ELA Work Citizenship Handout

“Work should embody ideals of dignity, equity and giving workers a voice – some say in how
the workplace is organized. The relationship between work and family life must be recognized.
People also see work as a chance to use their skills, and as a social experience … aspirations that
implicitly express a strong idea of citizenship – being recognized as a valued member of the
workplace community.”
“While strong democracy requires active citizens, active citizens require public spaces in which
to work with others from a mix of backgrounds. The practice of public work — civic
organizing — while often messy and time-consuming, is also effective in reviving the public
missions and practices of the places where we live and work.”
What is the relationship between work and active citizenship?
“Public work is a framework for reinventing an active practice of citizenship. Public work
stresses practical public effort by ordinary people in everyday environments such as
neighborhoods, schools, 4-H clubs, government agencies, nursing homes, religious
congregations, community groups, service organizations, and other settings in helping to create
and build — to "produce" the world around them.”
“Citizenship requires practice. Our skills, concern, and understanding as citizens are constantly
evolving and changing. Citizenship — the ongoing contribution of citizens to solving community
and public problems and creating the world around us — and its skills and values are best
cultivated in everyday community and institutional contexts.”
“A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.”
How does an active citizen/worker assist in the production of “the world around them”?
If you do not hold any type of job now, you may want to ask questions about your
behavior as a student; after all, being a student is your most important "job" right
Ask yourself such things as:
Do I show up on time for my classes?
Is my out-of-class work complete and handed in on time?
Do I take initiative to learn more about the subject matter than is expected of me?
Do I exhibit a positive attitude in class, by listening, and by contributing my own
ideas and opinions when appropriate?
If I were the teacher, would I want to teach a student like me? If I were another
student, would I want to attend class with someone like me?
The most serious mistake a student could probably make is to think, "Well, I'm not the
best student or the best employee right now, but these aren't REAL jobs. When I
graduate and get a REAL job, everything will change."
Positive work behaviors do not magically "appear" at the time when a person starts a
"real job." Like most good things, a positive work ethic develops over time and with
How is your academic career preparing you to be a useful member of society—
one with a significant amount of civic power?