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ERIC Number: ED548961
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 145
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2673-3842-6
Civic Engagement in the Upper Elementary Grades: An Examination of Parent and Teacher Practices and Children's Civic Identity
White, Elizabeth Spalding
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
This study examines civic identity (i.e., civic values and responsibility to community and to people) in middle childhood, a previously unexplored developmental period in the civic engagement literature, and how adults and socialization processes in the home and school contexts are associated with children's civic outcomes. Middle childhood is a relevant time to explore these processes, as children at this age begin to demonstrate more complex understandings and interactions with their social world (Eccles, 1999). Thus, it is a key time to build a foundation for future civic engagement. This study aimed to determine: 1) child and family characteristics associated with civic outcomes in middle childhood; 2) the extent to which parents' humanitarian values and civic beliefs (social and government trust) are associated with children's civic identity and the ways that parents share these values/beliefs with children; and 3) the types of civic activities used by teachers in the upper elementary grades and the extent to which teacher practices are associated with children's civic outcomes. Survey data were collected from 407 ethnically and economically diverse upper-elementary students (4th-6th grades), their parents (N = 388), and teachers ( N = 22) from seven schools in Southern California. Aim 1: Results indicated that being female, having a need to affiliate with others, and being from a low-income family were associated with children's civic identity. Aim 2: Additionally, parents who more strongly endorsed humanitarian values and were more trusting of others had children with greater civic outcomes, and parents transmitted these values/beliefs to their children by being civically engaged themselves. Parent mistrust in the government was also associated with greater civic outcomes, but only for children from low-income families. Aim 3: Teachers reported using multiple types of civic activities in the classroom, and civic learning opportunities (e.g., service learning) were associated with children's feelings of responsibility to people. This study provides evidence of a civic identity in middle childhood and shows that parents and teachers both matter for children's civic outcomes. Findings also suggest that parents' civic engagement and concrete civic learning experiences are particularly meaningful to children's civic outcomes during middle childhood. [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 Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California