Thursday, November 12, 2020

Street Law Launches New Project in Ukraine

Street Law is excited to announce the launch of a new project between Street Law and Ukrainian civic educators—Deliberating in a Democracy in Ukraine.

This project is funded by the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. It is being developed in partnership with Nova Doba—the All-Ukrainian Association of Teachers of History and Social Studies.

Utilizing Nova Doba’s expert staff and wide connections to the civic education community in Ukraine, Street Law is creating a set of Ukrainian language deliberation materials based on contested public policy issues in Ukraine.

Together, Street Law and Nova Doba are training 25 Ukrainian civic educators to use the deliberations in their classrooms. Collectively, these teachers will reach more than 500 students each school year.

The first of these training sessions took place virtually and included teachers from both eastern and western Ukraine to ensure diversity of perspectives and experiences of participants.

Street Law has been developing deliberation materials for over a decade, both in the United States and internationally. Our materials have helped thousands of students learn how to discuss controversial issues by carefully considering multiple perspectives and searching for consensus.

While preparing for the deliberations, students read common, balanced background information on the issue. During the discussion, they offer arguments for each position on a contested public issue, first drawing from the text and then bringing in their own experiences.

By engaging in respectful discourse and building their ability to listen and understand multiple perspectives, students become more informed, empowered, and civically-engaged community members.

This project builds on Street Law’s previous deliberative discussion work.

From 2004 to 2012, Street Law’s Deliberating in a Democracy program prepared hundreds of teachers in the United States, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and Latin America to conduct classroom deliberations. This program was achieved in partnership with the Constitutional Rights Foundation and the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago; it generated scores of deliberation materials and provided support for implementation internationally.

In 2018, Street Law revived its deliberation programming. It began regularly training teachers to conduct deliberations and generated several new deliberation resources, including topic readings, handouts, and a demonstration video. Today, deliberation is a regular component of our teacher professional development programming and thousands of deliberation resources are downloaded from our Resource Library each year.

Deliberating in a Democracy in Ukraine is being led by Ben Perdue, Street Law’s director of international programs, and Jen Wheeler, director of teacher professional development and curriculum.

Learn more about Street Law’s International Programs and our Deliberation training.

Image: Screenshot of Street Law’s first virtual training in the deliberation methodology with Ukrainian civic educators.