Politics and Society is a new course open to Leaving Certificate students at O’Carolan College, currently being taught by Amanda Scully. The subject aims to inform students about how social and political institutions work at local (school and community), national, and global levels. It also aims to develop critical thinking skills whilst encouraging active citizenship.
Few subjects are as relevant to our everyday lives as Politics and Society. Among other things, students have learned about the social systems within which people act locally, nationally and more widely, different systems of government and the roles of groups such as multinational companies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and intergovernmental bodies in shaping the world we live in. The students have worked with key themes and ideas in the social and political sciences. They have applied these to their school, to the local environment, as well as exploring how they apply in the wider world.
The course covers the following topics:
- Power and decision making in schools
- Power and decision making at national and European level
- Effectively contributing to communities
- Rights and responsibilities in communicating with others
- Human rights and responsibilities in Ireland
- Human rights and responsibilities in Europe and the wider world
- Globalisation and identity
- Sustainable development
Students learn about social and political theories and how these theories relate to current issues. There were lots of classroom discussion, debate and reflection on the different ideas and perspectives. Through this, students developed valuable analytical and evaluation skills as they debated topical and sometimes controversial issues, studied different viewpoints and formed their own political opinions.
Politics and Society is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level. There are two assessment components at each level – a written examination which accounts for 80% of the final grade and a citizenship project which accounts for 20%. The citizenship project enables pupils to research a topic and take an active citizenship action based on their research. In their report pupils describe their action and reflect on their role as an active citizen considering their studies.
The Politics and Society classroom has been a hive of activity this year from walking debates on varies issues, a mock General Election, presentation of Citizenship Projects to local political representatives and even a failed rebellion by the 5th years!!! Several guests came to speak with the classes, including Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee TD. The 5th year class took a trip Leinster House. The group received a tour of the building and held a mock debate in Committee Room 4. Sixth Year students visited Dublin Zoo to partake in a Sustainable Development workshop and accompanied the Sixth Year History class to Derry, were they looked at the different identities that shape Northern Ireland.