Paths to 21st Century Competencies Through Civic EducationClassrooms


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Research conducted by Judith Torney-Purta, Ph.D. and Britt S.
Wilkenfeld, Ph.D. report that civic education, especially when it
is interactive and involves discussion of current issues, is an
important way to develop the skills that young Americans need to
succeed in the 21st Century workforce. Students who experience
interactive discussion-based civic education (either by itself or
in combination with lecture-based civic education) score the
highest on “21st Century
Competencies,” including working with others
(especially in diverse groups) and knowledge of economic and
political processes. Students who experience neither interactive
nor lecture-based civic education have the lowest scores on all of
the 21st Century competencies examined. This group, which comprises
about one-quarter of all American students, shows not only low
levels of knowledge but also a relatively low level of willingness
to obey the law.

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