The Public Self: Taking a New Look at Civic Education.Report as inadecuate

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This paper draws upon research and acquaints the reader with various aspects of the public self--the self interested in political and social issues. The document describes a study of how the public self was discovered. The data produced by this study resulted in the conclusion that to some degree all people have a public self. Most recognize there is a private self, but some do not seem to understand there is also a public self. Both states of being, public and private, seek expression in a location, at a time, and in activities that are distinctly different from each other. Through extensive interviews, examination of students' writings, and follow-up discussion with the students, the study gathered data from 20 students in the sixth-grade of two public schools in California. The study indicated that students in late elementary and middle school were already competently constructing public selves. Using student examples, the paper discusses defining the public self, where the public self has been, the public self in action, the public self related to political experience, speaking and acting, figuring the costs, the possibilities of the public self, and connecting gang activity to public self. The paper concludes that the public self requires understanding, nurturing, and support. The research study is appended. (Contains 16 references.) (EH)

Descriptors: Citizen Participation, Citizenship, Citizenship Responsibility, Grade 6, Public Schools, Qualitative Research, Social Responsibility

Author: Rettinger, Virginia S.


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