Digital Citizenship Education

Moving Beyond Personal Responsibility

Authored by: Kristen Mattson , Marialice B.F.X. Curran

International Handbook of Media Literacy Education

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  April  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138645493
eBook ISBN: 9781315628110
Adobe ISBN: 9781317240068


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Over 100 years ago, John Dewey (1909) argued for better citizenship education in schools. He believed that the school’s definition of a citizen as an informed voter and follower of the law was too narrow and asserted that a good citizen is many things – a voter and a rule follower, but also a community member who must function as a worker, a leader, a parent, or mentor using the sum of their experiences and skills to “contribute to the values of life [and] add to the decencies and graces of civilization wherever he is” (p. 10). To fill these roles as an adult, Dewey contended that a child must learn how to lead and when to follow; how to think, ask questions, and explore for answers; how to persevere; and how to communicate, collaborate, and contribute to help move society forward. Dewey so eloquently asserted that citizenship and moral training in education were nothing without context. There was no one program of study or course a child could take that would turn him into a good citizen. It was simply not enough to lecture children about how to behave in society, instead Dewey felt that the school should become the society through which children learned citizenship skills. He subsequently called for an overhaul of the educational experience in order to help students develop into good citizens (Dewey, 1909, 1916).

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