This week for ECS 210, we were challenged to reflect back on our own schooling and to think of examples of citizenship education. There were plenty of instances that stood out for me, when I reflected on my education. It seemed as though my elementary and high school were consistently doing fundraisers and activities to support our community. I remember taking part in food & clothing drives every year around the holidays. We also had multiple Penny Wars (all money was donated to a specified charity). As I got older, myself and my peers became responsible to planning and promoting such events. Not only that, but I distinctly remember taking part in various seminars that taught us various skills. For example, one of my high school teachers brought in a representative from RBC to teach us about financial literacy (ex. budgeting, saving, etc.) and we also took part in many mock elections whenever there was a real provincial or federal election going on. We spent many class periods being taught about elections, how to vote, and studying the party’s platforms. Out of the three types of citizen education that the article talked about (personally responsible citizen, participatory citizen & and the justice oriented citizen), I think that these examples that I’ve shared, belong to the personally responsible citizen category. The things we took part in, focused on students knowing the ins and outs of democracy, becoming financially literate and taking action in our community (food drives, litter pick-up & clothing drives etc.). We were always taught the importance of our actions and were always preached at saying “we need to be the change…etc.” While I believe that sharing these values with students is important because it emphasizes their agency to advocate for change; I believe that it is also important to ensure that students understand the importance of WHY they are taking part in various activities and how their actions are making an impact. Our students need to be well informed.
This approach to curriculum privileges those students who come from financially stable homes and who are able give of their material possessions. For some students, this may not be a reality and when schools put on events such as food drives, clothing drives and other monetary donations, these students may feel that their inability to give is being highlighted. They also may feel that they are less than or not as strong of a personally responsible citizen. This approach to curriculum can also empower students, making them feel that they are able to take charge and be a part of something bigger than themselves. Students may feel motivated to engage more in their community and see the value in building into their school community.
A diverse group of students is being created from the implementation of this citizenship curriculum. While there are three, distinct categories; depending on your perspective on these categories, many different students and citizens will be created. What variations in these citizens do you think will be created?
Until next time,