It has been debated for years what the correct way to define citizenship is. This provides a challenge for teachers, specifically social studies teachers. They are the ones tasked with teaching students about being a citizen in society, and what a citizen does. Granted, some of this is taught at the younger ages, but even at the middle and high school level, teachers still have to develop students’ definitions and participations as a citizen. There has been framework suggesting that the three types of citizens are “traditional,” “progressive,” and “advanced,” while another framework suggests there is left and right. However, there is one framework that suggests there are three kinds of citizens.
According to this framework, the three visions of citizenship are the personally responsible citizen, the participatory citizen, and the justice-oriented citizen. A personally responsible citizen acts responsibly in their community. A participatory citizen is an active member of community organizations and/or improvement efforts. A justice-oriented citizen critically assesses social, political, and economic structures to see beyond surface causes. All of these can work independently, but they can also work together to create a responsible and active citizen. They are often seen as mutually exclusive, but they are not necessarily. It is possible that one type of citizen can influence and support another type, or each type can work on its own without the help of the other citizens.
I think teachers should help develop students’ citizenship skills in the best way possible. They should develop what the students naturally go to, while still giving them the resources to be the other types of citizens. I think, within a classroom, teachers should develop all three vision types because they never know what their students gravitate towards. This allows all students to have the chance to develop their skills and become a good citizen. In order to do this, the teacher will need to move beyond the textbook, and will have to help their students develop real world skills. These skills are important because the students can use them in other aspects in their lives, not just in the social studies classroom.