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ERIC Number: EJ797768
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1253
What Kind of Citizen? Democratic Dialogues in Education
Westheimer, Joel
Education Canada, v48 n3 p6-10 Sum 2008
If students from a totalitarian nation were secretly transported to a Canadian classroom to continue their lessons with new teachers and a new curriculum, would they be able to tell the difference? Both classes might engage students in volunteer activities in the community--picking up litter from a nearby park, or helping out at a busy intersection near a school or an old-age center. These are desirable traits for people living in any community, but they are not about democratic citizenship. In fact some conceptions of personal responsibility--obedience and loyalty, for example--may work against the kind of independent thinking that effective democracy requires. Drawing from the results of a study the author conducted with a colleague, the author observes how much of the current education reform in Canada has limited the ways teachers develop the kinds of attitudes, skills, knowledge, and habits necessary for a democratic society to flourish. For democracy to remain vibrant, the author suggests that educators must convey to students that both critical thinking and action are important components of democratic civic life--and students must learn that they have important contributions to make. (Contains 1 table and 7 notes.)
Canadian Education Association. 317 Adelaid Street West #300, Toronto, ON M5V 1P9, Canada. Tel: 416-591-6300; Fax: 416-591-5345; e-mail: publications@cea-ace-ca; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Students; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001