Recently, I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at Engaging Citizens: Civics Education and the New Political Landscape, a forum hosted by The Boston Foundation, to discuss the importance of civics education in Massachusetts. As the Director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE, Tisch College of Civic Life), my work focuses on the civic learning and engagement of young people through broad perspectives, approaches, and outcomes. Civics education has increasingly become a focal point of educational leaders, researchers, and practitioners. The data below illustrates the need for this attention to civic education and with it, critical thinking and information literacy skills.
View the full presentation.
My presentation provided research on civic participation of Millennials and made a case for schools to increase community and civic engagement using student-centered pedagogy. I shared examples of best practices and ideas for how we can bolster systems of support for civic learning. The best civic learning is student-centered, bringing in experiential learning, discussions of issues that are relevant to students, and builds agency where students can engage meaningfully with their community and think critically about the root causes of social problems.
My presentation and findings were the framework to a broader discussion by panelists–various experts and leaders in the field of civics education including a high school history teacher–who weighed in on what it means for them to provide strong civic education. I invite you to watch the panel discussion and share the ideas with your students, school, and community.
Gary Blank, Senior Vice President of Policy, Planning & Strategy, Fidelity’s Public Affairs & Policy Group; Board of Directors Vice Chair, Generation Citizen
Caroline Angel Burke, Vice President, Education, Visitor Experience & Collections, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
Kevin Dua, History Educator, Somerville Public Schools
Eric Lesser, Senator, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg is a Students at the Center Distinguished Fellow and the Director of CIRCLE, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, part of Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. CIRCLE is a nonpartisan research organization producing and translating knowledge about how young people acquire civic skills and identities through a variety of experiences, and what makes certain learning experiences more effective than others.