Building on prior research on place-based social studies instruction (Toledo, 2017; 2020), this study specifically looks at data from six third-grade teachers who designed and implemented a civics curriculum focused on engaging students with a unit on locally-relevant public issues. The ten-lesson unit that the teachers and research team collaboratively developed was taught in six classrooms across a large school district. A central public issue in the unit was travel across borders during COVID-19, or simply the coronavirus as it was commonly referred to at the time. Students also considered tensions between immigration and containment of contagious illnesses through a historical lens, for example studying immigrant screening on Ellis Island and related health protocols. This article focuses specifically on how third-grade students across these classrooms conceptualized, discussed, and wrote about the civic tensions surrounding COVID-19 before the crisis was declared a global pandemic. We analyzed data on student contributions from videos of class discussions, observational field notes, and student writing samples. Findings indicate that students applied the concept of the public or common good in three contexts: local, national, and global. We discuss the implications of varied understandings and applications of the common good, particularly as it pertains to quickly evolving public issues and topics.
Toledo, William and Enright, Esther
"Deliberation on the Public Good during COVID-19: A Case Study Examining Elementary Students’ Use of Civic Perspective-Taking,"
The Councilor: A Journal of the Social Studies: Vol. 82:
1, Article 2.
Available at: https://thekeep.eiu.edu/the_councilor/vol82/iss1/2
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