What is CSPE?
Civic, Social and Political Education is about you, the students, as members of your local community, as citizens of Ireland, Europe and the World. CSPE wants to help you in becoming citizens who know your rights, and your responsibilities. At the end of the course, you should know about things like law, democracy, the environment, the local community, development of society, the dignity of being human, how every one worldwide depends on each other in some way. You should be able to stand up for something you believe in as citizens, and know how to do something about it!

During your First Year and Third Year in Blackrock College, you will be doing an Action Project, and in your Third Year you will write a Report on one of these Projects. It is the Report, rather than the Project itself, which will be examined as part of your Junior Cert. CSPE assessment, and you will get 60% of your final mark for it. The exam you will do at the end of the course will be for the other 40% of your Junior Cert. CSPE assessment.

Key Concepts
At the end of the course, you should know a lot about the seven key concepts, or ideas, in CSPE:

  1. Our rights and responsibilities as members of our local community, and as citizens of Ireland and Europe.
  2. Our role as stewards, people who have to care for the world we live in.
  3. How development helps to improve things, but sometimes at a cost!
  4. How democracy works in Ireland, from County Councils to the Oireachtas.
  5. Why we have laws, and how these rules of society help protect people.
  6. The dignity which every human being deserves, whether President or asylum seeker.
  7. How people all around the world are in some way interdependent, rely on each other.

Every part of your CSPE course is linked to at least one of these concepts, and your Action Project MUST be linked to one of these as well.

Your Action Project
As part of CSPE, you and your classmates will do an Action Project. Your action can be as part of a group or on your own. You will chose a topic or an issue that you came across in CSPE, or is linked to something you did in CSPE. It should be something you found interesting and want to find out more about, or do something about. Your project MUST reflect the Human Rights and Social Responsibility dimension of the course. What should you do?

  • Choose a topic
  • Decide who you might work with, if anyone
  • Pick a small part of the topic to look into
  • Divide up the research and the actions you will do
  • Keep a record of EVERYTHING
  • Start your activities
  • Don’t just look up facts
  • You MUST be in contact with PEOPLE
  • Collect all your findings and information
  • Show what should be done for the future in this topic
  • Present your project to your classmates

Activities you can do in your Action Project

  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Invite in a guest speaker
  • Interview an expert
  • Organise an awareness week
  • Letter writing
  • Phone-calls
  • Fax messages
  • Petitions
  • Tape recording
  • Vox-pop
  • Information leaflets
  • Fundraising
  • Visiting a place of interest
  • Wall display
  • Giving a talk
  • Scrapbook
  • Video presentation

Report on your Action Project
The Report is NOT part of your Project. When you have finished your Project and presented it in a scrap-book, poster display or video presentation, you can look back on what you have done, and what you have learnt, and ONLY THEN write up your Report in the booklet provided by the School.Your Report will be in five parts:
1- Title – 3 marks (1 page)
The title should give a clear idea of the action that has been taken.
Include the key concept the project is related to and the main activity you undertook: e.g., ‘A questionnaire on people’s attitudes to asylum seekers in my area’.

2- Introduction – 7 marks (1 page)
Give three reasons why you chose this particular Action Project.
Explain which key concept the project is linked to, and the class it arose from in CSPE.

3- Activities – 40 marks (3 pages)
Page 1 (10 marks)
You should list and briefly & clearly describe all the different activities done by the whole group.

Page 2 (15 marks)
Give a detailed account of ONE particular task which you started and finished.

Page 3 (15 marks)
Identify the different skills which you used in doing this task, giving a detailed account of at least two. The skills areas are Identification, Analysis, Communication and Action.

4. Summary of Action Project – 20 marks (1 page)
In the Summary, you should outline what sort of facts and information you found out about the topic of the Project.
Include the findings of ALL the group.

5. Conclusion – 20 marks (1 page)
The conclusion should reflect your own views about the Action Project.
Give reasons for arriving at this conclusion.
Make sure that your views reflect the Human Rights and Social Responsibility dimensions of CSPE.
Explain how what you have learned could change you for the future, particularly the way you might act.

You should use the Project to practice the following skills:

Skills which help you to collect information
– Letter writing, telephone calls
– Using computers, sending e-mail
– Surveying, asking questions, interviewing

Being able to use the information you collect
– Collating, sorting
– Analysing
– Evaluating

Practicing & developing the skills of communication
– Reflection
– Group participation, discussion, debating
– Designing, planning, presenting, publishing, reporting
– Role play, acting, miming
– Listening

Being able to do something about what you believe in
– Political skills, like voting, decision making, debating, leadership
– Social skills, like hosting, liaising, negotiating
– Other skills, like fundraising, budgeting

Action Project Resources
There are lots of useful addresses in the phone book, especially the State Directory (green pages) at the front. Also, look up local directories, and the Internet. Don’t forget: contact PEOPLE!