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?
From my experience throughout Kindergarten to Grade 12, I would say that the Personally Responsible concept of citizenship was the focus. 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. In my experience at school, there were definitely set standards of how we were expected to behave. One of the examples in this week’s article suggests that a personally responsible citizen would “pick up litter.” The school that I attended had a population of fewer than 100 students from K-12. Our community had a population of about 360 people. Every year on World Environment Day, the town would be divided up into sections for each grade of the school. We would all go out together to pick litter, doing our part as a citizen in the community.
Explore what this approach to the curriculum made (im)possible in regards to citizenship.
The Personally Responsible citizen approach to the curriculum taught us how to take responsibility and care for ourselves and our community. We all wanted to have a good reputation through the eyes of the older community members. One downfall of this approach is that we were not pushed to be better. Maintaining the Status Quo was enough. We were not encouraged to be creative regarding how we could make the world a better place. Unfortunately, this is acceptable in our community because nobody wants to be uncomfortable here.
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 we take to citizenship instruction in a place tells us the values and goals that the given place has. When the Personally Responsible citizen is produced, they are expected to take care of themselves and those around them. They clean up after themself and simply abide by the “common sense” laws established in their community. A Personally Responsible citizen has a good reputation. The Participatory citizen wants to make a difference in their community. Their schools have produced citizens who are capable of planning things for themselves. The schools that produce Justice-Oriented citizens could make the greatest positive change in our society. These members challenge themselves to figure out the source of a problem. Perhaps they will figure out what would actually help the community or perhaps a more effective method in doing so. Regardless of the citizen that is produced, I believe they are trying their best. If a school could produce citizens of all three types, they could all work together to make their society strong.