Data Collection: Building Up Community and Citizenship

Citizenship and community education is the process of learning about the powers and rights that an individual has in the multiple groups in which they participate. Students also learn about the potential for their communities and what can be done when people work together.

What does it mean to be a part of a community? What groups do you have citizenship?

Education has multiple beneficial purposes and one of them is the teaching of how students fit into communities and groups. Currently, social studies classrooms focus on national citizenship, and generally it is over the powers of the government. The first problem is the narrow focus of citizenship education. Citizenship is more complicated than just nationality; everyone is part of multiple groups, in which they have different rights and powers. A second issue is despite the importance of community and citizenship, and it being incorporated into many mission statements and educational philosophies, there is little attention given to building up student perceptions of themselves in the social studies.

Practical Data Collection

1. Preservice teachers will be given a survey that asks them what communities, organizations, groups, and clubs they were a part of when they were in middle school, high school, and now. These lists will be accumulated, compiled, and sent back to them. The student teachers will be asked to describe the powers, rights, and duties they possessed in these groups and how this connects to teaching history and social studies.

2. Students will generate a list of the five to seven issues they feel are the most important to present Americans. Next to each item, students need to write two sentences describing why they believe these issues are important. The lists will be compared to one another, and as a class, students will build a mastery list of issues that are important when teaching the social studies. In order to get students to interact with the data that they produced, they will then need to rank the issues in order. Students should also explain why they placed certain issues over others and justify their reasoning in a few sentences. After students have ranked their social issues, a list will be generated that ranks the issues based on the democratic decisions of the group. Students will then select one to two issues and create a plan of how they will incorporate the issue(s) into their lessons.

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