What might it look like to engage with your pledge at a different level as per Westheimer’s types of citizenship? How could you engage at a justice level?
Personally Responsible Citizen - Currently, this is where my pledge to pick up litter falls; Westheimer (2004) even uses picking up litter as an example of this type of citizen.
Participatory Citizen - To engage in this pledge at this level one could organize a group of people to pick up litter in their community and in other communities. This engages more than just one person in the community, but does not address the problem at hand; it is a community-based effort. Or, as a community, members may attempt to reduce their own waste and hold one another accountable. I think I touched on this level, but I did not go deep enough; within my own community I acknowledged when community efforts were being taken, such as when Balfour Collegiate teachers picked up litter (Week 4), but to truly be this type of citizen I would need to organize and join them in the community.
Justice Oriented Citizen - To engage in this pledge at this level of citizenship, one may consider how society could reduce their garbage/waste because it goes into the landfill anyways, regardless if it is picked up from the street or put in the garbage right away. This requires "[wanting] students to consider collective strategies for change that challenge injustice and, when possible, address root causes of problems" (Westheimer, 2004, p. 5). Here, policies and laws may be changed in regards to garbage waste, composting and/or recycling. I think I touched on this level of society by trying to examine why people litter in the first place, and realizing that there is a bigger problem than littering at hand; society's abundant production of waste in many forms. This could also be done by taking community members to the landfill and seeking information as to how to change society's views, attitudes, and actions. I wonder if in order to become a justice oriented citizen, one will naturally go through the prior levels of citizenship first.
Westheimer, J & Kahne, J. (2004). What Kind of Citizen? The Politics of Educating for Democracy. American Education Research Journal, 41 (2), pg. 237-269.
Retrieved from http://www.democraticdialogue.com/DDpdfs/WhatKindOfCitizenAERJF.pdf