The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Listening and Learning About Civic Education From the Community

Hardin L.K. Coleman, Boston University - Wheelock College of Education and Human Development (United States)

Gabrielle Lamplugh, The David Matthews Center for Civic Life (United States)

Emma Humphries, iCivics (United States)


From the United States to Myanmar, we see significant evidence that there are important and sometimes conflictive conversations about how we should be a civic community.  Building on Coleman’s [1] argument that effective civic, character, or social-emotional education programs need to be embedded within a community’s values, this paper will give an example as to how community based listening tours can be used to facilitate this process.  It will summarize how these listening tours gave voice to community beliefs about the why and the how of effective civic education. These listening tours found that effective civics education programs should  a) elevate student voice, b) engage parents in the program development and implementation, c) engage community-based youth serving agencies in program development and implementation, d) include communities that have a prior interest or exposure to equity in K-12 civic education, e) demonstrate a commitment to centering the lived experience of students in the programming, f) have a school district-level commitment to civic education (staff, resources, stated mission, etc.),  and g) have state-level commitment to civic education (education department policy, state standards and curricular frameworks, relevant civics legislation, etc) [2].One core takeaway from these listening tours are that successful educational programming is no longer a function of that great teacher, principal, or program.  It is a function of the system working together to create opportunities for our children to thrive. Another is that a lived civics education program can serve to bring communities together around student learning and agency.

Keywords: civics education, community, equity.

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