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ERIC Number: ED519988
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 223
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-4612-3
Exploring the Relationships between Civic Education and Small Learning Communities
Curry, Kristal
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
This dissertation explores unexamined assumptions linking the context of small learning communities to the outcome of quality civic education. Civic education scholars and advocates for small learning communities espouse similar visions of education based on democratic ideals; the purpose of this study was to explore whether and in what ways small learning communities provide a context that enables students to practice the skills of citizenship. The study was conducted in a former comprehensive high school that had been divided into five small learning communities within the previous three years. The research methods consisted of interviews, observations, and two surveys. At the outset of the study, research methods focused broadly on the entire participating school. One administrator and one teacher from each small learning community in the participating school was interviewed using a qualitative interview protocol; then 317 students from two small learning communities took a Civic Climate Survey designed to measure current practices in the school related to civic learning. The next step required looking more closely at how students in two particular classrooms were learning citizenship. I conducted 100 hours of observation in two classrooms, following which students in these classrooms took a Community Survey designed to bring student voice into the research. The research suggests that small learning communities do provide some context for practicing citizenship skills, in that relationships between students and teachers seem to be very strong, and these relationships can be (and in the case of one of the observed classrooms, was decisively) used to enable students to practice more communal forms of citizenship. However, the research also suggests that this potential is not always embraced, as the other observed classroom demonstrates how students can still learn a more individualized form of citizenship within the context of small learning communities. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A