FAQ

For Instructors

Below you will find questions pertaining to Municipolitics Instructors.

– HOW CAN I APPLY?

Before filling out our electronic volunteer form, take a moment to ponder your cultural footprint. Am I interested in connecting high school students to the larger London community? Have I already, or would I be willing to expand my network of contacts? Do I enjoy conversing with younger folks about opportunities that are available?

If you see yourself as a capable communicator, and wish to further develop more comprehensive skills in the classroom and local events, follow the link below.

*Link coming soon*

– WHERE ARE MY RESOURCES? 

As an instructor, many opportunities and resources will be at your disposal. For instance, our two weekend training blocks focus on developing facilitation mechanics. These activities strengthen your classroom management and communication skills while learning our lessons and programming simultaneously.

Without a doubt, the Municipolitics team is our greatest resource! Each member brings a unique perspective and set of experiences which benefit our collective and the overall quality of each workshop. Each lesson will have two instructors so as to help new instructors implement the effective facilitation techniques they learned in training.

Arguably, the next most important resource that we offer is our network of contacts and partnerships. Instructors will have the opportunity to discuss local issues with community leaders and actors on a personal basis or at networking functions.

After training, not only will you have an account created on the Municipolitics website in order to be able  to post and retrieve data, but you will be able to access our online database which hosts hundreds of research papers with both local knowledge on a variety of topics including London policy briefs, case studies, civics theory, youth-organizing initiatives around North America. and teaching strategies. If you have no used Google Drive, feel free to watch the video on the link below.

Considering the importance of communication, Municipolitics has adopted Trello as it’s management system. With a clear and concise task descriptions, deadlines, and delegation, you will have an online system for organizing your personal responsibilities. If you have not used Trello, feel free to watch the video on the link below.

https://trello.com/

– WHAT CAN I GIVE THE STUDENTS I INTERACT WITH?

Before each lesson, students will be provided a handout which follows the lessons. Students can choose to answer these questions. In addition, our website allows students to continue connecting by commenting on blogs, reading articles either written or gathered by the Municipolitics team. If students are interested in connecting with groups, they can contact our staff directly by email, phone, twitter, or facebook.

Twitter: @munici_politics
Facebook: Municipolitics
Email: communications@municipolitics.ca
Phone: 519 614 2607

– WHAT CAN I GIVE TO MUNICIPOLITICS AS AN ORGANIZATION?

Our team is always expanding the quality of our programming and online presence. Thus, there are a multitude of options and skill sets we are looking for. In addition to our instructors who will be going into classrooms, we are looking for enthusiastic, passionate, and internally motivated individuals who want to research and share London’s stories.

As an interviewer, you would be responsible for either updating or creating new case studies and/or policy briefs. We are looking for self-reliant, organized individuals who enjoy meeting one-on-one, and exhibit strong interpersonal and written communication skills to further develop our local knowledge.

As a blogger, your responsibilities would be similar but involve more general happenings in London. You would write blurbs and posts about influential individuals, events that you have attended, or issues happening in London.

– WHAT DO I GET OUT OF THIS AFTER I’M DONE?

As is often the case with volunteer positions, you get as much as you put in. You will receive either one or more mentors depending on availability and your level of commitment. In general, you will develop your ability to work both independently and with a team.

As an instructor you will gain firsthand classroom experiences including public speaking, management, and time-organization which are transferable to many occupations. You will also build a network of teachers in the TVDSB.

As a blogger or interviewer, you will develop journalistic skills including research, writing, and professionalism. You will be up close and personal in London activities, follow leads for interviews, and build your own network.

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For Potential Partners/Sponsors

Below you will find questions pertaining to potential Sponsors and Community Partners.

– IS WHAT YOU’RE DOING CORRESPONDING WITH OUR MISSION STATEMENT?

Similar to many goals in the social service and non-for-profit industry, the Municipolitics programming focuses on reducing reliance on the program itself. In other words, our goal is to create self-reliant young people who have the advocacy skills and critical thinking in order to effectively make communal change wherever there passion lies. On the other hand, it is simultaneously necessary to the city’s youth find out about like-minded individuals and groups. Thus, we hope to empower those already involved and those who have the energy and time in order to improve the quality of life for everyone. We believe the perspectives held by youth are often mis-represented and are a vital part of a healthy and nuanced conversation.

– WHAT IS BEING PUSHED FROM AN ADVOCACY PERSPECTIVE?

Rather than favor a particular political slant, the core pedagogy of our program fixates on dialogue. By bringing in the views of students, unavoidably there will be bias. Our workshop facilitators have went through rigorous exercises so that students’ voices are given first priority in lieu of the opinions of the instructors. By consequence, we introduce the idea of critical thinking skills and attempt to question the assumptions made by students regardless of wherever they may fall on the political pendulum

– WHAT TYPE OF CONTENT IS BEING GENERATED?

Once the program is in full-swing, we hope to not only assist students in understanding the political landscape of London, but also have them join in the conversations and thus impact policies, projects, and other issues impacting Londoners. Our intent is to build a reservoir of case studies, policy briefs, and resources that students, teachers, and the public alike can access. We hope to interview influential individuals, organizations, and city/youth councillors in order to further broadcast active, on-going stories that students can actually interact with. By consequence, we hope to poll students on their opinions to these living, breathing stories in order to simply magnify an often unheard demographic. One important difference is that rather than relying solely on representational voices, we focus on small, and eventually an ever-larger, city-wide, classroom-canvassing that can effectively enrich the ability of representatives to represent and social-service organizations to provide high-quality services.

– HOW ELSE CAN I GET INVOLVED?

Besides providing your personal or organizational account in the form of a case study or policy brief, we are looking for enthusiastic, community-driven guest speakers who can come into the classroom and talk about their advocacy or involvement in local issues.

