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Civic Education in the Elementary Grades

Promoting Student Engagement in an Era of Accountability

Dana Mitra Stephanie C. Serriere Meira Levinson

192 pages
Teachers College Press
As former elementary school teachers, the authors focus on what is possible in schools rather than a romantic vision of what schools could be. Based on a 5-year study of an elementary school, this book shows how civic engagement can be purposive and critical—a way to encourage young people to examine their environment, to notice and question injustices, and to take action to make a difference in their communities and school. Focusing on the intersection of student voice and critical inquiry, the book describes how to embed civic engagement into curriculum, school decisionmaking processes, and whole-school activities. Chapters provide an overview of what research has demonstrated about civic engagement at the classroom, school, and community levels, including detailed descriptions of activities and lessons for practice. Classroom teachers, school principals, community members, and teacher educators can use this resource to foster a deeper, richer understanding of what is entailed in civic life. Book Features: A vivid portrait of a “typical” public school that wants to do more than teach to the test. An examination of the conditions that enable young people to participate in democratic practices, including identifying and questioning injustices. Concrete examples of student voice and critical inquiry in classroom contexts. Practices and activities that encourage children to get along with others, exchange perspectives, and work across differences.
Author Bio
Dana Mitra is associate professor of education in the department of education policy studies at The Pennsylvania State University. Stephanie C. Serriere is associate professor of social studies education at Indiana University–Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC).