Broom, Catherine Anne. “Historical Study of Citizenship Education in British Columbian Social Studies Guides.” PhD. Diss., Simon Fraser University, 2007.
This study focuses on conceptualizations of “good citizens” in British Columbia’s Social Studies curricula over the course of the 20th century. Three key questions guided the study: (1) How was citizenship defined in the 1916 American report which created Social Studies, and what pedagogical strategies were recommended to achieve it? (2) How did each of the major revisions of British Columbia’s Ministry of Education’s Social Studies curricula in 1985, 1997 and 2005 affect the conceptualization of citizenship and the recommended teaching methods? (3) Having identified the two most significant conceptual shifts in citizenship education in British Columbia’s Social Studies curriculum guides, what possible factors may have influenced these shifts in conceptualization and pedagogy?
The research is based on three major components: a literature review, historical document content analysis and interpretation. The primary methodological focus rests on ideas of power and knowledge, as well as the connections between politics and curriculum guides. The documents analyzed comprised Social Studies revisions made into the 21st century in 1985, 1997 and 2005. Findings are then compared to programs for citizen education outlined by Osborne (1996), Sears and Hughes (1996), and Evans (2004). Other Ministry-related documents were examined, including Ministry school reports, Royal Commission reports and several educational journals.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS:
This study finds that the curriculum guides implemented some fundamental shifts in how schooling was articulated, based in progressive philosophy, including a student-centered approach to education; new middle schools; the removal of Grade 8 exams and the implementation of a common program; and health, physical exercise, and library studies. However, these philosophic changes did not fundamentally reformulate the manner in which curricula were conceptualized or presented, nor did it change conceptualizations of good citizens. While the conceptualization of the purpose of civic education (to make “good citizens”) and the qualities of good citizens in government programs did not drastically change from earlier programs, the recommended pedagogy did, switching from a progressive-based philosophy to a “structure of disciplines” approach in the 1960s. Moreover, this study suggests that philosophy, supported by public intellectuals and nurtured in public dialogue, has the power to transform curricula if not actual teaching practice.
This study includes a discussion of citizenship education, philosophy of history, the history of Social Sciences in the BC curriculum, and conceptualizations of “good citizens.”
IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH:
Future work could explore the connections between the findings of this research and social inequities. For example, how do early curriculum guides compare to later ones in their references to western culture and multiculturalism? The study also suggests that a new philosophy is needed in Social Studies education, and research discerning the nature and practice of this new pedagogy is warranted.