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Welcome to the Best Practices section of the Maine Citizenship Education Task Force Website!
Maine has a long-standing focus of citizenship education. This emphasis is evident in Guiding Principle #4 of the Maine Learning Results, which states that Maine students must leave school as “responsible and involved citizens.”
Students require more than lessons about American history and government to become responsible and involved citizens, however. They must practice and master the skills that underpin the other Guiding Principles. These principles state that students must become: 1) clear and effective communicators, 2) self-directed and life-long learners, 3) creative and practical problem solvers, 5) collaborative and quality workers, and 6) integrative and informed thinkers.
Quality citizenship education develops those skills through interactive teaching strategies that challenge students intellectually and provide them with opportunities to practice critical thinking, effective communication, problem-solving and working collaboratively with other. Quality citizenship education also promotes many of the Core Principles of Promising Futures, the 1998 call to action for Maine’s secondary school, particularly Core Principal #2: High universal expectations with a variety of learning opportunities.
In addition to implementing nationally recognized civic education programs, such as We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution, Project Citizen, and mock trial competitions, Maine has been at the forefront of developing innovative models. For example, the Civil Rights Team Project, coordinated by the Maine Attorney General’s office, has been highly successful at educating students about civil rights and making schools safe for minority students. The Law and Ethics class at Hampden Academy, profiled on the American Bar Association’s Public Education website, not only sets a high standard in terms of course content, but also serves as a model for the use of technology and public resources. Likewise, the KIDS as Planners Model of Service-Learning, from Lewiston-based KIDS Consortium, has received national recognition for its curriculum and community-oriented program.
According to the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, there are six “promising approaches” to civic education. The grid below, organized according to grade level and approach, lists programs currently implemented in Maine that are demonstrably effective in promoting citizenship. Links to the program provide information on content, special features, required and available resources, evaluation studies, professional development opportunities and contact information.
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