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Preface

Introduction

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Comments

Civic Education Volume

 

Introduction

The Civic Education volume has been created to provide language teachers with content resources that might otherwise be difficult to obtain. Each chapter of the volume will provide teachers with resources that they can use to create content-based lessons related to civic education, a topic which has great potential for the language classroom because of its relevance to the daily lives of students around the world. Each chapter will highlight one theme related to civic education and will equip teachers with relevant background information, interactive and communicative classroom activities, and a list of related resources that will allow them to extend and expand the lesson further, if so desired.

Aspects of Civic Education that Can Be Integrated into Language Classrooms as Meaningful Content

In a field as broad as Civic Education, topic selection is challenging. Because civic education can be interpreted in many different ways, language teachers have many options to choose from for course design and thematic-unit development. Civic education often includes the study of political institutions and their values, commitments, assumptions, and challenges. For example, a content-based unit emphasizing political institutions could explore different styles of government, the diverse responsibilities of government, governments of the past, or governments of the present. In such settings, students could study the government of their own country or the governments of other countries. Or they could compare and contrast different forms of government, all the while developing their language skills.

Civic education can also include "a study of the purpose of government, the nature of law, the way private behavior affects the public order and the political system, and the international context of politics" (Quigley & Bahmueller, 1991, p. 3). In such classrooms, teachers can create lessons that explore why people form governments, how governments are formed, why governments enforce laws, and how different types of laws shape society. Related to these topics are content-based lessons on elections and the role informed (and not-so-informed) citizens play in that process.

Civic education can also focus on geography, symbols associated with different countries and governments (e.g., flags, national anthems, historical sites, buildings, monuments), and more provocative topics such as the nature of propaganda, the role of the press, civil disobedience, public life, diversity, global issues, tolerance, negotiation, war and peace, human rights, and societal dilemmas (e.g., finding a balance between individual beliefs and majority rule, individual rights and public safety, power of the people and power of the government).

In democratic societies, civic education emphasizes civic participation and the skills necessary for informed and responsible citizenship. It also explores the political process with an eye toward understanding how it promotes the rights and responsibilities of the individual and the responsibilities of government. In such settings, civic education seeks to reinforce values such as liberty, equality, justice, and the common good (Quigley & Bahmueller, 1991).



Civic Education Topics Chosen for Future Chapters of This Volume

As one can see, language teachers who want to explore topics related to civic education in their classrooms have endless options. The topics that have been selected for upcoming chapters in this Civic Education volume include the following:

  • Rights of the individual
  • Rules and laws
  • Individual freedoms
  • Societal dilemmas
  • Responsibilities of the individual
  • Cultural pluralism
  • Responsibilities of the government
  • Building a civil society

These particular topics have been singled out because they are provocative, interesting, and relevant to students around the world. The development of lessons around these topics can lead to stimulating classroom interactions, thereby giving students opportunities for meaningful and purposeful communication in English. The resources made available in each upcoming chapter will make it easy for teachers to transform their classrooms into vibrant learning environments where students explore topics of interest and improve their language abilities. The versatility of the lesson plans will give teachers the flexibility to use the resources in any number of ways: to create short end-of-the-week content-based activities, to craft special-topic lessons, or to develop more extended thematic units. In whatever ways teachers decide to use these on-line resources, we can be sure that the end result will be students who are more knowledgeable citizens of the world and who are more skilled in their English language abilities.

View Table of Contents for Civic Education Volume

 

References

Quigley, C. N., & Bahmueller, C. F. (Eds.). (1991). CIVITAS: A framework for civic education. Calabasas, CA: Center for Civic Education. (See also http://www.civiced.org/civitasexec.html)

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