“Good” Citizen

 

Asking why citizenship is a curricular problem is very complex question. When I read through the readings that present students and what they learn about citizenship I found it interesting that many students can fully describe some ideas that revolve around citizenship but their socioeconomic status has more to do with it that how they learn about it at school. Students that would be categorized into the lower demographic don’t identify with the term citizen, in most cases. When students are engaged in learning about being a good citizen while the residing in the “higher” socioeconomic status they have a tendency to hold more interest. It is very apparent that students, aside from school, have an idea of what a good citizen is, even more interesting they may already know if that applies to them or not.

Coming from a relatively higher middle class background it is hard for me to think of myself as not a citizen. This brings me to reflect on why I think this? Was it the way in which I was brought up, the ways in which I was and am treated in society, or maybe it was even the school I was enrolled in. The idea of white privilege is true and certainly has a role in the understanding my citizenship, but so does my upbringing, the things I was taught at home, at school, walking down the street to the corner store, how I was treated in that corner store. The opportunities I had as a child were nothing short of a privilege. I believe that these privileges have a role in how we view citizenship in our own lives. I am to claiming that is right, because it is not. I guess what I am saying is that our social status does play a role, and I want to know how I can change this.

Changing these socially constructed ideas of what makes a citizen seems impossible, but what would happen if citizenship was part of the curriculum. When I say part of the curriculum I mean, what if students really went through a unit about what a citizen is and what a “good” citizen is, would they then identify with being a citizen? In some cases, I suppose it is proven that they would not. This idea of citizenship goes deeper than our education, how do we as teacher enforce this idea outside of the school?

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