Developing a world view of Citizenship Education in Higher Education courses

M. Dooly, R. Foster, D. Misiejuk

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review


    The publication offers guidance on how Higher Education programmes for professionals training to work with children and young people might be developed or adapted to incorporate appropriate elements of global citizenship. Teaching citizenship education is far from homogeneous among the countries of the European Union. This creates a challenge for educators teaching the subject, especially as the concept of citizenship has taken on increasing importance as Europe enlarges and converges. The educators’ role in promoting responsible citizenship is highlighted by the Council of Europe: the social agenda gives the education system a key role in developing responsible citizenship within a democratically based society for young Europeans (CoE, 2004). The relevance of such educational goals is underlined by the impact of globalisation on world citizens. An increasingly ‘interconnected world’ means people coexist in ever-changing societies, in which patterns of relations broaden and diversify continuously. The notion of citizenship now includes the harmonious coexistence of different communities in local, regional, national and international contexts. Against this background the education system is an important medium through which equity, inclusion and social cohesion can be imparted. Social inclusion and active citizenship are among the three strategic goals for European education and training systems adopted by the Council of Europe (CoE, 2001). Arguably, the education system can contribute to promoting social cohesion and active citizenship through informing pupils about what it means to be a citizen. Students need to know the rights and duties entailed in citizenship and to an idea of citizenship of the country in which they live (which might be conceptualised differently in other countries). Despite apparently universal aims, official descriptions of citizenship education in different countries show a wide range of definitions and different objectives. Most aims include the development of political literacy, of attitudes and values integral to responsible citizenship and encouraging active participation in public life. But official documents show some countries focus on particular areas, such as political literacy, while others may target active participation (Eurydice, 2005). Understandably, European guidance on citizenship education has prioritised the European dimension and has given less emphasis to global aspects. The effective teaching of citizenship education depends on the skills, knowledge and commitment of the teacher. Given the diversity of how citizenship education is incorporated into the curriculum, the different ways in which it is shaped as a subject, the varying levels of support for teachers, and the disparate levels and means of training for teachers, it is inevitable that many teachers may find themselves lost in the vast array of approaches, theories, policies and ideas about what they should teach and do. These guidelines outline what teacher trainers should bear in mind when working with student teachers. Both teachers and teacher trainers need to be aware of how their disciplines have an impact on the world, whether or not they are working in the field of citizenship education. Helping young pupils to become responsible global citizens is the role of all educators, no matter what their specialist subject.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-22
    JournalCiCe Guidelines
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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