Across the world, educators are grappling with how to work within increasingly interconnected and diverse societies where racial and social inequities, historical animosities and citizenship status present barriers for students from marginalized groups.
A new book edited by James Banks, Kerry and Linda Killinger Endowed Chair in Diversity Studies at the University of Washington College of Education, draws lessons from 16 nations where educators are working to create and implement effective civic education programs for students from diverse racial, ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups.
Banks discussed his new book “Citizenship Education and Global Migration: Implications for Theory, Research, and Teaching,” during a session celebrating its release at the American Educational Research Association’s 2017 annual meeting.
“This is a particularly important moment for this book amidst the backlash against immigrants around the world and the rise of populism,” Banks said. "It is so important for us to prepare people to be citizens, to participate in civic society. Democracy depends on it."
The book describes theory, research and practice that can be used in civic education courses and programs to help students from marginalized and minoritized groups in nations around the world attain a sense of structural integration and political efficacy within their nation-states, develop civic participation skills, and reflective cultural, national and global identities.
In France, for example, disaffected Muslim youth often struggle to find a place in society while in the U.S., undocumented and LGBTQ students face daunting challenges. Across the world, the number of international migrants has grown by more than 40 percent in the last 15 years to nearly 250 million.
The book includes profiles and case studies of effective teachers of civic education who work with students from diverse groups and use visionary and engaging instructional strategies and interventions to foster structural inclusion, civic efficacy, and civic engagement and participation.
Ultimately, Banks said he hopes the new book can help educators—from the local school level to those leading national efforts—prepare all students to become productive, empowered citizens of their nation-states.
"What we've learned, even in the cases of very autocratic governments, is that there are very effective teachers functioning with the constraints of dictatorships and very authoritarian governments," Banks said. "Teachers are really the key, and the implications for teacher education are very illuminating and encouraging that teacher can be effective even given tremendous constraints."
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