What examples of citizenship education do you remember from your K-12 schooling?
My k-12 schooling was over 15 years ago, so it is a little bit difficult for me to remember exact moments where citizenship was promoted. But, I suppose overall we were taught a lot about how to be personally responsible and participatory citizens. By this, I mean we were encouraged to volunteer in ways like going out into our community and cleaning up garbage, or raising money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation by doing a school-wide fundraiser called ‘Jump Rope for Heart’. I also think of examples of voting as a child for class leaders for the SRC (Student Representative Council) or having penny drives where we would bring in as many pennies as possible as a means to collect an abundance to donate to those in need.
What types of citizenship (e.g. which of the three types mentioned in the article) were the focus?
Personally Responsible Citizens are mentioned in the article as those who help in their community by voting, donating and paying taxes. Although it seems that these are three basic ways of being a personally responsible citizen, it is not that black and white. We discussed in class how this can made impossible for some, for example, if they are incarcerated, or living in poverty.
If I think of this in regards to my personal life, I have been a personally responsible citizen by donating my gently used clothes to different organizations like the Diabetes Foundation or Community Living, as well as Sophia’s House which is a centre for women and children fleeing domestic violence. By the governments standards, I am low income and do receive subsidies for things like rent or putting my daughter in activities, but I have still found ways to help those in more unfortunate circumstances than my own.
The Participatory Citizens are stated as those who actively in engage with their community and organizations that are meant to better their community and help those in need beyond just donating money. For example, instead of giving a cheque to Souls Harbour Rescue Mission each month, they would perhaps help serve food in the soup kitchen once a week or a few times a month. This is not to say that it is not important to give money to such organizations, as this is also a need, but it is also important to participate in the serving of others.
Ways in which I see this within our own school, for example is when Victoria Ordu and Favour Amadi were to be deported by the Canadian government for working while on a student visa, they were hiding in refuge to avoid deportation back to Nigeria, and some staff and students from the University of Regina were protesting against the deportation of the two women. All in all this made a difference by the government changing the laws of students who are here on studying visa’s to be able to work off campus much easier.
Justice Oriented Citizens are those who basically engage in all forms of citizenship and work towards the equity of everyone. Instead of only participating in the common betterment of all, they work towards finding the root problem of how these things came to be in the first place and don’t just want to find ways to bring change, but actively work towards bringing change.
If I think about the possibility of this, I think about my own privilege as a white woman. Because I am automatically placed in a position of privilege and power, I do believe I have a responsibility to work towards justice for all. Or what this class in particular is doing, both Mike and Katia are teaching us to think critically about the world, our communities and ourselves and to question the status quo and what we can do as future educators to bring justice to the education system which can hopefully be executed outside of the classroom as well.