ERIC Number: ED574357
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
A National Survey of Civics and U.S. Government Teachers. CIRCLE Fact Sheet
Godsay, Surbhi; Sullivan, Felicia M.
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)
In May and June of 2013, CIRCLE surveyed a national sample of high school civics and U.S. government teachers. Complete survey responses from 720 teachers provided a wealth of information on more than 1,000 civics and government courses that they taught. The teachers responded to questions about key activities and topics; attitudes towards civic and democratic principles; confidence in teaching civics; knowledge of content; experience with key pedagogical strategies; and their training, preparation, and professional development. Key findings from the survey include: (1) Teachers think citizenship education is important, but there is no consensus on what should be taught and prioritized; (2) Critical thinking skills are taught more than civic engagement skills, with less emphasis on practicing deliberation and collaboration; (3) Service learning and political volunteering are rare, though when they are present they appear to be of high quality; and (4) Teachers work in complex environments, with competing demands that often impact their ability to provide high quality civic education. The survey includes additional data about how teachers approach topics and activities like voting, media literacy, and community service. It also touches on how civics and government teachers incorporated the 2012 election into their courses; an addendum describes some of the creative election-related activities they used in the classroom. The data also suggest ways in which schools, educational associations, and policymakers can further support teachers and improve civic education in the classroom. For example: (1) Provide resources and create knowledge-sharing opportunities that help teachers integrate practical civic engagement skills and activities in the classroom; (2) Support learning exchanges and other mechanisms for teachers to share and grow their teaching repertoires while creating systems of peer support for teaching civics; and (3) Strengthen teacher education as well as professional development to help teachers build both the critical and conceptual skills for teaching civics and the practical skills required for engagement.
Descriptors: National Surveys, High Schools, Secondary School Teachers, Civics, United States Government (Course), Teaching Methods, Teacher Attitudes, Democratic Values, Self Efficacy, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Teaching Experience, Teacher Education, Faculty Development, Teaching Conditions, Educational Improvement, Teacher Collaboration
Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Lincoln Filene Hall, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155. Tel: 617-627-4781; Fax: 617-727-3401; Web site: http://www.civicyouth.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Sponsor: Robert R. McCormick Foundation
Authoring Institution: CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)