Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

EDUCATORS' ROUNDTABLE - Leading Students toward Citizenship

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

EDUCATORS' ROUNDTABLE - Leading Students toward Citizenship

Article excerpt

WE BELIEVE that a good citizen actively organizes with other people to address causes of injustice and suffering. A good citizen understands the complexities of social, political, and economic issues and sees how they are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. A good citizen questions accepted definitions of problems. Good citizens are activists who are empowered to focus on things that they care about in their own lives and who can either identify or build the potential avenues needed to truly change them.

Just as English education is not about grammar -- except as a vehicle for clarity in writing and thought -- democracy education is not solely about how a bill becomes a law; it is also about how students can understand that process and then put it into action to change the world around them. In the same way that far too many English classes focus on diagrams of sentences, too many government classes focus solely on diagrams showing the classic separation of powers, the branches of government, and how a bill becomes a law. Of course, it is important to understand how the mechanisms of our democracy work. When the analysis stops there, we become deeply concerned. Students will only be truly empowered by their understandings of democracy when they can move beyond the diagrams and apply their knowledge in the real world of political action and social change.

It is tempting to believe that teachers, working together with common purpose, can turn students into empowerd and active citizens. However, we know that it is not possible for teachers and students to learn, understand, focus, organize, and then right wrongs. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.