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ERIC Number: EJ1054784
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-1477-8785
Teachers in the Social Trenches: Teaching Civics in Divided Societies
Tamir, Yuli
Theory and Research in Education, v13 n1 p121-136 Mar 2015
This article argues that in divided societies, civic education fails to fulfill one of its most important social role: creating a more inclusive society that allows a democratic dialogue to flow across different ideological, religious, and cultural communities. This failure is grounded in two main reasons. First, civics teachers are socially and politically vulnerable and have neither the social power nor the social status to convey moral or ideological messages. Aware of their vulnerability, teachers prefer to adhere to topics shielded by neutrality and avoid controversial issues. Consequently, the message delivered in schools is a conservative one, intensifying feelings of estrangement among members of marginalized groups. Second, estranged communities encourage "their" civic teachers--that is, teachers who are members of these communities--to teach their children a counter-curriculum that undermines the official narratives offered by the state. To its dismay, the state finds that in many of its classrooms it has become a "present absentee". In the power struggle between the thin "neutral" curriculum and the thick counter-curriculum, divisive forces prevail, social trust is eroded, and cleavages deepen. No one should therefore be surprised to find in the suburbs of Paris of Ferguson Missouri angry youth who despite the fact that they are graduates of the public school system feel alienated and estranged.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Israel; United States