Life Skills Development/Unit Two/Maintaining Good Interpersonal Relationships in the Community - Citizenship/Lesson

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All creeds and races of citizens

What is Citizenship?

Citizenship is the relationship between a person and his or her country, usually the same one he or she lives in, supports, and who owes allegiance to the government of the state and is entitled to certain rights. A person is usually a citizen of the country where he or she is born, but sometimes a person will apply to change his or her citizenship to become a citizen another country. Being a citizen however goes beyond just residing in a country, it also includes some level of nationalism and pride. This is reflected in our interaction and behaviour within our communities and hence with people. Good citizenship also means not making other people’s lives hard, unhappy or dangerous - for example by behaving in an anti-social way. You have rights - but other people have rights too. They are responsible for your peace and safety, and you are responsible for theirs in just the same way.

Essentials of Being a Good Citizen

Obeying the law: Being a good citizen requires a person to obey the laws in your country, community and school. Laws are made to help you and keep you safe. Obeying the law also shows your respect for others. There are certain groups whose jobs were specifically created to keep the country safe and within the law. The police for example are sometimes viewed negatively by many as being oppressive but in the long run they provide an indispensable role in the community. This is inclusive of those talented leaders with the best interest of the country at heart. These groups include:

  • Elected officials as those in government
  • Firemen
  • Judicial officials and juries
  • Law enforcement individuals e.g. Police and guards
  • Military personnel and veterans
  • Teachers

By understanding the issues these groups face; by supporting and challenging them when appropriate; and by ensuring that these groups attract the most talented individuals and have the resources they need to carry out their functions, we can help them do a better job and make the country a better place to live.

National Pride: Being supportive of national endeavors that the country may pursue can show national pride. This can also be shown by showing respect for the national anthem by standing at attention. Being able to recite proudly our creed and anthem and respecting the flag.

Contributing to the Community: Our country, in reality is composed of a community of communities. A sense of community and of belonging is something most of us need and want - but which many of us are missing.

In today's world where both parents often work, where technology allows us to communicate without leaving the house, where crime has limited our outside activities, where we travel and are a mobile society and where communities are more diverse, a sense of community is not as easy to come by as it used to be. Some of us do not even know who our neighbours are or what they look like. There are a number of activities that we can participate in so that we a can improve our community interaction. They include:

Citizen Actions

  • Befriend a neighbour who is elderly - invite them to dinner, bring over a dessert, or offer to take them shopping or on an outing.
  • Donate blood
  • Meet and welcome new people in the area or school or church
  • Get to know your neighbours
  • Give away thing you don’t use
  • Keep a trash bag in your car
  • Make friends with those from other ethnicities
  • Perform a random act of kindness
  • Pick up a piece of trash
  • Recycle
  • Participate in the neighbourhood watch programme
  • Volunteer
  • Report crimes
  • Giving to the poor
  • Assisting those with special needs and talents

Appreciate your environment: By keeping the environment we live in clean and tidy we express our nationalism and pride about the surroundings that belong to us. The increasing levels of technological development has often blindsided the effects of rapid deterioration on the natural ecology of the earth and hence on human beings. Deforestation and the use of synthetic materials have the ability to leave us in a troubling condition for which it could be difficult to remove ourselves from. Therefore, it is vital that a thorough understanding of the importance of the natural environment be taught to everyone and effect of our actions on it and upon us. Preserving the environment can be accomplished by:

  • Recycling
  • Keeping a garbage bag in the car
  • Planting trees
  • Caring for animals
  • Visit national parks
  • Placing garbage bins in strategic positions
  • Teaching others about the environment

Understanding the government: We are a democracy. A democracy is a form of government that is "of, by and for" the people. Of the People means the government is comprised of regular citizens; by the people means the government is elected by its citizens; and for the people means that the sole purpose of the government is for the benefit of all its citizens. The democratic process describes the manner in which we make that happen. We make the "of the people" part happen by running for public office; we make the "by the people" part happen by doing the things needed to elect our best to public office; and we make the "for the people" part happen by doing those things that keep us educated on important issues, that keep elected officials aware of our points of view, and which enforce our laws. The democratic process is not a methodology, but a lifelong way of thinking and acting. When we invest time, energy and money in something, we tend to care more about that something. So actions that keep us involved in the democratic process help us care about and appreciate our democracy and freedoms. They are the actions most closely associated with citizenship.

We can be a good citizen by:

  • Voting
  • Encouraging others to vote
  • Pay taxes
  • Protest over something you feel strongly over
  • Sign a petition you agree with
  • Giving comments on issues
  • Write editorial letters to the news papers

Family Interaction It is often said which is usually true, that the whole is greater than the sum of the individual pieces. In the case of a country, it is equally correct that the stronger the families and individuals within that country, the stronger the state. This is why building strong family ties is important in building a community. Ultimately the way children behave in the community and around other children is a reflection of the way they were taught by their guardians. There are actions that help individuals to believe in themselves and there are actions that help families enable individual growth.

  • Set an example
  • Teach them to be respectful to others no matter the age or colour
  • Include family traditions
  • Keep in touch with relatives as aunts and uncles
  • Allow children to assist in doing chores
  • Learn family history
  • Have family activities

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  1. Make a list of the people most important to you and state the reasons.
  2. Perform a play in which you can include a number of different aspects of community interaction. Include helping the elderly, prevent someone form littering and explain the reasons why we should not litter, include a police officer.
  3. Let others comment on the play. What the play lacked and what information was left out in explaining certain aspects.

Checklists of Performance Task

1. List the people who are most important to you stating the reasons why

RUBRIC of performance criteria V. Well Done Well Done OK Not Ok- Will redo by ….
1. I listed the people most important to me
2. I stated the reasons why they are important to me
3. I listed the people with whom I have a good relationship
2. Caring for the elderly/very young/handicapped

RUBRIC of performance criteria V. Well Done Well Done OK Not Ok- Will redo by ….
1. I practised caring for the elderly
2. I practised caring for the very young
3. I practised caring for a Handicapped person
3. Role play showing movement from negative relationship to positive relationship

RUBRIC of performance criteria V. Well Done Well Done OK Not Ok- Will redo by ….
1. I demonstrated negative behavioural traits
2. I demonstrated positive behavioural traits

Portfolio Contents

  1. Quiz “What kind of friend are you?”
  2. List of people most important to you

Unit summary

In this unit you learned about

  • What it means to be a good citizen and different ways in which we can be a good citizen.
  • We looked at democracy, the environment, family interaction, obeying the law, having national pride and community interaction.
  • We learnt that citizenship is not simply being from a certain country but also the interaction within the wider community.
  • You should be able to improve you interaction with those individuals and groups in the community by further involving yourself with people and groups.

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