Taylor Scribner Mini-Course: Teaching for Civic Engagement


Overview and Purpose

Classroom community header2.jpg

This mini-course aims to provide educators with best practices for teaching civic engagement. This course is modeled around best practices and provides justifications in each unit. Lessons are provided as examples. In addition, this unit provides students with hands-on learning activities to increase their civic engagement and thinking.

Needs Assessment

"American Politics are in an appalling state. We disagree, fiercely, about almost everything. We disagree about terror and security, social justice, religion in politics, who is fit to be a judge and what democracy is. These are not civil disagreements: each side has no respect for the other. We are no longer partners in self-government; our politics are rather a form of war" (Rebell, 2018, p 11). This quote resonates the need for teaching for civic engagement, and preparing students for life after school. This course provides students with hands-on learning experiences with civics and providing them with ways that they can make change. Students learn about politics and democracy but are not always given the experiences that show them the importance of being civically engaged.

Performance Objectives

State the course-level objectives here. Sometimes, when the course objectives actually map onto the unit objectives, it is fine to combine the objectives with the following unit structure to state the objective(s) of each unit.

By the end of this mini-course educators will be able to:

  • Provide students with hands-on learning experiences.
  • Use best practices to teach for civic engagement.

By the end of this mini-course students will be able to:

  • Participate in activities that focus on a classroom, school, community, state, or national issue or problem.
  • Participate in persuading, debating, negotiating, and compromising in the resolution of conflicts and differences.
  • Work to influence those in positions of power to strive for extensions of freedom, social justice, and human rights.
  • Fulfill social and political responsibilities associated with citizenship in a democratic society and interdependent global community by developing awareness of and/or engaging in the political process.

Course Units

Unit One: What is a community?

  • Student will define community.
  • Students will examine the different communities they are apart-of.
  • Students will identify what makes their classroom a community.
  • Students will examine problems faced within their community.

Unit Two: Civic Duties

  • Students identify and explore forms of civic participation.
  • Student will understand why civic participation is important.
  • Students will explore what it means to be a good citizen.
  • Students will understand their impact on society.

Unit Three: Being an active community member.

  • Students will actively participate in their community.
  • Students will reflect on participation in their community.

Extended Resources

Cohen, C., Kahne, J., & Marshall, J. With Anderson, V., Brower, M., and Knight, D. (2018). Let’s Go There: Race, Ethnicity, and a Lived Civics Approach to Civic Education. GenForward at the University of Chicago. Chicago, IL.

Darling-Hammond, L., Barron, B., Pearson, P. D., Schoenfeld, A. H., Cervetti, G. N., Chen, M., Stage, E. K., Zimmerman, T. D., & Tilson, J. L. (2008). Powerful Learning: What We Know About Teaching for Understanding. Wiley.

Duke, N. K., Halvorsen, A. L., & Strachan, S. L. (2016). Project-based learning not just for STEM anymore. Phi Delta Kappan, 98(1), pp. 14-19.

Hess, D. E. (2009). Controversy in the classroom: The democratic power of discussion. Routledge. pp. 53-76

Krajcik & Blumenfeld (2006); Project-Based Learning (p. 317-333).

Larson, M. B., & Lockee, B. B. (2019). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Rebell, M. A. (2018). Chapter One: The Civic Participation Crisis—and the Civic Empowerment Gap. In Flunking Democracy: Schools, Courts, and Civic Participation (pp. 1-25). The University of Chicago Press.

Mitra, D., & Serriere, S. C. (2015). Civic education in the elementary grades: Promoting student engagement in an era of accountability. Teachers College Press. pp. 38-54.

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