Education

Youth Service

By Michelle Galley — June 09, 2004 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Citizenship Abroad

To help U.S. students learn how to become more active citizens, a group of 20 educators and policymakers traveled to Scotland, where citizenship education is an integral part of the national curriculum.

During the two-day conference in Edinburgh last month, organized at the U.S. end by the National Center for Learning and Citizenship, the team met with educators and top government officials from Scotland and England, which also incorporates citizenship education into the curriculum.

In both those parts of the United Kingdom, students have the chance to meet regularly with politicians to discuss issues they deem important. Educators facilitate conversations about current events and teach lessons on moral and social responsibility.

The approach is different from that of the United States, where citizenship education generally takes the form of specific classes or service-learning opportunities.

“The Scottish and English governments have developed a comprehensive framework for citizenship education,” said Susan Shroud, a conference participant and the executive director of Innovations in Civic Participation, a nonprofit advocacy group in Washington.

Each government has a national education authority that sets curriculum. Because the central education agencies in both places have made citizenship education a priority, schools make an effort to teach it, according to Sir Bernard Crick, the Home Office adviser on citizenship and the chairman of the advisory group that produced England’s curriculum.

“We think [students] should be helped to become active citizens when they leave school,” Sir Bernard said. The best way to do that, he added, “is to have discussions of real issues and real problems.”

That part of the curriculum, which the U.S. participants wanted to learn more about, is called “political literacy.”

“Our students are civically engaged,” said Beverly Hiott, a service-learning coordinator for the Richland 2 district in Columbia, S.C., who also attended the conference.

“But I would like them to have a better understanding of the social issues and problems that they address through their community engagement,” she said.

On the other hand, students in England and Scotland do not have nearly the same opportunities for service learning that U.S. students do.

“There are some very good practices in the States,” said Sir Bernard, “especially on school-community relations.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the June 09, 2004 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 19, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 12, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 29, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 8, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read