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|Title: ||Learned Citizenship: Geographies of Education in Ontario Schools|
|Authors: ||Harris, Glenna|
|Advisor: ||Gilbert, Emily|
|Issue Date: ||19-Jan-2009|
|Abstract: ||Citizenship study of the past several decades has revealed citizenship as a multi-layered, multiply-scaled, and often exclusionary concept. Despite increasing and multi-disciplinary scholarly interest in the multi-faceted nature of citizenship as a political, social, and identity-oriented construct, it remains true that the majority of citizenship theory has developed in relation to adults, rendering children all but invisible to much citizenship discourse. Traditional citizenship theory has tended to position children as future adults and therefore as future citizens of the nation-state who prepare for citizenship through participation in public schools. Recent scholarship has also advocated children’s rights education as a key priority to help empower children as citizens in the present-day.
This project investigates how citizenship in Ontario elementary schools, through curricular learning as well as non-curricular activities. I use multi-method research comprised of discursive analysis of provincial documents, semi-structured interviews with elementary school teachers in three school boards, and interactive activity sessions with elementary school students. These findings consider how provincially-scaled discourses persist through curriculum and policy which situate children as future adults and as responsible, competitive citizens in the present day. Teachers value such responsible citizenship as they negotiate the demands of delivering curriculum and maintaining functional classrooms, but concurrently contribute to local citizenship education through community knowledge and empowering student interaction. Children’s contributions reveal a willingness to associate citizenship with ‘good’ citizenship, law-abiding behaviour, and thus situate the school as a site where citizenship expectations are delineated. While these findings reveal the significant mediating role of local school teachers in delivering citizenship education as a supplement to standardized curriculum, only limited connections between citizenship and rights, and often between citizenship and the nation-state, are present overall. Children do figure as present-day citizens through their ability to perform responsible actions at any age, but this remains at best only tenuously connected to a citizenship of both rights and responsibilities.|
|Appears in Collections:||Doctoral|
Department of Geography - Doctoral theses
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