Deborah Rivas-Drake speaks with EducationWeek about the ways in which civic engagement can start in the classroom

October 12, 2021

Developing social and emotional skills at a young age are precursors to voting in adulthood Deborah Rivas-Drake tells EducationWeek.


As older students search for a sense of belonging in the world around them, lessons in civics may be a way to cultivate their social-emotional learning skills, reports EducationWeek. At an age when these students might not connect with traditional social-emotional lessons, civics offers real-world examples that make social-emotional learning concepts immediately relatable.

"... shared ownership of a community is an important thing for children to have,” School of Education professor Deborah Rivas-Drake tells EducationWeek. “That would be one of the reasons teachers might develop class rules together [with their students].”

Rivas-Drake, whose research explores how social-emotional learning can support civic development and capacity in middle schoolers, says that learning to advocate for themselves and their community at school can translate to being empowered members of the community at large.

Featured in this Article

Professor, School of Education; Professor of Psychology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts