How should 21st century youth be educated to meet the challenges of work, life and citizenship that will lead to environmental, social and economic sustainability? This is a question many educators have been trying to address for a long time. Although the importance of an education system attempting to address 21st century needs is recognized, it is not clear how to achieve this. This dissertation’s research addressed this issue, asking, “What are the perceptions of a group of alumni from a Grade 10 integrated curriculum program (ES 10) with regard to the effects of the program on their citizenship activities?” A retrospective study utilizing mixed methods determined the long-term effects of ES 10 relating to active citizenship and identified key learning environment program features that alumni believed to be important. Quantitative instruments measured student’s perceptions of their ES 10 learning environment relating various active citizenship components. Qualitative data collection included an open-ended survey and a group interview. The major findings of this study show that alumni believe ES 10 affected their current disposition toward and engagement with citizenship activities, identifying various program elements as having influenced their overall development. Environments where group cohesion is high with regular engagement in student-relevant, hands-on activities and experiences followed by a reflective process were identified as important. Also identified as important in helping students gain skills, beliefs and attitudes that have influenced their adult years were allowing students to have a voice in how the schedule is arranged, what sorts of activities they might choose or how their work may be assessed.
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Thesis advisor: Zandvliet, David
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