Week Five: Curriculum and Citizenship

Week Five: Curriculum and Citizenship

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? 

I went to a Catholic School. we did not have a class that was specifically focussed on being a good citizen, however, we did discuss how to help others and be the hands of God on earth.  We had mandatory service hours that we had to complete every year and we’re in court courage to get involved in the community and help the younger students with their school work. We had food drives and charities as well as a community service group if students wanted to be more involved and take initiative. 

As Westheimer and Kahne explain in their article,  there are three types of citizenship, personally responsible, participatory and Justice oriented. in my school, we were primarily personally responsible but had the opportunities to be participatory through the student-run community service group.  The Personally Responsible Citizen’s role in society is to help others, be responsible for themselves and their actions, and to abide by government laws

Explore what this approach to the curriculum made (im)possible in regards to citizenship

I personally responsible approach with a little participatory in regards to citizenship taught students how to care for themselves and their community. It made it possible for them to help the community by donating to the food drive and participating in local charities and fundraisers. However, this approach “impossible” is that it does not encourage the students to do more. It doesn’t push the students to participatory they have to do that on their own. And there is no justice-oriented approach in the curriculum.  I think ideally you would have an option for all three of the types of citizenship in the curriculum because you need all three types of citizens in the world. 

What does the approach we take to citizenship instruction in any given place tell us about that place? About what the curriculum makers value? About what kinds of citizens they want to produce?

The approach to citizenship instruction in any given place shows the morals, the values, the priorities, and the goals of that particular place. If the citizenship instructional approach is to produce personally responsible citizens it will create people who help themselves, the people around them and the community.  They will pay their taxes donate to charities, obey the laws and occasionally volunteer. If the citizenship instructional approach is to produce participatory citizens it will produce citizens who want to make a difference and plan events. They will organize fundraisers and the active members of the community organizations. They want you to improve the lives of the people around them they are ‘doers’ and planners.  If the citizenship instructional approach is to produce Justice oriented, citizens will be active thinkers and as “why?” these things are happening and how they can fix the problem altogether, instead of helping the people who are already having problems. They are the people that ask why? They wonder things like“why are people hungry?” They assess social, political and economic structures and search below the surface for answers 


Video of Joel Westheimer speaking about citizenship
What Kind of Citizen? The Politics of Educating For Democracy


One thought on “Week Five: Curriculum and Citizenship

  1. Hey Mia,
    I thought your response was so good. I went to a private Christian school in junior high and we did not focus much on what it means to be a good citizen. We completed our mandatory hours we had to get done before the end of the year. I thought your answer to the second question was really well done. What are some functional things you will do in the classroom? I have been thinking lots about this lots and what types of activities I can engage in with my classroom.

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