There is a relationship between general and civic education, but it is not a simple experience and for the development of knowledge, it does not automatically. What is the relationship between civic education and character education? There is no more important task than the development of an informed, effective. It is generally assumed that civic education efforts will have a positive effect on the political attitudes and behaviors of adolescents and young.
The fate of the American experiment in self-government depends in no small part on the store of civic virtue that resides in the American people. The social studies profession of this nation has vital role to play in keeping this well-spring of civic virtue flowing. Character, however, does not come pre-packaged. Character formation is a lengthy and complex process. And, as James Q.
Relationship Between General and Civic Education —
Wilson Wilson,a life-long student of character, reminds us; "We do not know how character is formed in any scientifically rigorous sense. Those observations and that research tell us that the study of traditional school subjects such as government, civics, history and literature, when properly taught, provide the necessary conceptual framework for character education.
Further, those traditional school subjects provide a context for considering the traits of public and private character which are important to the maintenance and improvement of a democratic way of life.
Research also tells us that the ethos or culture of the school and of the classroom exert powerful influences on what students learn about authority, responsibility, justice, civility and respect.
Finally, we know that one dynamic by which individuals acquire desired traits of private and public character is through exposure to attractive models of behavior. Coles tells us that: Character is ultimately who we are expressed in action, in how we live, in what we do - and so the children around us know, they absorb and take stock of what they observe, namely us-we adults living and doing things in a certain spirit, getting on with one another in our various ways.
Our children add up, imitate, file away what they've observed and so very often later fall in line with the particular moral counsel we unwittingly or quite unself-consciously have offered them Because the United States is the world's oldest constitutional democracy, it sometimes is easy to forget that our American government is an experiment.
It is an experiment that requires, as the authors of the Federalist Papers put it, a higher degree of virtue in its citizens than any other form of government.
Traits of private character such as moral responsibility, self-discipline, and respect for individual worth and human dignity are essential to its well-being. American constitutional democracy cannot accomplish its purposes, however, unless its citizens also are inclined to participate thoughtfully in public affairs. Traits of public character such as public-spiritedness, civility, respect for law, critical-mindedness, and a willingness to negotiate and compromise are indispensable to the continued success of the great American experiment in self government.
How can civic education strengthen and complement the development of character?
This means to shape the structures of society to engage in conscious social reproduction. Social studies teachers have a responsibility and a duty to focus their classrooms on the teaching of character and civic virtue. They should not be timid or hesitant about working toward these goals.
The civic education profession of this nation has vital role to play in keeping this well-spring of civic virtue flowing. Developed nations believe that schools have a civic mission and that education for good citizenship should be the schools' top priority.
Unfortunately for long time now in Zambia and the third world in general many people understand civic education as mere civics for youngsters. The concept of civic education is however broader than civics. Civic education relates to human beings and their natural, physical, social and cultural environments. Civic education allows high school learners a chance to explore the obligations and rights outlined in various international instruments and covenants that many countries are signatory just like Zambia is.
When these high school learners acquire the above skills and are able to apply the skills appropriately and effectively then that is development.
Then it can be said that civic education brings or rather linked to development. The course will give also learners an opportunity to develop their understanding,skills,capacities and values that will mould citizens into socially constructive members of society.
It also prepares learners to become concioutised. When this happens learners become active participants in national issues. By being active participants their welfare will be developed hence it can be said that civic education leads to development.
Then it can be said that civic education is linked to development. Effective civic education programs should provide students with many opportunities for the development of desirable traits of public and private character.
Learning activities such as the following tend to promote character traits needed to participate effectively for the development of the person and the social environment. Civility, courage, self-discipline, persistence, concern for the common good, respect for others, and other traits relevant to citizenship can be promoted through cooperative learning activities and in class meetings, student councils, simulated public hearings, mock trials, mock elections, and student courts.
This is because when citizens are educated they will be able to run their countries as efficiently as they can to promote and do national development programs. For example the late former president Chiluba was denied a third term.
The masses used their civic knowledge to shape the destiny of the country. If there was no single citizen to oppose the third term bid on this land the situation would have been chaotic.
INFOPLUS The Scholars' Corner: THE LINK BETWEEN CIVIC EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
There would have been continued embezzlement of tax payer's money as well as continued wastage of government resources at the expense of the poor. Hence the social and economic development would come to stagnation and in turn employment would be a thing for the haves the so -called "big fishes".
Fortunately enough the bid did not succeed. Within the course of the people of Zambia rejected the constitution for it seemed to favour the Movement for Multi-party Democracy MMD who then the ruling party. The citizens of this countries used their civic education to stop a biased constitution.
Instead the people want to have a people driven constitution which will stand the test of time. The citizens of Zambia could not wait to have a regime change. Ultimately the party was changed on September 20, after ruling for twenty years. Then it was booted out. In deciding which party should rule the nation the citizens used their knowledge to see who should be in authority though normally its a very tricky deal whenever it comes to a point of selecting good leaders.
Civic Education has the capacity to produce responsible citizens who will later be aware of bad governance which is the evil in our society. Moreover, the citizens will know to which extent the evil will affect their society at large and as such the citizens will work towards reducing or if possible combating such evils.
When the evils are reduced or combated there will be development because living standards will be improved for the benefit of society. Civic education breeds the effective use of resources so that they can replenish themselves Civic Education enables the small scale farmers to make a shift from old methods of farming to new ones such as conservation farming.
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This will lead to high food production which will further enhance food security in respective communities. At the same time land will be protected against destruction. In terms of transport the civic education will equip road users to be responsible drivers in that they will reduce accidents by following civic rules.
In the same vein citizens in high authority will be able to plan for the construction of good roads as well as avoiding corruption in their dealings. It can be rightly be said that civic education can be linked to development or it is linked to development for it improves the living standards of citizens.
With civic education in mind citizens will be able to lobby from the government on behalf the community on many issues. They will able to lobby for women's rights and children's rights. With civic education in minds of citizens they shall be able to discuss issues of democracy, sex education, on rights of individuals, rights of dissent and also the responsibility to inform and to be informed.
As though that is not enough ,with civic education citizens acquire the right to participate in the implementation of policies and development programmes. In fact civic education can help citizens develop a critical sense of identity on a lager view, empathy and a positive attitude on diversity. For democracy to survive and flourish, citizens must possess the skills, assimilate the values and manifest the behaviours that are in accord with democracy.
Civic education gives the citizen an opportunity to absorb democratic beliefs and practices over a life time. As they participate in family, neighbourhood life, join local organizations move through the educational system and as they are exposed to free media they develop into better and responsible citizen. Here citizens have the opportunity to absorb the practice of the basic norms of a democratic culture. When this occurs, that is definitely how civic education is linked to development.
In countries where civic education does not exist or less pronounced wholly or partly due to wars or bad regimes, children can or may grow without civic knowledge hence no or little development in terms of civic issues such as human rights, rule of law and so on and so forth. Without civic values such as political tolerance, trust in democratic institutions and respect for the rule of law, how then are the citizens to gain the skills, values and behaviours that are thought to be necessary for a stable democracy which leads to development?
The answer is civic education which essentially promotes developmental behaviours among ordinary citizens.