high school activism and global citizenship

Some US high school teachers do “activist multicultural teaching,” as described in Rita Verma’s Be the Change: Teacher, Activist, Global Citizen (2010). [i]However, she faults the emphasis on test-taking and the No Child Left Behind law for making “schools akin to factories producing similar, uncritical thinkers where both teacher and student learn and teach to the test….” Some options for schools are service learning projects, hosting activist speakers, and Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR). “YPAR is a tool for increasing youth involvement in social movement organizing that can generate renewed enthusiasm for social change and create new opportunities for youth leadership.”[ii] An example is Youth United for Change (YUC), a youth organizing group in Philadelphia that did research, conducted surveys and site visits to restructure two large city high schools into smaller schools in order to better serve the students’ needs. Some schools teach about citizenship such as at the High School for Global Citizenship charter schools in Brooklyn and Chicago.[iii] The latter’s website explains, “We are developing global citizens – students who care for themselves, their communities, and the earth.” UNESCO provides teaching materials to educate citizens, based on the belief that schools “should increasingly link education and action to solve problems at the local, national and international levels. Student participation in the organization of studies and of the educational establishment they are attending should itself be considered a factor in civic education and an important element in international education.”[iv]

[i] Rita Verma, ed. Be the Change: Teacher, Activist, Global Citizen. Peter Lang, 2010.

[ii] http://cyber.harvard.edu/sites/cyber.harvard.edu/files/KBWParticipatoryActionResearch2012.pdf

[iii] http://www.hs-gc.org/


[iv] http://www.unesco.org/education/tlsf/mods/theme_b/mod07.html


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