ECS 210

Citizenship Education as a Curricular Concern

Citizenship education is viewed as a major aspect in regards to the purposes of education. However, the question posed is how is citizenship education a curricular problem?

Citizenship can be viewed in three ways: personally responsible, participatory, and justice-oriented. Often within our schools, we get stuck on teaching students how to be personally responsible citizens. They are encouraged to volunteer and do things such as donate blood. While this is very important, it poses a problem. Students, while being taught to be good people within their community, are not being taught how to be actively engaged in their society. This is how citizenship education is a curricular problem. Through curriculum and schooling, societies are able to pass on the knowledge and qualities that help to maintain them. Schools are meant to be a fostering environment and therefore directly affect the type of citizens they produce. It is the responsibility of the school to teach students about being a well-rounded citizen who retains aspects from all three types of citizens. Schools cannot just teach students to be personally responsible, they must also teach them to engage with the society around them and think critically about that society and what goes on within it.

I thoroughly enjoyed the quote that Alison presented us with saying “…in authoritarian regimes like Russia, Vladimir Putin would be thrilled if good citizenship is understood as a commitment to welfare rather than advancing democracy.” If we teach students to be docile in their role as citizens, no society would progress. As nice as developing a personally responsible citizen sounds, it does not help to address the greater issues that affect everyone. Schools need to help students to become more participatory and justice-oriented in order to find a balance in citizenship education. Just as much as literacy is a concern of curriculum, citizenship education is another branch of education that gets too far overlooked.

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