Advertisement

Youth Civic Engagement and Formal Education in Canada: Shifting Expressions, Associated Challenges

  • Mark EvansEmail author
  • Rosemary Evans
  • Angela Vemic
Living reference work entry

Abstract

In this chapter, we explore shifting expressions of youth civic engagement in Canada and the variant ways in which educating for youth civic engagement has been envisaged and approached in formal education (K-12). Attention is also given to those personal and contextual factors propelling these changes over time. We contend that while expressions of youth civic engagement have been for the most part moderate, varied, local, institutional, and tempered historically through a filter of personal and social responsibility, there has been a gradual shift of emphasis towards less formal, digital, and rights-based representations.

Educating for civic engagement through formal education in Canada has also undergone a gradual transition. This transition has moved from an emphasis on civic duty, deference, and formal political structures and processes as they are to more recent characterizations that encourage more informal, exploratory, and critical understandings of engagement with public issues, from the local to the global. Interwoven in these understandings of engagement are themes such as identity, cultural diversity, pluralism, and issues of social justice and equity. Indicators of these changes are found in spheres of Canadian educational research, curriculum policy reform, and strengthened pedagogical practices.

Moving towards these broadened and more complex characterizations of civic engagement through formal education has proven to be complicated. Curriculum ambiguity, undertones of compliance, an avoidance of controversial concepts and issues, and varied understandings of engagement among students with differing identity affiliations, for example, all signal uneven and fragmented access to particular learning experiences. These complications are further exacerbated by a variety of factors associated with educational change that have mobilized and/or inhibited steps forward.

Keywords

Youth civic engagement Youth activism Youth participation Citizenship education Civics Formal education Pedagogy Canada 

References

  1. Abdi, A. (2014). Reflecting on global dimensions of contemporary education. In D. Montemurro, M. Gambhir, M. Evans, & K. Broad (Eds.), Inquiry into practice: Learning and teaching global matters in local classrooms (pp. 19–21). Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.Google Scholar
  2. Banks, J. (2017). Failed citizenship and transformative civic education. Educational Researcher, 46(7), 366–377.Google Scholar
  3. Bickmore, K. (2006). Democratic social cohesion? Assimilation? Representations of social conflict in Canadian public-school curricula. Canadian Journal of Education, 29(2), 359–386.Google Scholar
  4. Bickmore, K. (2014). Citizenship education in Canada: “Democratic” engagement with differences, conflicts and equity issues? Citizenship Teaching & Learning, 9(3), 257–278.Google Scholar
  5. Bickmore, K. (2005). Teacher development for conflict participation: Facilitating learning for ‘difficult citizenship’ education. International Journal of Citizenship and Teacher Education, 1(2):2–16.Google Scholar
  6. Biesta, G. (2011). Learning democracy in school and society: Education, lifelong learning, and the politics of citizenship. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  7. Broom, C. (2016). Exploring youth civic engagement and disengagement in Canada. Journal of International Social Studies, 6(1), 4–22.Google Scholar
  8. Chareka, O., & Sears, A. (2005). Discounting the political: Understanding civic participation as private practice. Canadian and International Education, 34(1), 50–58.Google Scholar
  9. Chareka, O., & Sears, A. (2006). Civic duty: Young people’s conceptions of voting as a means of political participation. Canadian Journal of Education, 29(2), 521–540.Google Scholar
  10. Chen, J., & Goodreau, J. (Eds.). (2009). Educational activism: Resources for change. Toronto: OISE/University of Toronto.Google Scholar
  11. Claes, E., Hooghe, M., & Stolle, D. (2009). The political socialization of adolescents in Canada: Differential effects of civic education on visible minorities. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 42(3), 613–636.Google Scholar
  12. Clark, P., & Case, R. (1997). Four purposes of citizenship education. In P. Clark & R. Case (Eds.), The Canadian anthology of social studies (pp. 17–27). Vancouver: Simon Fraser University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Cook, S., & Westheimer, J. (2006). Introduction: Democracy and education. Canadian Journal of Education, 29(2), 347–358.Google Scholar
  14. Davies, I., Evans, M., & Peterson, A. (2014). Civic activism, engagement and education: Issues and trends. In Davies, I., Evans, M., & Peterson, A. (Eds.), Civic activism, engagement and education: Issues and trends. Special Edition for the Journal of Social Science Education (JSSE), 13(14), 2–10.Google Scholar
  15. Dei, G. (2014). Global dimensions of contemporary education. In D. Montemurro, M. Gambhir, M. Evans, & K. Broad (Eds.), Inquiry into practice: Learning and teaching global matters in local classrooms (pp. 9–11). Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.Google Scholar
  16. Depape, B. (2012). Power of youth: Youth and community-led activism in Canada. Our Schools /Our Selves, 21(3), 15–21.Google Scholar
  17. Dlamini, S., Wolfe, B., Anucha, U., & Yan, M. (2009). Engaging the Canadian diaspora: Youth social identities in a Canadian border city. McGill Journal of Education/Revue des sciences de l'éducation de McGill, 44(3), 405–433.Google Scholar
  18. Eidoo, S., Ingram, L., MacDonald, A., Nabavi, M., Pashby, K., & Stille, S. (2011). Through the kaleidoscope: Intersections between theoretical perspectives and classroom implications in critical global citizenship education. Canadian Journal of Education, 34(4), 59–85.Google Scholar
  19. Evans, M. (2006). Educating for citizenship: What teachers say and what teachers do. Canadian Journal of Education, 29(2), 410–435.Google Scholar
  20. Evans, M. (2008). Citizenship education, pedagogy, and school contexts. In J. Arthur, I. Davies, & C. Hahn (Eds.), International handbook of citizenship and democracy (pp. 519–532). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.Google Scholar
  21. Faden, L.Y. (2012). History classroom as site for imagining the nation: An investigation of U.S. and Canadian teachers’ pedagogical practices. Doctoral Thesis, University of Western Ontario.Google Scholar
  22. Friedel, T. L. (2015). Understanding the nature of indigenous youth activism in Canada: Idle no more as a resumptive pedagogy. South Atlantic Quarterly, 114(4), 878–891.Google Scholar
  23. Hall, M., McKeown, L., & Roberts, K. (2001). Caring Canadians, involved Canadians: Highlights from the 2000 national survey of giving, volunteering, and participating. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
  24. Hanvey, L., & Kunz, J. (2000). Immigrant youth in Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Council on Social Development.Google Scholar
  25. Ho, E., Clarke, A., & Dougherty, I. (2015). Youth-led social change: Topics, engagement types, organizational types, strategies, and impacts. Futures, 67, 52–62.Google Scholar
  26. Hodgetts, A. B. (1968). What culture? What heritage? A study of civic education in Canada. Toronto: OISE Press.Google Scholar
  27. Hughes, A., & Sears, A. (2008). The struggle for citizenship education in Canada: The Centre cannot hold. In J. Arthur, I. Davies, & C. Hahn (Eds.), International handbook of citizenship and democracy (pp. 124–139). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.Google Scholar
  28. Kahne, J., Hodgin, E., & Eidman-Aadahl, E. (2016). Redesigning civic education for the digital age: Participatory politics and the pursuit of democratic engagement. Theory & Research in Social Education, 44(1), 1–35.Google Scholar
  29. Kennelly, J. (2009). Good citizen/bad activist: The cultural role of the state in youth activism. The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 31(2–3), 127–149.Google Scholar
  30. Kennelly, J. (2009b). Learning to protest: Youth activist cultures in contemporary urban Canada. The Review of Education, Pedagogy and Cultural Studies, 31(4), 293–315.Google Scholar
  31. Kennelly, J., & Llewellyn, K. (2011). Educating for active compliance: Discursive constructions in citizenship education. Citizenship Studies, 15(6–7), 897–914.Google Scholar
  32. Ladson-Billings, G. (2005). Differing concepts of citizenship: Schools and communities as sites of civic development. In N. Noddings (Ed.), Educating citizens for global awareness (pp. 69–80). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  33. Llewellyn, K., Cook, S., Westheimer, J., Giron, L.A., & Suurtamm, K. (2007). The state and potential of civic learning in Canada. Charting the course for youth civic and political participation. CPRN Research Report. Canadian Policy Research Networks.Google Scholar
  34. Llewellyn, K., & Westheimer, J. (2010). Beyond facts and acts: The implications of ‘Ordinary Politics’ for youth political engagement. Journal of Citizenship Teaching & Learning, 5(2):50–61Google Scholar
  35. Llewellyn, K. R., Cook, S., & Molina, L. (2010). Civic learning: Moving from the apolitical to the socially just. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 42(6), 1–22.Google Scholar
  36. Loader, B. D., & Mercea, D. (2011). Networking democracy? Social media innovations and participatory politics. Information, Communication & Society, 14(6), 757–769.Google Scholar
  37. MacDonald, A. (2013). Considerations of identity in teachers’ attitudes toward teaching controversial issues under conditions of globalization: A critical democratic perspective from Canada. Unpublished Dissertation, OISE/University of Toronto.Google Scholar
  38. MacDonald, A., Evans, M., Ingram, L., & Weber, N. (2015). Educating for a global dimension of citizenship in Canada: Implications for pedagogical practice. In M. Merryfield, J. Harshman, & T. Augustine (Eds.), Research in global citizenship education (pp. 83–118). Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  39. McLaughlin, T. H. (1992). Citizenship, diversity and education: A philosophical perspective. Journal of Moral Education, 21(3), 235–247.Google Scholar
  40. McLean, L., Bergen, J., Thruong-White, H., Rottmann, J., & Glithero, L. (2017). Far from apathetic: Canadian youth identify the supports they need to speak about and act on issues. Citizenship Teaching and Learning, 12(1), 91–107.Google Scholar
  41. McLeod, K. A. (1989). Exploring citizenship education: Education for citizenship in Canada and citizenship education. Toronto: Canadian Education Association.Google Scholar
  42. Ménard, M. (2010). Youth civic engagement. Library of parliament: Background paper. Ottawa, ON. Pub No. 2010-23-E.Google Scholar
  43. Molina-Girón, L. (2013). How do schools educate students to be active citizens? A case study of citizenship education in Canada. Multidisciplinary Journal of Educational Research, 3(3), 296–326.Google Scholar
  44. Ontario Ministry of Education. (2013). The Ontario curriculum grades 9 and 10, Canadian and world studies: Geography, history, civics, (politics). Toronto: Ontario Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  45. Ontario Ministry of Education. (2018). The Ontario curriculum, social studies, grades 1 to 6, history and geography, grades 7 and 8. Toronto: Ontario Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  46. Ontario Ministry of Education. (2014). Achieving excellence: A renewed vision for education in Ontario. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario.Google Scholar
  47. Ontario Ministry of Education. (2015). The Ontario curriculum grades 11 and 12, Canadian and world studies: Economics, geography, history, law, politics. Toronto: Ontario Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  48. Osborne, K. (1996). Education is the best national insurance: Citizenship education in Canadian schools, past and present. Canadian and International Education, 25(2), 33–58.Google Scholar
  49. Osborne, K. (2001). Democracy, democratic citizenship, and education. In J. P. Portelli & R. P. Solomon (Eds.), The erosion of democracy in education (pp. 29–61). Calgary: Detselig Enterprises.Google Scholar
  50. Parker, W. (2008). Knowing and doing in democratic citizenship education. In L. S. Lestvik & C. Tyson (Eds.), Handbook of research in social studies education (pp. 65–80).Google Scholar
  51. Peck, C., Thompson, L., Chareka, O., Joshee, R., & Sears, A. (2010). From getting along to democratic engagement: Moving toward deep diversity in citizenship education. Citizenship Teaching and Learning, 6(1), 61–75.Google Scholar
  52. Priestley, M., Edwards, R., Miller, K., & Priestley, A. (2012). Teacher agency in curriculum making: Agents of change and spaces for manoeuvre. Curriculum Inquiry, 42(2), 191–214.Google Scholar
  53. Raynes-Goldie, K., & Walker, L. (2008). Our space: Online civic engagement tools for youth. In W. Lance Bennett (Ed.), Civic life online: Learning how digital media can engage youth (The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation series on digital media and learning) (pp. 161–188). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.  https://doi.org/10.1162/dmal.9780262524827.161.Google Scholar
  54. Rothwell, N., & Turcotte, M. (2006). The influence of education on civic engagement: Differences across Canada’s rural-urban spectrum. Rural and Small Town Canada Analysis Bulletin, 7(1), 1–15. Statistics Canada.Google Scholar
  55. Sears, A. (1996). Something different to everyone: Conceptions of citizenship and citizenship education. Canadian and International Education, 25(2), 1–15.Google Scholar
  56. Sears, A. (2004). In search of good citizens: Citizenship education and social studies in Canada. In A. Sears & I. Wright (Eds.), Challenges and prospects in Canadian social studies (pp. 90–106). Vancouver: Pacific Education Press.Google Scholar
  57. Sears, A., & Hyslop-Margison, E. J. (2007). Crisis as a vehicle for educational reform: The case of citizenship education. The Journal of Educational Thought (JET)/Revue de la Pensée Éducative, 41(1), 43–62.Google Scholar
  58. Sherrod, L. R., Torney-Purta, J., & Flanagan, C. A. (Eds.). (2010). Handbook of research in civic engagement in youth. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  59. Shultz, L. (2007). Educating for global citizenship: Conflicting agendas and understandings. The Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 53(3), 248–258.Google Scholar
  60. Strong-Boag, V. (1996). Claiming a place in the nation: Citizenship education and the challenge of feminists, natives, and workers in post-confederation Canada. Canadian and International Education, 25(2), 128–145.Google Scholar
  61. Stolle, D. & Cruz, C. (2005). Youth civic engagement in Canada: implications for public policy. In Social Capital in Action: Thematic Policy Studies (Ottawa: Policy Research Initiative), 82–114.Google Scholar
  62. Symons, T. H. B. (1975). To know ourselves. The report of the commission on Canadian studies (volumes I and II). Ottawa: Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.Google Scholar
  63. Tomkins, G. (2008). A common countenance: Stability and change in the Canadian curriculum. Pacific Educational Press.Google Scholar
  64. Torney-Purta, J. (2002). The school’s role in developing civic engagement: A study of adolescents in twenty-eight countries. Applied Development Science, 6(4), 203–212.Google Scholar
  65. Torney-Purta, J., Schwille, J., & Amadeo, J. (Eds.). (1999). Civic education across countries: Twenty-four national case studies from the IEA civic education project. Amsterdam: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).Google Scholar
  66. Tossutti, L. (2007). Voluntary associations and the political engagement of young Canadians. Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d’études canadiennes, 41(1), 100–125. University of Toronto Press. Retrieved October 28, 2016, from Project MUSE database.Google Scholar
  67. Tupper, J. (2014). Social media and the idle no more movement: Citizenship, activism and dissent in Canada. Journal of Social Science Research, 13(4), 87–94.Google Scholar
  68. Tupper, J., & Cappello, M. (2012). (Re)creating citizens: Saskatchewan high school students’ understanding of the ‘good’ citizen. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 44(1), 37–60.Google Scholar
  69. Tupper, J., Cappello, M., & Sevigny, P. (2010). Locating citizenship: Curriculum, social class and the ‘good’ citizen. Theory and Research in Social Education, 38(3), 336–365.Google Scholar
  70. Turcotte, M. (2015a). Civic engagement and political participation in Canada. Ottawa: Statistics Canada/Ministry of Industry.Google Scholar
  71. Turcotte, M. (2015b). Political participation and civic engagement of youth. Ottawa: Statistics Canada/Ministry of Industry.Google Scholar
  72. Uldam, J., & Askanius, T. (2013). Online civic cultures: Debating climate change activism on YouTube. International Journal of Communication [Online], 1185+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=utoronto_main&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA334486388&sid=summon&asid=d06d385266c480a52e696fa1528c1225
  73. Vromen, A. (2017). Digital citizenship and political engagement. In Digital citizenship and political engagement (pp. 9–49). London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  74. Westheimer, J., & Kahne, J. (2004). What kind of citizen? The politics of educating for democracy. American Educational Research Journal, 41(2), 237–269.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum, Teaching & LearningOntario Institute for Studies in Education, University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.University of Toronto SchoolsTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Ontario Institute for Studies in EducationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations