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A framework to explore lifelong learning: the case of the civic education of civics teachers

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Abstract:

This study investigates learning about civics and citizenship throughout individuals' lives (lifelong) and across various pedagogical settings (lifewide). A basic hypothesis is that civics teachers, among all social actors, are particularly well positioned for engaging in this type of introspective exercise because they are both familiar with civics and politics and also with teaching and learning processes. The lifelong civic learning of civics teachers was examined in the different settings in which they acquire their knowledge, values, skills and ideological frameworks, and to understand the relative weight of each one in their overall learning process. This study also coincides with the implementation of a new provincial civics course for grade 10 students in Ontario, Canada during the 2000-1 school year. This case study consists of interviews with 15 social studies teachers who have taught the new civics course in Ontario. One of the clearest findings of the study is the powerful influence of the experience of teaching and of early family socialization on the acquisition of civic knowledge, skills and values, and on the development of political beliefs. Civic engagement and political participation were also considered an important source of civic learning, particularly in relation to the acquisition of civic and political skills. This is a finding that deserves further exploration, because our understanding of social movement learning remains limited. The findings suggest the promotion of lifelong citizenship learning entails the creation and nurturing of inclusive democratic spaces that have particularly high civic educational potential.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02601370304835

Affiliations: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT), Canada

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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