In my own K-12 schooling I don’t have many examples of the way citizenship education was taught, because I don’t feel like my own schooling incorporated many of those life-long learning about democracy or becoming a good citizen that participates with great ideas that assist in our community and our country. If anything we learned lots about the way our decisions affect us and the people around us, especially as youngsters we studied the way reducing, reusing, and recycling affected the world but based it off how that would change our lives. As well we recognized things such as who was misfortunate in our community and how we could assist them in our best way. Throughout my schooling, I very rarely learned about laws, community legislative, and things such as voting or ways of showing your ideas. This is a part of citizenship that was not taught to us in any classes but social studies, and many times was not actually taught just mentioned briefly. One of the best experiences of citizenship in my school and community was after our rink burnt down we fundraised for a few years, as a school and class we took time to assist in lots of fundraisers, took initiative to build an outdoor rink for the winters without an actual building, and found ways to allow the kids of our community to appreciate the rink they now have.
Although after reading I think that if any citizenship education was incorporated it was The Personally Responsible Citizen. I think that it would fall into this section because we were often taught what we could do as a person to better our own lives and enhance our world on our own. Even though we were taught this ideology we often weren’t given opportunities to make the change or put our ideas into action. As well it was often not making connections between what we were learning to how we could use it in our world or the effects of making decisions within our communities does for all. In some of the activities or learning environments, I got glimpses of The Participatory Citizen. The focus of citizenship in my school focused on us as individuals and the basic ideas that allowed us to be a people who could eventually make our own decisions as well as create those change movements. Being equipped with those ideas, but never seeing the extra usages of being a citizen in our world definitely holds back our students.
This approach to curriculum and learning the basic ideas of citizenship does not allow our students to understand the controversial ideas and politics that come with being a part of our communities and making decisions for our country. The lack of learning about our roles of citizenship is detrimental to the future changes that need to occur as well as changes the way that we see our voices or opinion. Teaching our students citizenship and allowing them to have a voice or opinion on the world in a place where they are safe and respected is one the best places to teach this and something that we then know they are equipped with for their future. Not creating those connections and teaching them the way that they can use that knowledge holds back our students and does not allow them to participate fully in society without having to greatly learn on their own.
If we don’t teach it at school, maybe we are saying that participating in politics, in change, and in our community decisions is not important to our students and to their futures. Considering the role of education and as educators, we are doing a disservice to our students if we lack in this teaching of citizenship for their future.