Journal of Social Sciences

Implementing the Current Science and Citizenship Mandates: A Learning Theory Analysis and Set of Recommendations

Lisa Erikson and James Carifio

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2009.193.205

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 5, Issue 3

Pages 193-205


Problem statement: The purpose of this research was to use learning theory to analyze the relationships between current views of citizenship, citizenship education, science and science education to develop a reasonably coherent and integrated view and approach to science and citizenship mandates that can be successfully implemented in our schools. Approach: The three models of citizenship education currently competing for dominance in our schools were: The national forging approach, the global education approach and the deliberative democratic approach. Results: Our conclusion was that it was only the use of the nation forging approach (teaching a common core of foundational knowledge and skills in both citizenship and science education) at the elementary school level that was going to foster and help students develop the cognitive schemas and reasoning skills that are the necessary prerequisites for the Deliberative democracy approach. Conclusion: If and when students do develop the high level of knowledge and reasoning ability required to engage in deliberative democracy approach, possibly at the secondary level of schooling, then the DDA approach will, most definitely, foster and help students develop the common core cultural and deliberative skills and values that will, in turn, then allow the global education approach, with its multicultural (or rather more differentiated, nuanced and subtle if fuzzy) views, to be pursued at the post-secondary level, producing informed and deliberative citizens for this country and the world. The implications of these analyses, findings and conclusions were discussed.


© 2009 Lisa Erikson and James Carifio. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.