For the past two years, a range of educators including school teachers, curriculum developers and librarians, have demonstrated the great versatility of the Ten Questions in various contexts, going far beyond the digital realm: historical analysis, debates, political conversations, student research projects, service-learning, book discussion, and action projects. Such flexibility is a great strength of the Ten Questions framework for civic education, and we design a structured implementation model that consists of the “understanding - inquiry - action” flow. (see the figure)
Understanding is an introductory step, in which students and teachers learn about the basics of the Ten Questions framework–what each question means, how the three essential values are represented through the Ten Questions, and how they follow a developmental sequence. Analyzing historical events or contemporary issues following the Ten Questions can be a useful starting point for this type of activity (for example, see “Facing History with the YPP Action Frame––Focusing on Eyes on the Prize: Ain’t Scared of Your Jails” ).
For the next step, teachers can use the framework for a civic inquiry project about present issues. In an inquiry project, students investigate civic participation cases that matter to them. The Ten Questions can be used as main points of investigation. Inquiry projects concern divergent formats including research projects, political discussion, and media source analysis. Next students can bring knowledge they accumulated from inquiry projects into action projects to make change in the future. Action projects involve a range of activities, including civic media-making, alliance building, and participation strategy development (e.g. contacting political officials or other influencers).
Importantly, understanding, inquiry, and action are conceptually related to one another. Philosopher John Dewey, a strong proponent of inquiry as an authentic method of democracy education, argued that inquiry is not merely a matter of cognition, but more importantly, a holistic human action that entails a cycle of continuous engagement that passes from intellectual questioning and investigation through reflection and understanding to action for change (Dewey, 1938). The tentative distinction across the three categories can assist teachers with incremental implementations of the Ten Questions.
For the understanding category, see the following examples:
- Facing History with the YPP Action Frame––Focusing on Eyes on the Prize: Ain’t Scared of Your Jails”
- Reflecting on DREAMers in Times of Uncertainty
- Concept Map
- Getting to Question One
- Book Discusion at a Teen Library
- Conversation Starter
For the inquiry category, see the following examples
- Political Discussion in a Classroom
- Civic Case study
- History Project I (Unsung Women Change Agents)
- History Project II (Bending the Arc)
- Service Learning Research
- "Pick Two": Senior Project
For the action category, see the following examples:
- Youth Participatory Action Research
- Debate and Discussion
- Partcipation in Government
- Mobile App Building
- Online organizing