Using inquiry to promote democratic citizenship among young adolescents during summer civics camps | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 15, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1751-1917
  • E-ISSN: 1751-1925

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine how participation in small-group inquiry projects at a summer civics camp contributed to middle schoolers’ beliefs about themselves as citizens and influenced their general and individual conceptions of citizenship. Using an action civics model for their projects, participants worked in small groups to identify an issue in their community, study its root causes and propose solutions. This study utilized a convergent mixed-methods approach involving the collection of both pre- and post-surveys and qualitative data (exit tickets, advocacy projects and semi-structured interviews) to investigate the research questions. Participants for this study included 108 middle schoolers (entering fifth to ninth grade) who attended a free, week-long summer civics camp hosted at two private universities in the United States. Utilizing Westheimer and Kahne’s citizenship typology to analyze the data, three primary findings emerged. Firstly, some students’ conceptions of citizenship did shift slightly towards more participatory and justice-oriented notions of citizenship, although their predominant orientations towards democratic citizenship remain personally responsible. Secondly, students began to appropriate the citizenship frameworks used during the camp to nuance and expand their understandings citizenship and advocacy. Finally, students began to see ways they could use their voice to advocate for change in their communities. This research showcases how inquiry might enhance democratic citizenship education in a global world through interaction with others, responding to one’s community, developing civic knowledge, critically investigating issues and allowing for multiple solutions.

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2020-10-01
2024-05-26
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