Curriculum as Citizenship

What examples of citizenship education do you remember from your K-12 schooling? What types of citizenship (e.g. which of the three types mentioned in the article) were the focus?

Throughout my schooling, I remember that the Korean flag was always hung up in the classroom and we sang the national anthem every morning. Also, until grade 2, we stated the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. This has engrained nationalism into students’ heads. From Grade 5, students became able to vote and run for the school election, which taught us that we were citizens of the school, while allowing students to learn how to involve in the society, as well as exercise the rights.

Also, each and every one of student was assigned a duty, like sweeping the stairs and hallway, managing the blackboard, etc. During the middle school years, volunteer work was mandatory; students were required to visit a shelter for people with disability on Saturday after school every twice a week. Donation or charity events were often occurred and students were highly encouraged to participate or contribute to it.

Now that I look back, my schooling tried to focus on all of the three types of citizenship in various ways.

Personally-responsible citizenship: This type of indicates citizens who fulfill their social and civic responsibilities, such as pay taxes, vote, etc. This is the most common vision of citizenship promoted in schools through community service projects and volunteerism. As such, most of experiences I gained through my schooling are related to this.

Participatory citizen: Citizens in this category would feature knowledge of strategies and skills for public engagement and action and play an active role in community organizations. I don’t recall experiences in this category during K-12, but I have seen many of my friends participating rallies in various purposes, such as protest against the increased tuition fee.

Justice-oriented citizen: This category of citizens would question the root causes of social problems and put efforts to make a difference in the society, as well as work towards equity. I don’t think I was able to be in this category yet. However, I think that pursuing the journey of becoming a teacher is training me by providing diverse notions that challenge the status quo, and will allow me to become a justice-oriented citizen one day.


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