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The Discipline of Civics (Politics)

Politics is about how societies are governed, how public policy is developed, and how power is distributed. Civics is a branch of politics that focuses on the rights and responsibilities associated with citizenship, the role of governments, and how people can get involved in the political process and take action on issues of civic importance. The study of civics supports students in becoming informed, engaged, and active citizens in the various communities to which they belong, whether at the local, national, or global level.

The Grade 10 civics (politics) course is organized into the following three strands.

A. Political Inquiry and Skill Development: This strand highlights the political inquiry process and the skills that students need in order to become active and informed citizens who participate purposefully in civic affairs and can influence public decision making. Students will develop their ability to use the political inquiry process and the concepts of political thinking when analysing issues, events, and developments of civic importance. They will expand their digital literacy and critical-thinking skills to gather information and evaluate the credibility and biases of both social media and traditional media. Students will learn to engage in respectful discussion on contentious political and civic topics, showing consideration for multiple viewpoints.

B. Civic Awareness: This strand focuses on the beliefs, values, rights, and responsibilities associated with democratic citizenship and governance in Canada, including their historical foundations. Students will develop their understanding of how people’s beliefs and values influence both their civic actions and their positions on local, national, and/or global issues. Students will also explore, in the context of various issues, the roles and responsibilities of the different orders, levels, and branches of government in Canada, as well as Indigenous governance systems. Students will learn about core government processes like elections, developing budgets, and passing laws. In this strand, students will also develop an understanding of how various domestic, foreign and international groups and institutions can influence elections and government policy, and how government policy affects individuals’ lives and the economy.

C. Civic Engagement, Service, and Action: In this strand, students will explore ways in which people in different communities express their beliefs and values, voice their positions on issues of civic importance, and contribute to the common good. In addition, students will assess whether the perspectives and contributions of different people are equitably valued. Students will also explore the importance of pride in country and the significance of commemorating important events and people in Canadian history. In this strand, students will have opportunities to express their own ideas and perspectives, and propose courses of action and methods of creating positive change in their communities relating to a civic issue of personal interest, including identifying volunteer opportunities where they can develop a sense of service and leadership skills.

The expectations in the Grade 10 civics (politics) course provide numerous opportunities for students to explore the four elements of the citizenship education framework: identity, attributes, structures, and active participation (see page 10 of The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10: Canadian and World Studies, 2018).

For important information on the concepts of political thinking and the political inquiry process, refer to pages 150 to 153.