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This assignment will discuss issues around citizenship education and how the values are mediated through policy, social experiences and reflected in educational praxis. Other debates which will be included in the essay are as follows: definitions of CE, history behind citizenship education, why this was this introduced in schools, teacher perspective on citizenship education and the purpose of this subject. Another perspective will be what children will learn from studying citizenship education in schools and how the teacher can effectively teach citizenship in schools.
There are number of definitions of Citizenship Education which include: the Crick Report (1998, p.9) 'citizenship has meant involvement in public affairs by those who had the rights of citizens: to take part in public debate and, directly or indirectly, in shaping the laws and decisions of a state'. Another definition of citizenship is: Collins (2008 p.1) 'citizenship education is about helping young people to understand their rights and responsibilities, to understand how society works, and to play an active role in society'. A different definition of citizenship education Skelton, Francis and Smulyan (2006 p.286-287) 'tends to mean that school students are taught about representative democracy and parliamentary politics'. From these definitions it can be seen that the main areas that are involved in citizenship education are politics and the person's role in society. On the other hand citizenship takes on more political point of view and it is more debate based. Citizenship education is also to do with learning to participate, uphold the law, put others before your self, to meet your responsibilities. Engage in political action, act morally and respect all in a pluralist society.
However, in 1964 the Association for Teaching the Social Sciences (ATSS) was founded at the Institute of Education, University of London, which was to promote social science teaching in schools. The subjects included in this were sociology, economics and political science. During this time Bernard Crick was interested in discussing ways of getting politics in secondary schools and the benefits of this for the pupils. Cairns, Gardner and Lawton (2004 p.11) have looked at this further 'At some stage all young people . . . should gain some awareness of what politics is about'. Crick later became active in a curriculum project financed by the Hansard Society called the Programme for Political Literacy that produced a report: 'Political Education and Political Literacy' (Hansard, 1978)'. Due to a change in government at that time prevented this report from being published otherwise UK could have seen citizenship education in the curriculum. Cairns, Gardner and Lawton (2004 p.11) state: 'unfortunately, the change of government in 1979 prevented any immediate action: most Conservatives were then suspicious of political education - 'citizenship education' might have been more acceptable'. Significantly in the 1990's there was a concern over lack of interest towards politics by the youth, so the government had to intervene and do something to solve this problem. As a result the government introduced citizenship education to give children more awareness of political activities, as some statistical information, showed reasons why first time voters, do not vote during elections. The Crick report (1998, p.15) stated: 'A MORI survey for the News of the World in March 1997 on first-time voters found that 28 per cent said they would not vote or were unlikely to, 55 per cent said that they were not interested or could not be bothered, 17 per cent said that it would not make any difference, and 10 per cent said they did not trust any politicians'. I agree with this statement because some people today do not vote during elections. So if the children are taught the importance of politics and voting during elections, they may get a better understanding through citizenship.
Primarily the Crick Report which was introduced in 1998 to outline the rationale and essential aims of education for citizenship. The Crick Report (1998, p.13) states that it is a "vital and distinct statutory part of the curriculum, an entitlement for all pupils in its own right...Citizenship education can be enhanced by and make significant contributions to - as well as draw upon - other subjects and aspects of the curriculum." In the Crick Report (1998) there is only a brief mention of RE and how it can be used to explore moral and social concerns. Alternatively there has been some criticism on the Crick Report this has been examined by Faulks (2006, p.60) who suggests that 'The main weaknesses of the Crick Report can be understood in terms of its abstract conception of citizenship. The Crick Report fails, in particular, to give due consideration to the institutional and social structures that form the context of citizenship and which, if ignored, must necessarily limit the effective delivery of an inclusive citizenship education'. I agree with this statement because schools find it difficult to teach this lesson effectively due to lack guidance. But on the other hand there is guidance for teachers on teaching citizenship education such as the national curriculum. However during a conference there were suggestions of other importance of citizenship according to Rooney (2007) it can help stop family breakdowns, make communities stronger also underpin social cohesion. This is vital because there will be less violence on the streets, there will be more respect for other cultures also more people will be happier. This can be linked to Freire idea on dialogue which he suggests involves respect and working with one another. He believes this is important because it will develop community and build social capital.
