Title

"If he murdered someone, he shouldn't get a lawyer": Engaging young children in civics deliberation

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-2003

Publication Title

Theory & Research in Social Education

Department

Education

Abstract

This study examines student engagement in elementary civics deliberation. Civics problem-solving steps and audience roles were introduced to two suburban fourth-grade classes to increase student engagement. Lessons were adapted from the We The People curriculum. Student engagement increased dramatically as students appropriated the steps and roles. Students also changed the roles to serve both academic and social purposes. Students dealt with complex problems by asking “what if” questions and through appeals to common sense. Conflicts raised through voicing minority opinions created particular complications. Implications for deliberating civics issues with young children are offered.

ISSN

0959-3543