couldn't give a damn!

Still, despite my rejection of personally playing politics, I recognise that a particular form of politics makes the western european world go around. Indeed, I know I might need to reinstate those skills at some point (if only for emergencies) and, sure, I need to explain to Cupcake how and why this society works as it does.

Subsequently, I've been collating some appropriate links -

I found a marvellous interactive timeline resource for learning about culture, politics, technology and everyday life through the ages from The British Museum

There's a great little Politics for Beginners download at The Guardian Teacher Network website.

It's also worth looking at original papers, photos, maps and other primary sources at the Power Politics and Protest exhibition from The National Archives.

There's an easy to read Guide to Voting and more great politics resources at Do Politics

And there's the Citizen X website from the BBC.

There's also lots more on British politics at including some interactive games and videos.

Now for Part 2!

Then I came across the Road to Democracy Webquest from the National Portrait gallery. There's so much good stuff on the net!

Of course, I need to consider Europe too. The Europa website has games, booklets and more (all with a positive spin, of course).

And there's also the Europe and Me Toolkit to download from the Network of European Foundations.

I think I'm also going to apply for a free education pack on the European Parliament by emailing and requesting 'The European Parliament: What's That?" (hard copy only so give them your address details) and maybe take a look at a couple of their interactive games.

Finally, promoting political awareness and debate about the EU, the Civitas website claims to approach the EU issue objectively. Their worksheets and fact sheets are aimed at older children and adults (perhaps more for my perusal than Cupcake's?).

Have you got any related resources to suggest?

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