Since August 2002 in primary schools, citizenship education, is non statutory but it is still taught. However for secondary schools citizenship education is statutory for Key Stages 3 and 4. Citizenship is a separate subject to PSHE (Personal, Social, Health & Education) but this is a small part of citizenship. It also has its own subject content of study, further more citizenship can be chosen as a GCSE short course. In September 2009 citizenship became a full GCSE and A level. Assessment in citizenship should focus on the progress of children's development of skills and knowledge and understanding of the subject. QCA also known as Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (2001, p.16) states 'Assessment in citizenship should be active and participatory, addressing progress in pupils 'development of skills and action as well as knowledge and understanding'. In fact from studying citizenship children will learn about rights, responsibilities, government, democracy, diverse nature of society.
Furthermore the purpose of citizenship education in schools is vital because, the children can learn about politics, rights the children are entitled to such as the right to education and how to be a good citizen in society. The Crick Report (1998, p.40) examined the benefits of citizenship education 'in schools and colleges is to make secure and to increase the knowledge, skills and values relevant to the nature and practices of participative democracy'. Another benefit of citizenship is to enhance awareness of rights and duties also the responsibilities needed for children to be active citizens. This will give value to the child, schools and society of involvement in the local and wider community. There are three main strands of study in citizenship suggested by Crick in his Crick Report are as follows: firstly Social and moral responsibility - which is to do with children learning form the very beginning, self-confidence and socially and morally responsible for their behaviour both in and beyond the classroom, both towards those in authority and towards each other (this is an essential pre-condition for citizenship). Secondly community involvement -which involves children learning about and becoming helpfully involved in the life and concerns of their communities, including learning through community involvement and service to the community. Thirdly it will teach children on political literacy - this is when the child is learning about and how to make themselves effective in public life through knowledge, skills and values. Other ideas on citizenship Kiwan (2008 p.41) states 'citizenship education should address the understanding of morality cutting across the public / private sphere distinction'. Citizenship education is important in schools because it helps children value participation and in encouraging pupils to become more involved in a range of issues. So teachers must not simply tell students to vote but get the children to debate on issues.
Most importantly citizenship education in the national curriculum gives pupils the knowledge, understanding and skills to enable them to participate in society as active citizens of a democracy. This is also enables children to be informed, critical and responsible and to be aware of their duties and rights. Citizenship education provides a framework which promotes the social, moral and cultural development of pupils enabling them to become more self-confident and responsible in and beyond the classroom. Citizenship education encourages students to become helpfully involved in the life of their schools, neighbourhoods, communities and the wider world. Citizenship education promotes children's political and economic literacy through learning about the economy and the democratic institutions. Citizenship helps students to gain a disposition for reflective discussion.
There are several ways of teaching Citizenship depending on the school: it can be taught as a cross curricular activity, suspended timetable days, tutor or tutorial times, discrete lessons or a combination of all. Examples of activities the teacher can do with children during citizenship lessons include: debates on current issues such as moral and social issues, or a selection of newspaper articles can be examined. Regarding 'people who can help us', an activity where the children can draw a picture of them selves and brainstorm writing around people who help them. Another example of an activity is the trade game, this is where children represent different members of the community for example factory worker and bosses and so forth then you will be given a budget and you will need to find ways of allocating the money. Another example can be a discussion on the political election this can be done by the teacher explaining how local and national elections take place, explain the democracy in this country then the children choose three or more individuals to represent the main political parties then these children can do a speech for the class which will develop the children's self confidence.
Furthermore the teaching of citizenship is improving, and there are now better opportunities for training, but in around 25% of schools inspected in 2005/06 the provision was found to be inadequate. This percentage has reduced to 10% when inspected. Many schools had not yet implemented full programme of citizenship across key stages 3 and 4, and that misconceptions remain about what should be included in citizenship education (Ofsted 2005-2006). Other aspects to consider are the resources are available for teaching citizenship education, schools have been given the resources but they do not always use them very well. As Ofsted (2006, p.37) states: 'citizenship has good resources in abundance, but often they are not used'. Ofsted found that Primary schools were judged as very strong with 21 out of 23 schools getting good or outstanding. Even though citizenship is non statutory in primary schools they still teach it well.
