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Teaching urban youth about controversial issues: Pathways to becoming active and informed citizens
Lin, A. R., Lawrence, J. F., & Snow, C. E. (2015). Teaching urban youth about controversial issues: Pathways to becoming active and informed citizens. Citizenship, Social and Economics Education, 14(2), 103–119. https://doi.org/10.1177/2047173415600606
Abstract: Although American schools are required to meet civic education goals of preparing students to become active and informed citizens, high-quality civic opportunities (e.g. service learning and volunteering) are consistently less available to youth of color who are typically enrolled in schools located in high-poverty communities. The purpose of this study is to evaluate efficacy of the Word Generation program to improve students’ self-reported civic engagement (N = 5798) in the context of a randomized trial that was conducted in several middle schools located in a West Coast metropolitan area of the United States. Word Generation is a cross-content literacy program that instructs students to learn academic words, which are embedded in brief passages covering a different controversial issue each week. Participants completed survey items on how often they helped their friends, community, and school, as well as voting interest. Results provide support for the primary research question – participation in the Word Generation program has a significant impact on students’ self-reported civic engagement, but not for voting interest. These results suggest that students’ opportunities to debate on social issues are crucial to envisioning oneself as an active participant in civic affairs.
Funders: This work was supported by Grant Number R305A090555, Word Generation: An Efficacy Trial from the Institute of Educational Sciences, US Department of Education (Catherine Snow, PI). https://ies.ed.gov
Lawrence, J.F. (2015, September). Technology in English. U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The White House, Washington D.C.
Warschauer, M., & Lawrence, J. F. (2014, April). The Learning Analytics of Cloud Based Writing. Google Campus, New York, New York
Lawrence, J.F. (2012, September). Does talk exposure in preschool predict second-language vocabulary at age 10? A longitudinal study of Turkish immigrant children growing up in Norway. 学前教育中的语言接触是否会预测儿童10岁时的第二语言词汇？(Presented in Mandarin). East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.