Campaigning is at the heart of Citizenship education. Active and effective citizens know how to campaign to change something they dislike, or keep something they like. But good campaigns need good planning, and I’ve used a campaign planning tool I call, ‘Roots & Fruits’ for a number of years.
It takes students through four key questions:
- what’s the issue you want to change?
- what are the roots of this problem?
- who has the power to do something about it?
- how can you persuade them to act?
Working through these questions by drawing a tree with roots (of the problem) and fruits (solutions to the problem) seems to make all the difference.
It also provides a way in to teaching students about who in fact does have the power and responsibility to deal with some of the issues that concern them.
Rather than start by trying to teach them about local government, start by asking what bothers them in the local area. Then when they realise that in order to re-build their local park or improve that road crossing, they may need the help of their local councillors, local government will suddenly become more interesting, because that’s the institution that can help them achieve their goal.
Below is the Roots & Fruits template: