CONSTRUCTING CRITICAL CITIZENSHIP WITH YOUNG PEOPLE: ALTERNATIVE PEDAGOGIES
The authors present theoretical and empirical arguments for adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (or CRC) to renew the teaching of citizenship to young students from a social justice standpoint (Giroux, 2003; Giroux & Searls-Giroux, 2004; Mitchell, 2010; Moore, 2008; Smith, 2007). The paper draws its analysis and conclusions from a descriptive, exploratory study with key participants from a 2009 rally hosted by Nobel nominee, child rights activist, and founder of Free the Children, Craig Kielburger. Four of the paper’s co-authors were senior elementary students initially chosen as interviewees for the investigation and subject to traditional research protocols for minors. During data collection, however, their status shifted reflexively to include their contributions – not as objects under study or subjects of the interviewer’s questions – but as co-constructors of new knowledge. Relative to the dominance of their teachers and other adult groups “engaging” their participation, this new status allowed a deeper exploration of the meanings they attached to active citizenship through an innovative dialogue (see Kellett & Ward, 2008; Kellett, Forrest, Dent, & Ward, 2004; also Devine, 2002). Through participatory lenses embedded within CRC principles, particularly Article 12, the analysis transcends traditional disciplinary silos to offer a critical and transdisciplinary alternative pedagogy.
International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies
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Victoria, BC Canada
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