During the past 20 years, the United States has emphasized the importance of encouraging young people to become active in shaping their communities. Schools have become a cornerstone for this effort because communities are trying to reduce social problems. Today, from kindergarten through higher education, schools are providing opportunities that enable their students to gain the competencies and experience needed to become effective, civically engaged citizens. Since Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) classes inherently combine education, family, and community, instructors of these courses are in perhaps the strongest position to integrate classroom knowledge and citizenship development with community-based experiences.
In this section, we examine a number of FCS factors that are critical to successfully achieving these various missions. These include emphasizing civic engagement, understanding the importance of character education, the benefits and effectiveness of sound social-emotional learning, and what insight can be gleaned from the latest trends in global education. We will also address a number of proven teaching strategies that have demonstrated success for FCS educators seeking to broaden their students' learning experiences.