ERIC Number: ED307195
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Oct
Pushing against the Margins: A Commentary and Response to "Patterns of Social Fragmentation and Cohesion: The Social Context of 21st Century Education for Citizenship by David Watts, Donald Matlock, and Alvin Short."
Howery, Carla B.
The inclusion of more sociology related materials in the 8th and 9th grade civics curriculum can push the margins of civics education to a more broadly conceived notion of citizenry and make civics and sociology more relevant to students' lives. The goal should be to help students understand society, not the discipline of sociology. Sociology instruction can channel the developmental characteristics of adolescents (insecurity, rebelliousness) and help connect these personal biographies to larger social forces. David Watts and his colleagues contribute to using sociology to expand the parameters of the traditional civics course by emphasizing the following themes: (1) the centrality of community; (2) the mutual influence of the individual with the group; (3) the importance of demographic information; (4) the pluralism of family forms; (5) the complementary nature of sociological research in citizen development; (6) the need for a core culture; (7) the need for repair of social ecology; (8) the desirability of national service; and (9) the growth and importance of mediating structures. In addition, it should be realized that: (1) the issues of the 21st century will, at their foundation, be people issues, not technological ones; (2) the key challenge to civility is the management of diversity; (3) the information overload of the future will require social data evaluation skills; and (4) sociology can help students respect social knowledge, yet know its limits. Four references are given, and an appendix includes a list of 10 learning objectives that should be reached upon completion of an eighth grade civics course. (PPB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Administrators; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the National Conference on the Future of Civic Education (Washington, DC, October 5-7, 1988). For related documents, see ED 302 474, SO 019 887, and SO 019 895-897.