Educating Students to be Good Citizens

According to the article Political Education and Citizenship: Teaching for Civic Engagement by Ken Osborne.  Osborne in the article states, “Schools have largely succeeded in educating children to be good people but have been much less successful in turning them into good citizens”.  To understand what the difference between a good person and a good citizen we have to look at what he means by both.  Osborne states that a good person is someone who helps others, respects other people’s rights and obeys the laws.  However, Osborne says citizenship demands much more.  Osborne says, “Citizenship requires a willingness and an ability to play an active and morally principled part in public life of one’s society”.   This would include voting in elections and being engaged with public affairs.

The connections I made to Osborne’s statement resonated to my schooling.  I have noticed that our schools prep our students to become good people.   This is through the many programs, SRC, choir and music programs, as well as through the needed volunteer hours to graduate high school.  These are all ways in which the students will help benefit the community.  However, I think that in my schooling we did not have a lot of citizen education.  We got the basics.  We learned about the history of politics in high school, but I think that to teach citizenship education you need to be involved on what is going on today.  What issues are happening in politics? What does each party stand for?  For example, in my schooling we never talked about what grounds each political party stood on.  I think that it is important for students to look into this to get them interested in politics.  I also think that by getting students to know the political parties, to know the people within the political parties. I think that they would have a much better understanding on who to vote for and why they should vote for them.

In my classroom what I would do to encourage to teach citizenship education is have a discussion as to what a good person and what a good citizen are.  I think that it is very important for students to know what is going on around the world.  I think that current events, local news stories, or anything that involves Canada on the global scale should be talked about in class.  I would really like to teach my students how to debate because of the fact that they could learn for to form their own opinions and stand up for themselves, attend political rallies, etc.

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