Dr. Joel Westheimer discusses how citizenship is taught in school
University of Ottawa researcher and CBC education columnist Dr. Joel Westheimer talks about his new book, What Kind of Citizen? Educating Our Children for the Common Good, on Our Ottawathis week.
Westheimer said the goals of K-12 education have shifted away from creating active and engaged citizens in favour of more narrow goals of career preparation and individual economic gain.
“Public schools have always been and should be about preparation for life and for a career but also about talking about our society and preparing kids to take part in that society,” he told host Adrian Harewood.
“There are certain values that a democratic society requires, for example, values of tolerance and diversity. … You need to teach the value of dissent. The engine of progress in a democratic society is that we disagree with one another. There isn’t one true version of gospel that comes from on high.”
Westheimer and a colleague toured schools across North America to study how schools teach “good citizenship.” He found three main visions: the “personally responsible citizen,” the “participatory citizen” and the “social justice oriented citizen.”
Watch the full interview in the video above.
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