Implementing citizenship education in a secondary school community
This thesis uses a case study to investigate the impact on a whole school community of a special focus on citizensbip. It begins by exploring conflicting meanings attributed to citizenship and citizenship education. It goes on to adopt an understanding of citizenship as involving a set of relationships between rights, duties, participation and identity. The discourse about globalisation and the debate as to whether it represents a new reality or a continuation of existing trends is explored. The thesis contends that globalisation. poses important challenges and threats which make citizenship education an urgent necessity in the twenty-first century. It recommends a transformative, creconstructive' approach and explores the extent to which this is feasible in the context of government policies affecting schools and society in England during the period 1999 - 2003. It suggests that there are factors in these policies which promote and factors which hinder an empowering approach to school citizenship. The study uses a framework developed by Wenger (2001) to analyse the school as a community of practice for citizenship. It draws on his idea that communities of practice are characterised by the way they manifest: 1) Meaning 2) Practice 3) Community: 4) Identity The analysis draws on school documents, surveys of student opinion and interviews with students and teachers. Over 100 students' written responses to questions about 'making a difference'were also analysed. For purposes of triangulation, the study also takes account of observations and comments in reports made by inspectors who visited the school twice during the time of the project. The study found that students had begun to see citizenship education as being useful from a global and multicultural perspective, a local perspective, as democratic representation,as participative learning, for developing economic awareness and for challenging racism. In addition, the project had shown its potential to transform relationships within the school so that it was beginning to become a community of practice for citizenship. Significantly, it had affected the young people's sense of identity and promoted their notion of agency.