This section will discuss the arguments for citizenship education including: the fact that the children can gain knowledge of how to be good citizens in society. The other plus side of the debate can be increased awareness of the local community; greater tolerance; and a contribution to children's ability to make decisions. Whereas the arguments against citizenship education are that: it will be extra work for the school and staff to plan for the subject. Also some teachers do not have enough knowledge in this area to deliver to children. So they will need to be trained to develop their skills on citizenship. There will be debates on implementation of citizenship education, how you are going to teach citizenship because, the curriculum is overloaded and other subjects may be dropped to make time for this lesson. The main debate surrounding this will be who is going to teach the subject in schools. Ofsted (2010 p.18-19) suggests that the weaknesses in citizenship education include 'weakness in teacher subject knowledge; poor planning, misunderstanding about the place of citizenship in the curriculum'. Another weakness found in the report is: 'weak subject knowledge; use of inappropriate teaching methods'. Another factor that affects citizenship education was the 'lack of understanding and confidence to teach citizenship'.
But will citizenship education stay in the curriculum because there is a lot of speculation around this agenda. According to Richardson (2010) 'The Association for Citizenship Teaching says it understands the subject will be made non-statutory in the coming curriculum shake-up'. Also in the white paper 'the importance of teaching' there is no mention of citizenship education in this document but they do discuss PSHE it this document. So from this the future of citizenship education looks bleak unless people campaign to save this from happening. In my opinion I think that citizenship should and should not be part of the curriculum because it is the only subject that educates children about politics. On the other hand this subject should not be in the curriculum because children find this subject boring and they just mess around in these lessons. If this happens it will make UK the least political literate.
This section will discuss the views of those teaching religious education are: that adding another lesson such as citizenship in the curriculum, will give less time for religious education to be taught to students. Broadbent and Brown (2002 p.174) 'concerns expressed by teachers of religious education that the inclusion of discrete lessons of PSHE and citizenship education might severely encroach upon curriculum time hitherto allotted to RE'. In contrast to this debate Citizenship education will not affect the status of religious education in the curriculum. Blunkett states 'religious education's position in the curriculum will remain unchanged (Watson 2004, p.260). The other side of the debate could be getting rid of religious education. Watson. (2004, p.260) recommends the replacement of religious education with citizenship education in state schools. However the views of those teaching citizenship in schools are that it is important for children to understand and respect themselves and others. Trusting others and having high self confidence when in discussion and debating with one another is important. However some are worried it could turn into a civic lesson. Some teachers wanted citizenship to replace religious education because we can teach these values in citizenship of being of good citizen in society.
My experience of citizenship in schools was not very good because we did not learn about this subject but we did study PSHE which was during tutorials. Throughout this period we carried out activities such as worksheets on drugs and sex education. We did not learn about political aspects or how to be good citizens in this lesson and we did not have debates on issues. I have also enclosed a school timetable on how citizenship education is included in the curriculum. From looking at the timetable they teach citizenship as an individual subject, which is taught every week for one hour. When I asked some pupils what they thought of citizenship nearly all the pupils I asked said that it is boring and the only thing the class did was misbehave and mess about in this lesson. Rutter (2002, p.76) suggests that 'pupil motivation towards citizenship education is poor'. They also told me that the teacher did not care that children were misbehaving in class. The reason for this could be that the teacher whom was teaching this lecture was not a specialist teacher in this field but I found that she was a science teacher asked to teach this lesson. According to Rutter most schools citizenship education id taught by non specialist whom have no experience in teaching social sciences.
In conclusion citizenship will teach the political side of the view point and about society. Since Watson (2004, p.267) argues that 'citizenship education while educating for citizenship in its own right by developing understanding of our society and particular contributions religious debate can make to the development of the active citizen'. Citizenship education has a number of weaknesses as discussed in this assignment previously. But the main ones are that there are few specialist teachers which lead the school to ask non specialist teachers to teach this lesson and these teachers lack knowledge in this area.