This week in ECS 210 we took a look at citizenship. We questioned ourselves,”What is good citizenship?” and “What makes a good citizen?”. We were assigned a video and an article based on Joel Westheimer‘s view on citizenship.
For Joel, the idea of education was to guide students on “improving the world”. In the video Joel talks about how it is important to teach students controversy and to “come together to air differences and move forward”. Joel mentions this is a great way to introduce politics into the class because it will help students understand that everyone will not agree on everything.
In Joel’s article, What Kind of Citizen?, he talks about three types of citizenships: personally responsible citizen, participatory citizen, and justice oriented citizen. The main citizenship Joel talks about is the justice oriented citizenship because I believe that this citizenship is one the gets ignored in the education systems. It did in mine at least.
Personally Responsible Citizenship
Personally Responsible Citizenship is someone who volunteers, gives blood, recycles, stays out of debt, obeys laws, etc. This citizenship builds character, honesty, self-discipline, etc. In my grade k-12 schooling I remember this being the main type of citizenship that us students would practice. My school would do bottle drives, parents would drive us students around collecting bottles, then everyone at the end would sort out the bottles and can we collected. We would have fundraisers and I would always choose to be a part of it. I would say in my elementary experiences I was very much a personally responsible citizen. I always volunteered to help around at school, always volunteered to be a part of fundraisers, etc. Whenever there was an opportunity to help in school I would take it. In high school I would always take part in yearbook where I would volunteer to take the pictures. I volunteered to be part of the senior football team by filming all of their games. I was very much a person that liked to be active in my school and community. I believe schools have the best opportunity for students when it comes to volunteering and shaping your personally responsible citizenship.
The Participatory Citizenship
Participatory Citizenship is someone who participates in the social life of the community, a planner, and a leader. In the educational systems, this is where students develop a knowledge of strategies and skills to help play an active roll in their communities. Personally responsible citizenship would volunteer in a food drive while the participatory citizenship would be the one that helped run the food drive. In my schooling experiences, abilities of participatory citizenship were introduced but not as popular as personally responsible citizenship. Around middle school is when us students learned about voting, leadership, and debates. We had a day where we would have boxes around the classroom and all vote and put our votes in the box of our choice. I gained some abilities within the participatory citizenship. I loved helping out so much, I wanted to become a leader and help out even more. I helped organize pep rallies, activities for students, movie nights at the school, bakes sales, etc. I have always been a person that loves making change and helping out make the change. With my school experiences, it way very easy to become a participatory citizen but I think it is also up to the students. A student needs to want to become a leader and feel comfortable with that role.
Justice Oriented Citizenship
Justice Oriented Citizenship is someone that has the ability to communicate with and learn from those who hold different perspectives. These people are work related to the life and issues of the community. Justice oriented citizens look at the bigger picture, instead of just volunteering or running the food drive, they are seeking the reasons as to why people are hungry. From my memory, I never really learned much about this type of citizenship. By the time I learned and gained the abilities to become a personally responsible and participatory citizenship, I was graduating high school. I predict that it was like that at a lot of high schools considering this section of Joel’s article was longer and the most talked about. I believe this citizenship is unlikely to be taught in schools because to get to this level of citizenship, a person must be comfortable with who they are as a personally responsible citizenship and participated citizenship.
Based on what I talked about, my school experiences to actually LEARN about these citizenships were low, but I was able to have a lot of opportunities to create myself into some of these citizenships. In regards to personally responsible citizenship, I’d connect this to the product curriculum because the idea of these two is to create good and responsible citizens.