Be a Good Citizen or Else! Neoliberal Citizenship and the Grade Six 2013 Revised Ontario Social Studies Curriculum
Through document analysis, this chapter critically analyses the language, ideologies, and conceptual frameworks in the 2013 revised Social Studies curriculum in Ontario, Canada with a focus on the Grade 6 content. The analysis is guided by two central questions: (1) how is citizenship defined and conceptualized, and (2) how is citizenship suggested to be taught pedagogically. It is argued the new curriculum predominantly promotes citizenship embedded with neoliberal ideologies equating citizenship with personal responsibility, complicity, and civic participatory engagement. Within this paradigm, being a responsible, active citizen means being complicit and outspoken only to the extent that it does not challenge state authority and its hegemonic policies and practices. There are great additions to the new Social Studies curriculum which include promotion of a student-centred, inquiry-based model of learning and introduction of the Citizenship Education Framework. It is suggested to promote citizenship education for the development of a justice-oriented global citizen educators should teach citizenship through the lens of Human Rights rather than personal responsibility. Youth for Human Rights educational materials are proposed as effective resources to holistically teach about citizenship and difference, through the vantage point that prioritizes social justice and equity.
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