Educating Citizens: A Cross-Cultural Conversation
Keywords:social studies, citizenship, cross-cultural
This paper explores pre-service teachers’ beliefs about citizenship across two nations, the United States and Singapore, and the nature of their conversation about those beliefs. Data is based on a Black Board-based threaded dialog, over two different semesters, between pre-service social studies teachers in the two countries. The discussions focused on the meanings each group held about the concept of an effective citizen. Data was analyzed around themes of knowledge, skills and values. Within these broad categories, we found that several dominant themes emerged across both groups and both years. The conversations provided some insight into the similarities and differences in conceptions of citizenship held by these two groups of preservice teachers. However, while American and Singaporean preservice teachers held similar views of the “good” citizen, they expressed and explained these within the contexts of their particular cultural experiences. While many similarities were evident, there were also clear differences which the facilitators attributed to differences in disciplinary grounding and cultural contexts.