– WHAT’S OUR BENEFIT FOR SPONSORING YOU?

Although funding civic initiatives is often a worthy cause, it is imperative that groups assist one another in a time of economic conservatism. By sponsoring Municipolitics, we can guarantee your logo will be used in our promotional materials including the website. In addition, we can discuss how your business and/or organization are influential in the city of London to be potentially used in a case study to be used in the class.

– WHAT TYPE OF EARNED MEDIA ARE YOU GETTING?

Due to the relative recent developments of the program, our media attention is still growing. London Community News and the Regis at King’s University College published articles and our Twitter and Facebook followings continue to develop. We have also presented our program to various organizations and groups across the London community.

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For Students

Below you will find all questions pertaining to students participating in the Municipolitics program.

– WHAT DOES ADVOCACY MEAN? I.E., WHY AM I DOING THIS?

In a world often characterized by adult decision-making, it can often be discouraging to be a youth. Many groups who care to influence issues choose to advocate in order to voice their concerns. Advocacy is action! Even without a vote, young people can demonstrate their support or objection to a cause or a policy. Advocacy comes in many forms: speaking in city hall, contacting an MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament), a city councillor, organizing an awareness campaign, or writing an article. Sometimes it is as simple as speaking to your friends, attending an event such as a protest, or posting something on social media. Advocacy is about making your stance heard. Thus, some forms of advocacy are going to get you closer to the action, and thus the decision-making process.

– HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE ONLINE?

Through our website, there are a myriad of ways to participate. You can start by filling out polls about London issues which impact you. With the data we gather, we will make debrief packages which can be distributed to city council or community organization. You will also be able to find a range of reading materials including articles written or posted by the Municipolitics team. If you are hoping to bridge the online with the real-time, you can also discover volunteer positions as available by our community partners.

– WHAT DO I GET OUT OF THIS AFTER I’M DONE?

As is the case with most learning opportunities, you get what you put in! In regards to our in-class component, a student who fully participates in the Municipolitics program from module one through to four can expect that they have been exposed to recent London issues and that there opinions and views have been shared with the municipality. Each student, if they have participated to the best of their ability, should know what sparks their interest in London and how they can get involved.

For students who also get involved in the volunteer conference, the opportunities become that much greater. By speaking with representative from organizations, students can directly connect with those who share a similar passion. Students would gain knowledge about how to network in the best way possible: practicing it in a real-life setting.

– HOW DO I APPLY THIS TO MY EVERYDAY LIFE?

Whether it is finding a job, learning a profession, building a career, or simply making a difference, there are prerequisite skills and knowledge that is needed. Municipolitics offers you, the student, the opportunities to share your ideas that can have a direct influence on your lives.

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For Teachers

Below are questions pertaining to Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) Teachers.

– I WANT TO KNOW IF THIS PROGRAM WORKS?

Having received references from several teachers around London, our reputation continues

– IS THIS PROGRAM SUSTAINABLE?

Considering the large number of young people who either live in London for post-secondary or attend high school, there is an untapped intermingling. The possibility of sustainability is great because the wealth of knowledgeable, motivated, and well-connected youth is high. As is evident by similar youth groups including our partners at the London Youth Advisory Council, people often move in and out of positions. What separates Municipolitics from other start-ups or programs is the connections between our team.

– WHAT DOES THE PROGRAM DO?

This program complies with the 2013 Ontario Civics Curriculum in order to fulfill provincial standards. At a more fundamental level, Municipolitics aims to assist young people in locating themselves and their everyday actions in a political context. Once sensitized, we aim to locate individual strengths and passions which can translate to community involvement. From here, we hope to discuss local initiatives in a working-group structure to be disbursed to local decision-makers. Finally, we move more practically to action, discussion advocacy tools leading to our out-of-class volunteer conference which aims to connect theory to practice by building bridges. There will be a variety of workshops including a ’networking 101’ lesson and another surrounding the London budget.

– DOES THIS COST ANY MONEY?

There is no cost to the program. Our team is volunteer-based and does not require funds. We are foremost focusing on building our reputation and making an impact on the youth of London.

– WHO TEACHES THIS?

Our instructors, regularly two per workshop, originate from a myriad of backgrounds. It is our belief that certain personalities fit certain school cultures and thus we choose well-rounded, articulate, and confident individuals. Typically, they are either Western graduates or individuals who continue to demonstrate themselves as valuable contributors to the makeup of the London milieu. Our training coordinator, however, is a recent Althouse graduate who has passed on his knowledge to our instructors.

– HOW WOULD THESE INSTRUCTORS BENEFIT MY CLASS?

More importantly, it is not how these instructors benefit the class but how we can help students benefit our community. We want to amplify the voices of students through polling in order to visualize the totality of youth perspectives in London. Moreover, as is often the case with novelty, fresh faces bring a renewed electricity to the classroom experience. Since students’ lives revolve around the cityscape, unfortunately we forgot how much our actions form the greater picture. Thanks to intensive training and a supportive team, our instructors specialize in London matters. We attempt to bring conversations that are happening across the forest city to the classroom and bring our list of contacts with us (figuratively speaking).

– IS THIS NON-PARTISAN?

Rather than attempting to sway students into a political corner, we try to provoke students onto a path of civic self-discovery. Our intention is to help students question and examine their own political assumptions and self-identify how their own strengths can benefit their own convictions. In other words, our only goal is to empower students’ sense of belonging by inviting them into the conversations and opportunities in London. What they choose is determined purely on what sparks their interests. .

– DOES THIS COMPLY WITH OUR CURRICULUM?

All material within the Municipolitics program are in alignment with the 2013 Ontario Civics Curriculum, our lessons primarily fall in strands B and C. All specific sub-goals are described in detail in our Course Overview section.

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