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ERIC Number: EJ852621
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-1946-7109
Teaching under Fire
Ben-Porath, Sigal
Penn GSE Perspectives on Urban Education, v4 n2 Fall 2006
Civic education, democratic principles, peace and war are tangled together in many ways. When teachers teach children to be citizens, they inform them of processes and practices in which they can and should engage; they inform them of the relations they are to have with their state through its proper institutions; they teach them what they can expect of their country, and what it can expect from them. When democratic stability is threatened by external perils such as terror attacks and conflict, and by the correlating internal responses such as suspension of rights and the narrowing public agenda, civic education becomes an even more crucial factor for the preservation of a stable democracy. In times of war, the boundaries of the political are redrawn. The conceptualization of citizenship is reformulated, and the relations between individual and state change their contents to express different expectations. The education system, with its teachers, administrators and other stakeholders representing the widest range of social actors, cannot evade this fate. As a public institution responsible for preparing future generations to becoming active members of society, schools are bound to undergo change during conflict. The author suggests that the proper response of the public education system to the social circumstances of wartime should be designed to balance the demands of belligerent citizenship with an ongoing commitment to democratic principles. As a teacher in conflict-ridden Tel-Aviv, the author shares that as he encourages his students to express their (mostly grim) views of the governing institutions, he tries to weave into their classroom discussion an awareness of what it means to be a citizen, what it means to be governed and represented, and what it is that they as active, engaged participants in the ongoing construction of their society can do to contribute to the discourse that envisions this society as it is, and as it should be. (Contains 2 endnotes.)
University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. 3700 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Israel