What examples of citizenship education do you remember from your K-12 schooling?
My teachers focused on personal responsive citizenship. There was a focus on picking up litter to make the community look good. The laws and rules were emphasized, and we had to obey school rules, or there would be consequences. Although recycling as we know it today didn’t exist when I was at school, I was always fascinated that the left-overs from school lunch were left outside the kitchen doors for the local pig farmers. This was my first sign of recycling.
What type of citizenship were the focus.
Personal responsive citizenship was the focus. I grew up in a different country and in a different era, where class was important and if you were deemed working class participation citizenship would be out of the question. Thinking, organizing, and running local government was meant for the middle classes or above. It was more important for the citizen to focus on themselves and understand what they could do to help the local community, rather than think higher ‘above their station’.
Explore what this approach to the curriculum made possible in regard to citizenship?
The personal responsible citizenship approach allows students to contribute to the community in a worthwhile way. It shows the importance of caring and sharing for others, and promotes well being for everyone. Students learn to respect others and understand that people have different lifestyles and shouldn’t be judged. Good citizens help when needed. This approach also helps to build honesty integrity, self discipline and hard work in citizens.
Explore what this approach to the curriculum made impossible in regards to citizenship?
When emphasis is given to personally responsible citizenship, many areas are lost. Students don’t understand the whole picture of society and they don’t question the root of the problem. Critical thinking is not encouraged. Students are not encouraged to question, and don’t understand others perspectives and arguments. Society as a whole doesn’t grow and move forward. Each person lives in a good community but society doesn’t progress; changes are not made, and social movements don’t progress forwards. It’s important for students to be taught about politics and “familiarize themselves with different perspectives” (Westheimer, 2017), so that they understand others arguments, think critically about subjects and have an understanding of our society.
Joel Westheimer: “What kind of citizen? Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9WF4uVcrlU