Creating Citizenship

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



2 thoughts on “Creating Citizenship

  1. Hey Anthea, I find your post very insightful, and I too think schools focused more on you becoming the best person that you can (based on their opinions) and nothing else really happened outside of our own personal lives. We weren’t expected to go above and beyond the call of duty or anything like that… I struggled with how the citizenship related to curriculum and I really enjoyed reading your opinion on this relationship and gave me some insight into what I should have said.
    Thank you for being so informative I really enjoyed this post and it helped my own personal learning so thank you!


  2. Hi Anthea,
    I found your blog related a lot to mine in the sense that we also focused a lot on picking up litter in my school. At the time I used to hate it because it felt “dirty” to have to do that since we were expected to use our hands but I notice now just how important of a lesson that was for us. Every year after the snow melts the litter that is all over the ground along ring road is often the first thing I notice and I always find myself wishing someone was out there picking that up before it snowed. It makes me realize that although these lessons don’t seem important to kids at the time they do have meaning and sometimes it just takes until adulthood to appreciate those little lessons but I guess that is what creating a “good” citizen is all about.

    I also found it really interesting that the lunch leftovers were left out for the local farmers. What a great thing to do. So much food is often wasted now a days and although you said this was in a different era I think it’s something that could be beneficial today.

    Great Post!


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