On the occasion of the Democracy Day, Casa Thomas Jefferson and many other BNC’s in Brazil celebrated Democracy Day. Having amazing language teachers in our community, CTJ Makerspace partnered with Elizabeth Silver, an American Space English teacher to create a very rich learning experience for CTJ and public school language students.

Democracy Day Activities September 17, 2018

By Elizabeth Silver

Commemorating International Democracy Day with two classes at the Casa Thomas Jefferson Resource Center and the CTJ Makerspace was quite the experience. After consulting the International Democracy Day Toolkit from American Spaces, teams from the BNCs came together at a webinar to brainstorm activities. From this point, the program narrative was decided on and closed: MAKE A DIFFERENCE: How can we take democratic action to change the way we promote citizen participation?

The event focused on introducing the principles of democracy by way of three rotating tech stations. These involved asking democracy questions to an Alexa virtual assistant, using Osmo for democracy vocabulary, and HP’s Reveal AR experience on the concepts that drive democracy. The students participated in a vote on the democratic principle they found the most relevant to their lives. The objective for the students now became producing a digital artifact related to promoting democracy. In groups, they chose one digital media genre to work with: a meme, a poster, a stop motion or a rap. The participants were students coming from a public language school and Casa Thomas Jefferson in Brasilia. They had the unique opportunity to interact and work with each other to undertake the activities put forth. They engaged readily from the beginning until the very end. The final artifact they made was both inspiring and insightful, while showing what can be accomplished in a relatively short time frame when a democratic mindset is put into play – the majority ruled while the minority was respected and heard. After some critical thinking, various contributions to the narrative came up like the realisation that your vote is your voice, that freedoms cannot be taken for granted and the importance of having informed citizens to have an informed vote. What’s more, they showed enthusiasm at learning a new digital skill that they could walk away with and share with their communities, families and friends, ultimately expanding on the idea of citizen participation via an accessible digital media. They proved themselves to be apt learners of democracy in the digital age. In the end, the impact on both the students and organizers was profound and uplifting, pointing to a future generation that is optimistic, critical and informed.

See some amazing photos here.



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