Please respond to the following in a blog post: What examples of citizenship education do you remember from your K-12 schooling? What types of citizenship (e.g. which of the three types mentioned in the article) were the focus? Explore what this approach to the curriculum made (im)possible in regards to citizenship.
This article has been brought up in multiple of my classes this semester, so it has given me a chance to really think about how this applies to my learning and what a “good” citizen is. The idea of creating good citizens is something that is something that we are supposed to do as teachers, or led to believe we are supposed to, but is not told a definition of what a “good” citizen is.
When I was in K-12, the type of citizen that my teachers were trying to create were participatory students. We were not pushed to do great social justice work or go out of our way to do anything amazing, but they wanted us to participate in our society. Teachers would have us donate to the food bank, thus just taking food that our parents bought not us, or volunteer for 10 hours in our community. Never were we pushed farther. But we were made to believe that we were doing what was right and doing our part in the community. The article states that “educational programs designed to support the development of participatory citizens focus on teaching students about how government and community based organizations work and about the importance of planning and participating in organized efforts to care for those in need” (p. 4). This is exactly what my teachers were aiming for with their creation of “good” citizens. Sometimes there would be a hint of personally responsible citizen creation, but for the most part, my educators were just concerned about creating students who were part of the society that we lived in.
The idea of creating “good” citizens is often heavily explored when talking about social studies education. As that is my major, I have had some great conversations about this and how it fits into the curriculum. The curriculum documents can be analyzed to show what kind of citizens the document is aiming for. This is not solely on the teacher. The curriculum documents have a clear type of citizen that they are aiming for depending on the section, grade and unit. In regards to the social studies curriculum for grades 10-12, the curriculum states that teachers may teach “some, all or none” of the curriculum. So this makes it possible for teachers to aim higher on creating students who do more, but often will lead teachers to do less. This approach to curriculum creates problems in who is deciding what kind of citizen should be focused on and then also what constitutes a “good” citizen.
Overall I have plenty to say on this topic because it is my major and something that I am passionate about, but I think that there is a lot to explore when thinking about the creation of “good” citizens and what we are teaching in schools today.