Can social studies classrooms be effective "makers" of citizens if much of what occurs in these classrooms does little to prepare young people to participate in the civic and political life of our democracy? Making Citizens illustrates how social studies can recapture its civic purpose through an approach that incorporates meaningful civic learning into middle and high school classrooms. The book explains why social studies teachers, particularly those working in diverse and urban areas, should infuse civic education into their teaching, and outlines how this can be done effectively.
Directed at both pre-service and in-service social studies teachers and designed for easy integration into social studies methods courses, this book follows students and teachers in social studies classrooms as they experience a new approach to the traditional, history-oriented social studies curriculum, using themes, essential questions, discussion, writing, current events and action research to explore enduring civic questions. Following the experiences of three teachers working at three diverse high schools, Beth C. Rubin considers how social studies classrooms might become places where young people study, ponder, discuss and write about relevant civic questions while they learn history. She draws upon the latest sociocultural theories on youth civic identity development to describe a field-tested approach to civic education that takes into consideration the classroom and curricular constraints faced by new teachers.
"Beth Rubin has hit a home run with Making Citizens. This theoretically rich and highly engaging book presents a bold new civics-centered curriculum approach that works. This is a must read for teachers and teacher educators who yearn for specific, vivid, research-based examples of what exemplary civic education looks like in practice. Rubin and the teachers she worked with to develop this curriculum have given our field a real gift.
--Diana E. Hess, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
"Beth Rubin recognizes that the political left and right agree on at least one thing: social studies curriculum and instruction matter profoundly in youth identity-formation. This is a terrific project and a much-needed demonstration of an innovative yet doable alternative to business as usual."
--Walter C. Parker, Professor and Chair of Social Studies Education and (by courtesy) Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington, Seattle
1. Introduction: Transforming Social Studies Education throughMeaningful Civic Learning
2. Essentially Different: Using Essential Questions and Themes for Civic Learning
3. Talking Civics: Open Discussion in the Social Studies Classroom
4. Civic Communications: Writing and Expression for Civic Learning
5. Beyond "Current Events Fridays": Connecting Past to Present All Year Long
6. What’s the Problem? Civic Action Research in the Social Studies Classroom