Promoting Democratic Classrooms of the 21st Century Presenters: Dr. Natalie Bolton Dr. Sheldon Berman Glenn Manns
THE LARGER GOAL The overall goal in integrating social responsibility into the curriculum should be to foster the development of a socially conscious and socially responsible citizenry, that is, to help students develop a personal investment in the well-being of others and of the planet.
WHAT MOTIVATES CIVIC AND MORAL ACTION? SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS JUSTICE CARE
NEGOTIATING MEANING • Are there larger purposes that my actions can serve? • Do I have a meaningful place in the social and political world? • Are there values that I can make a commitment to and people I can stand with? • Am I capable of contributing something useful to others and will they welcome and appreciate it? • Will my efforts actually make a difference? • Do I have the courage to act without guarantees of success?
MOTIVATORS OF ACTION CONNECTED SENSE OF SELF MORAL IDENTITY LARGER SENSE OF MEANING
COMPONENTS • Academic content in civics • Social and civic skill development • School and classroom climate and culture • Practical experience in the community
CIVIC KNOWLEDGE “Without threshold understandings or a cognitive structure by which to interpret and make meaningful passing media references to political phenomena, children appear to gain only an ‘extensive acquaintance’ with what Connell calls the phenomenal surface of politics.” Moore, Lare & Wagner
THRESHOLD UNDERSTANDINGS • Primary grades: Concept of law and the process of how laws are made • Middle elementary grades: Concept of elections and the political structure • Adolescents: Ideology, an ideological framework and ideological coherence
Goal of Curriculum: One Community, One Nation • Teach young people that they can make a positive difference in the world around them and empower them to be effective, participatory citizens who enter the world with an ethic of care and service and ability for thoughtful questioning and investigation. • Address the needs of students coming from urban environments, many of whom live in poverty and face racism, by closing the empowerment gap. Teach students the value of community, how to honor and affirm cultural diversity, convey the contributions of their culture, as well as develop the knowledge, skills and convictions to overcome one’s personal circumstances and become a responsible and contributing member of our democratic society.
Spirit of the Curriculum:One Community, One Nation • Community and Culture (Grades K-2) • Community is about working together and building on our diversity • We are all in this together--common good • We may be different but we are one world • Voice and Engagement (Grades 3-5) • Active Participation: Content + Experience • Providing opportunities for students to have a voice and make a difference • Striving for justice
Role of Community Partners • Collaborate in the design and review of content and experiential learning opportunities • Identify community resources for service learning opportunities • Provide opportunities for students to learn from community organizations that are making a difference in the community • Provide opportunities for community organizations to share their knowledge and experience with students • Model for students how individuals and organizations in our community promote a vibrant democratic society
Community Partners • Metro United Way – Grade 3 • Muhammad Ali Center – Grade 3 • Junior Achievement – Grade 4 • Civil Rights and Human Rights Community Organizations – Grade 4 • Kentucky History Center – Grade 5 • State Capitol – Grade 5 • Kentucky Center for African American Heritage – Grade 5
What does democracy look like in your country? What examples can you provide from your country’s constitution?
Blogging/Threaded Discussion • Using the colored post-it notes respond to the questions: • What does democracy look like in your country? • What examples can you provide from your country’s constitution? • Green post-it- first response • Pink post-it- respond to 3 green post-its • Orange post-it- respond to 2 green post-its
Wiki • Shared website to provide content • Wikipedia most common in United States
REAL REFORM Real reform comes from our hearts and souls and gives us a sense of meaning. It emerges most powerfully when we connect young people with their potential to make a difference in the world around them.