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Bauml Engaging Young Citizens

Associate Professor Michelle Bauml will present findings from her research on civics education at the College and University Faculty assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies on Nov. 16. She will present “Preparing our Youth to Be Active and Informed Citizens in Tumultuous Times” with Baylor University professors Brooke Blevins and Karon LeCompte in San Francisco.

Their research is based on surveys and data collected from the iEngage Summer Civics Institute, a five-day camp for 6th-9th graders. In 2015, Bauml and the Baylor professors wrote a joint grant to the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation to renew the Baylor camp and bring it to TCU. Bauml and Assistant Professor Brandy Quinn looked at data from the first TCU iEngage camp to determine what activities affected children’s knowledge and influences their attitudes about taking civic action.

“In civics education, middle school students are not always as targeted as high school students who will become voters soon,” Bauml said. “Research tells us there’s a need to study more about young adolescents and their developing civic mindset and civic purpose.”

The camp focuses on a model of inquiry called action civics, an educational approach where children identify a problem they care about, do research and reflect on solutions. During the iEngage camp, students listen to guest speakers from non-profits and community organizations, then break into small groups of students, led by TCU students serving as camp counselors. The students choose a topic to discuss, research and create a video and website. The students also play digital iCivics games and visit Mayor Betsy Price at Fort Worth City Hall.

“We’re interested to see how this action civics model plays out in a non-school environment,” Bauml said.

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