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.
Citizenship education is a curricular problem because numerous teachers think that a good citizen means listening to authority figures, dressing nicely, being pleasant to neighbours and volunteering at several places around your community. The problem with this is that there is more to citizenship education then volunteering and being nice to others, though are very significant to the community. Lots of teachers are not educating about social policy choices policy decisions that each person needs to comprehend in society like government or economics. The three images of citizenship that will develop a holistic engaged individual: 1) Personally Responsible Citizens, 2) Participatory Citizens, and 3) Social-Justice Oriented Citizen. The Personally responsible citizen donates food or clothing drives to help the less fortunate. The Participatory citizen campaigns and organizes community-based events. The Social-Justice Oriented citizen are the critical thinkers that think about issues of equality and look for fairness.
Lots of schools teach about the personally responsible citizen, and the involved citizen to explain to learners how to volunteer and learn how the government works. They regularly forget to teach about the social-justice citizen that learns to think about the main causes of injustice and how to strengthen social, economic and political norms.
So frequently, volunteering will override the need to learn about the world in a social, economic and political way but that does not mean that the social-justice citizen is any less important. It is significant for students to be educated on the way government works, specially when they are old enough to vote. The curricula teaches about volunteering and giving rather than teaching about democracy. Educators need to make sure that all students learn about the three types of citizens to become actively involved in their community so can make a difference. I remember in my high school, volunteering, being kind, and dressing well make a good citizen and not informed a lot on government issues or policies because that was deemed as less important to your average high school student.
As I become a teacher, I do not want students thinking that being a ‘good citizen’ only means volunteering and being nice. I want them to be able to discover all aspects of being a good citizen and what that means to them individually. Since I started university, I have become more involved in all aspects of being a ‘good citizen’ and I hope students will want to take part in all pieces as well.