Thursday, August 15, 2013

from American citizen to world citizen

the last post was written by me!  oops!

I am intrigued by how new understandings of citizenship are shaping the way we educate young people today.  It isn't enough to show the students how tied we are to one another in this world.  As teachers, we should accept the calling of helping to create good world citizens, a concept that transcends more limited understandings of what it means to be a good citizen.   For decades, one aspect of a U.S. history curriculum was to instill a sense of civic duty into America's youth.  While this idea has value, it is important to help students gain a less self-centered worldview.  It would seem that it isn't good enough to be a good American citizen.  It's just a start.  Viewing the world through the specific lens of nationality and national duty has allowed individuals to pursue actions that, while they aid the national community, ultimately could damage the world community.  To be a good world citizen, I think, each person must have a solid sense of what it means to be a citizen of their own country (with an understanding of the particular history, culture and needs of that community) but also to find ways in which cultures share commonalities and to acknowledge and accept differences.  As someone about to embark on the study of U.S. History with 11th graders, this re-thinking of citizenship has given me a lot to think about as I frame the guiding questions for this course.


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