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Education for citizenship: The role of progressive education and interdisciplinary studies

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Critiques of education from both the left and right conclude that educational institutions hold the key for involving more citizens in the political process. While neither progressive nor interdisciplinary education is sufficient by itself to prepare students for what we identify as the chief requirements for citizenship in the 21st century-civic literacy, critical thinking, social conscience, tolerance and respect for diversity, global citizenship, and political action-a combination of the two can meet all six requirements. We propose an action agenda for high education that includes promoting student involvement in off-campus political projects and on-campus governance, modifying mission statements and promotion/tenure criteria, and offering interdisciplinary general education courses at the beginning and end of college that are progressively taught, and registering students to vote.

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Newell was the founding president of the Association for Integrative Studies, author ofInterdisciplinary Undergraduate Programs and several articles on interdisciplinary higher education, and a veteran of 19 years of interdisciplinary teaching.

Dr. Davis has administered progressively taught institutions for college students, high school students, and the elderly. He is currently Executive Director of the United Way of Franklin County, Massachusetts, applying the same principles to community service agencies.

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Newell, W.H., Davis, A.J. Education for citizenship: The role of progressive education and interdisciplinary studies. Innov High Educ 13, 27–37 (1988).

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  • High Education
  • Social Psychology
  • Critical Thinking
  • Educational Institution
  • General Education