A Simple Activity to Engage Educators, Community, or Students in Thinking about Civic Education: The Citizenship Brainstorm

Social Studies Review, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

A Simple Activity to Engage Educators, Community, or Students in Thinking about Civic Education: The Citizenship Brainstorm


This brainstorm activity has been used to introduce teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and students to the Civic Mission of Schools by having them think about the attributes of an informed, effective citizen. Teachers have used this activity at the beginning of a course, and have asked students to add to the lists of attributes throughout the course of the year. Campaign staff members have used the activity to open teacher professional development sessions and have debriefed lessons and activities by referencing the lists to point out civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions addressed.

Contributed by the California Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools

EFFECTIVE CITIZENSHIP BRAINSTORM

Introduction

What is effective citizenship? What are the traits of an effective citizen in our democratic society? This activity provides a structure to explore civic capacities and begin discussions about effective civic educatioa

In this activity, participants brainstorm specific civic capacities in terms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and actions of effective citizenship. Participants work in small groups to first brainstorm an assigned category. Each group then rotates through the remaining categories, adding their own ideas. When groups rotate back to their original spot, they prioritize the specific traits according to what they think is most important.

This activity has been used effectively with teachers, administrators, students, and community members to explore and expand upon the purpose and outcomes of civic educatioa

Objectives:

Participants will :

* Identify and describe examples of effective citizens they know of through history or personal experience.

* Brainstorm elements of effective citizenship in the areas of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and actions.

* Prioritize, explain, and share opinions regarding the most important traits of effective citizenship in each of these areas.

Materials:

Easel pad, masking tape, and markers.

Four sheets of chart paper. Each titled with one of the following: Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, Action.

Procedure

A. Introduction to Activity - Wiat is Effective Citizenship? (5 mins):

For adults

Ask participants: We all agree that one of the goals of education is to help young people become effective citizens in our society. If this is one of the goals of education, let's think about what we view an "effective citizen" to be.

Tell participants that one way to go about this is to think about what effective citizens in our society.

Know...what kind of knowledge do effective citizens possess? Know how to do...what kinds of skills do effective citizens have? Think about and value...what kinds of attitudes do effective citizens have? Do...what are the behaviors of effective citizens? Elicit examples.

(Elicit a couple of examples for each to be sure everyone understands the way we are thinking about these terms.)

Explain that they are going to have a chance to think mue aboitt the Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes, and Behaviors of effective citizenship and that their ideas about this will help guide the planning to enhance civic education in their school and community.

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A Simple Activity to Engage Educators, Community, or Students in Thinking about Civic Education: The Citizenship Brainstorm
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