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The Civically Engaged Classroom

Reading, Writing, and Speaking for Change

By Mary Ehrenworth, Pablo Wolfe, Marc Todd

Create more alert, thoughtful, engaged, inquisitive, and active citizens by reframing teaching so that it’s not just about content and standards, but also civic virtues. The Civically Engaged Classroom is packed with practical guidance designed to support teachers in giving students the skills, knowledge, and tools to be active participants in society.  

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Are your students ready to become the engaged and informed citizens our democracy needs right now? Your classroom can be a place for them to experience what it means to live in community with others, to balance their own interests with those of the group, to challenge themselves to overcome differences, and to ask the questions that help them understand the crux of an issue.

Powerful reading and writing is fundamentally linked to civic education. The Civically Engaged Classroom is packed with practical guidance designed to support teachers in giving students the skills, knowledge, and tools to be active participants in society.  Each chapter describes classroom structures, curricular possibilities, and specific lessons for teaching crucial civic virtues, including:

  • acknowledging identity, bias, and privilege
  • building background knowledge
  • close and critical reading and ethical research skills
  • composing nuanced stances in writing
  • building coalitions and engaging in activism. 

The work of engaging young people isn’t about giving students a voice: they already have their own voices. The work is about teaching them to use those voices with power.