In my own schooling, the topic of citizenship education was briefly mentioned. In elementary school, I was taught to be a good person, act responsibly, and help the less fortunate; however, the idea of citizenship was never expanded for deeper understanding and lived experience. Highschool was similar in the fact that there was not much of a focus placed upon learning citizenship. We had occasional volunteering experiences, and food drives; however, we never fully dove into why such experiences were important as members of community. Such situations also frequently had prizes for the people who brought the most food; therefore, defeating the purpose of the good deed.
The only element of citizenship that was touched on in my schooling was “Personally Responsible”. This element focusses on building one’s character through good deeds and actions; however this is not enough. As the reading mentions, teachers have a large task to ensure students understand social justice issues as well as their place within society. Students can be voices of change; therefore, as teachers we must teach them to dig deeper and begin a pursuit for social justice. In the ideal classroom, students need to first discover who they are as a member of community, then see what they can do within their own surroundings. Finally, they must analyze and begin to understand the social, economic, and political forces in play. Together if we all begin to gain a broad knowledge base of citizenship, we can begin to develop strategies for change within the future.