ERIC Number: ED423211
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Education for Engagement in Civil Society and Government. ERIC Digest.
Patrick, John J.
A report by the National Commission on Civic Renewal has sounded alarms about the declining quantity and quality of citizen engagement in U.S. political and civic life. According to the Commission the overall civic condition is weaker than it was and in need of significant improvement. To renew the constructive engagement of citizens in political and civic life intellectual capital must be developed. Intellectual capital is defined as the knowledge of democratic principles and practices and cognitive capacity to apply it to public affairs. The curriculum of schools can be an effective means to development of intellectual capital necessary for constructive civic engagement. Well-designed and delivered courses in civics, government, and U.S. history -- based on key ideas, information, and issues of U.S. democracy of the past and present -- enable students to acquire a fund of civic/political knowledge that can be called upon to comprehend, cope, and otherwise interact successfully with the issues, problems, and challenges of civil society and government. The curriculum must be anchored in core subjects such as history, geography, civics/government, and economics. Intellectual capital must be combined with social capital in effective education for engagement in political and civic life. The development of social capital can be achieved through experiential learning such as cooperative learning or service learning. Learning experiences that involve cooperation and community service provide opportunities for students to practice skills and behavior that become habits of responsible citizenship. The Digest concludes with a list of eight intellectual and social capital resource organizations for teachers. (JEH)
Descriptors: Citizenship Education, Civics, Democracy, Elementary Secondary Education, Law Related Education, Service Learning, Social Capital, Social Studies
ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education, 2805 East Tenth Street, Suite 120, Bloomington, IN, 47408.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education, Bloomington, IN.