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ERIC Number: EJ874371
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0826-4805
The Missing Element to Achieving a Citizenship-as-Practice: Balancing Freedom and Responsibility in Schools Today
Skogen, Rochelle
Interchange: A Quarterly Review of Education, v41 n1 p17-43 Jan 2010
The new Social Studies curriculum recently introduced in Alberta proposes to encourage students to affirm their place as citizens in a democratic society. Grounded in Biesta's (2007) argument that regardless of a Program of Studies' best stated goals and intentions, if a school is not structured democratically the chances of the program being successful are limited. In this article, I question what makes a school democratic as opposed to undemocratic by proposing that the new curriculum is grounded in a representational view of knowledge which leads to a document that is overly conceptualized and presents a view of citizenship as one that can be "achieved" rather than one that is "practiced" (Biesta & Lawy, 2006). I argue that it is the representational curriculum and the public school's organizational structure with its emphasis on "duties" and "responsibilities" and the virtual absence of "freedom" and "rights" that make these schools fundamentally undemocratic places. In order to pursue this line of inquiry, I juxtapose schools in the public system with a private school which claims to be a "participative democracy". This juxtaposition revealed that a school that gives students freedom first and trusts that they will act responsibly with it, is more likely to lead to a citizenship that is practiced rather than one that is simply achieved. While it is not the intention of this paper, to recommend that all schools adopt the model of the private school in this study, it does help us understand why Biesta (2007) is not overly optimistic regarding schools being able to achieve a citizenship that is practiced as opposed to one that is achieved.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada