What is yChange?
yChange is South Australia’s first curriculum aligned, project based, action civics resource for primary and secondary educators. It has been developed over an eighteen-month timeframe with input from students, educators and civic experts, and is designed to empower young South Australians with the attitudes, skills and knowledge they need to become active, responsible citizens.
Underpinning yChange is Goal 2 of the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration: ‘all young Australians become confident and creative individuals, successful lifelong learners, and active and informed members of the community’
This important declaration by Australia’s Ministers for Education, acknowledges that education has the power to transform lives and support young people to realise their potential by providing the skills they need to participate in the economy and society and contribute to every aspect of their wellbeing.[i]
A pilot program undertaken in 2020 involved students and teachers from Mark Oliphant College, Marryatville High School and Elizabeth Vale Primary School. Their input has been significant in shaping the final content for yChange. Other collaborators and supportive partners include the Commonwealth Parliament Education Officer, State Parliament, History Trust of South Australia and The Centre for Democracy. The Governor’s Civic Awards for Schools is also aligned with yChange.
The results of the latest National Assessment Program – Civics and Citizenship (NAP–CC) have revealed that when it comes to understanding the importance of our democracy and appreciating our national values, the performance of Australian students has plateaued.[ii]
Conversely South Australian children and young people have told the Commissioner that they would like to understand the systems they are in, know how to engage in the world around them, and acquire the skills they need to transition into adulthood.
yChange has been designed to bridge this civic engagement gap by supporting educators with a resource designed to make civics lessons relevant to children and young people’s every day lives. yChange takes students on a learning journey that involves their direct participation in developing and undertaking a civics action project of their choosing, on an issue that matters to them in their local community.
yChange is not a political resource. Neither is it intended to be a social change project resource, though it will complement these and the many other excellent resources of this kind that are available. The focus of yChange is to build connections and relationships between young people and their community through development and implementation of their yChange project with guidance and support from their teacher, school and broader community of decision makers and influencers with whom they are encouraged to interact. The types of projects envisaged being undertaken through yChange could range from installation of lighting that builds community safety for young people, to painting a mural that raises awareness of the importance of reconciliation.
What makes yChange different to other civics and citizenship resources?
yChange facilitates educators to combine student voice, choice, influence and agency with traditional civics education. Facilitating student voice through participation in decision making within the classroom, builds student engagement and commitment to learning. It also transforms education approaches by requiring students to partner with others to investigate and develop ideas, then plan and action these ideas, thereby improving learning for all. Students are not only equipped with knowledge of the systems and skills they need to be able to access, communicate, and analyse information – they also learn to link this civics learning and action directly to issues in their local community that matter to them.
How to teach yChange?
yChange can be undertaken over one or two school terms. It is flexible enough to be scaled to suit primary or secondary school students and has been mapped to the Civics and Citizenship skills and knowledge strands of the Australian Curriculum (click here to download ACARA links)
The yChange 5 part learning journey involves students identifying an issue, researching the causes, creating a plan, actioning that plan, and communicating their findings to others. Teachers guide students using the yChange Lesson Plans, while students complete accompanying Student Activity Sheets to enable them to record the work they undertake.
yChange Action Grants
Once students have completed their yChange Action Plan (Part 3) schools can apply for a yChange Action Grant of up to $500 to implement the action plan. Read the application guidelines to find out how to apply.
yChange Project Showcase
Once students have completed their yChange project they upload their final class presentation onto the yChange Project Showcase. Project presentations can be in any format: a written report, a poster, a digital presentation (eg. Powerpoint/ Keynote), video, audio, photographic essay, or any combination of these. Students are encouraged to be creative with their yChange project presentations.
Governor’s Civics Awards
Students are encouraged to enter their yChange projects into The Governor’s Civics Awards which encourage South Australian students to develop their understanding of the role citizenship plays in a multicultural and democratic society. All schools within the Department for Education, Catholic Education and Independent Schools are eligible to take part.
One time registration for your School
Registration is is not mandatory, however, it does ensure that you will be sent a printed copy of the yChange Teacher’s Handbook.
Interested educators need only register their school once. A confirmation email will be sent to the school contact nominated at the time of registration. One hardcopy of the yChange Teacher’s Handbook will be sent at no charge, addressed to this person. More than one class can participate in yChange at any one time. There is no limit to the number of yChange Resource Packs a school can download.
To register click on the link below…
REGISTER YOUR SCHOOL FOR YCHANGE HERE