What is it that makes one a “good citizen” and how are the fundamental goals of citizenship being promoted in classrooms? When I think of citizenship, I believe that it strongly relates with the character of an individual. The Roman Philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero said, “within the character of the citizen, lies the welfare of the nation”. What this means is it is important to possess and promote qualities of honesty, responsibility, kindness, and determination in the face of difficulty (Lickona, 2004).
One great strategy that can be used especially in an elementary classroom setting is the method of role playing. Role playing begins with problem situations, specifically in the lives of the students and explores how values drive the behavior. This results in the students raising their consciousness about values (Joyce, Weil, & Calhoun, 2009). A couple of direct effects of role playing activities are: a greater understanding about and empathy with differences in values as students interact, and strategies for resolving conflicts in fashions that respect different points of view (p. 288). Role playing used as a teaching model can help facilitate personal as well as social dimensions of education. Through role playing students can increase their ability to recognize their own as well as other student’s feelings, they can learn new behaviors for handling difficult situations, and they can improve their problems solving skills (p. 300). Using role playing activities within the curriculum, students will be able to grow and develop skills that will make them a better part of not only their classroom but society. All these are skills for building fundamentally “good” citizens of society.
Joyce, B., Weil, M., & Calhoun, E. (2009). Models of teaching. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.
Lickona, T. (2004). Character matters: How to help our children develop good judgment, integrity, and other essential virtues. New York, NY: Touchstone.