Are Teachers Prepared to Educate in Citizenship?: Some Conclusions From Research in Andalusia, Spain

Are Teachers Prepared to Educate in Citizenship?: Some Conclusions From Research in Andalusia, Spain

Francisco F. García-Pérez (University of Seville, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7110-0.ch017

Abstract

Education for active citizenship is a fundamental dimension of education, especially in the context of today's world. This is proclaimed by educational institutions and authorities, and has been incorporated into official curricula. But the reality of school is frequently incoherent with those statements. Indeed, the predominant school culture is a factor that conditions the activity of teachers as educators for citizenship. Research carried out in Andalusia (Spain) shows the difficulties teachers have in incorporating any education for citizenship into their subjects. Likewise, projects and initiatives coming from non-formal education are insufficiently exploited. These investigations also indicate that educational proposals organized around social and environmental problems facilitate the integration of education for citizenship into the school curriculum and the training of teachers as educators of citizens by getting them involved in these innovative experiences.
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Education For Active Citizenship: Political Declaration Or Educational Reality?

Education for citizenship is a fundamental axis of education, especially in the compulsory stages. It was a basic reference point for the great educational currents of the 20th century, and continues to be so in the 21st century having consolidated its presence in the official curricula of most countries. This has been echoed in the official statements made by different international authorities (Eurydice, 2005). International institutions have an evident interest in promoting an education for citizenship that prepares young citizens to become integrated in today's society (Torney-Purta & Barber, 2005; Ross, 2006; Audigier, 2007; Benton et al., 2008; Daly, Schugurensky & Lopes, 2009; UNESCO, 2015; Pausch, 2016; Haeberli, Pagoni & Maulini, 2017).There are various reasons for this. Two examples are the need to face the new and serious problems of our world, and the attempt to counteract the disaffection a large percentage of the population feel about the usual functioning of many of the representative political systems (Guérin, Ploeg & Sins, 2013; Biesta, 2016).

There occurred a key conjuncture during the first decade of this century with such notable actions as the celebration of the “European Year of Citizenship through Education” in 2005 promoted by the Council of Europe,1 the UN proposals related to the “Millennium Development Goals”,2 and the “United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development”.3 The European Union has been particularly interested in this area. For the European Commission, promotion of social cohesion and more active citizen participation in social and political life has become a key issue. Its 2004 communication “Building our common future: Policy challenges and budgetary means of the enlarged Union 2007-2013” identified the development of European citizenship as one of its main priorities. And it later linked the “Europe for Citizens (2007-2013)” action program4 with the objective of fostering citizen participation and strengthening the sense of active citizenship. In this regard, programmes and activities have also been developed, such as those promoted by CiCea (Children's Identity & Citizenship European Association).5 All this has been reflected in the European educational information disseminated through the Eurydice network in its various reports (European Commission, 2005 & 2012), as well as in international reports such as “The International Civic and Citizenship Education Study 2016” (ICCS 2016), from IEA (Schulz, Ainley, Fraillon, Losito, Agrusti & Friedman, 2018).

In this way the use of the term “active citizenship” has become generalized, although sometimes the concept is interpreted in different ways (Geboers, Geijsel, Admiraal & Dam, 2013). Education for a truly “active” citizenship should have as basic components a real participation and commitment with world problems (Hahn, 2001; Dam & Volman, 2004; Delval, 2006; Trilla & Novella, 2011; Pagès & Santisteban, 2010; Bolívar, 2016; Oraisón, 2016; García Pérez, 2016), because such committed participation establishes a link between the knowledge acquired and intervention in society. Education for citizen participation should therefore be incorporated into school programs, integrating both cross-cutting curricular contributions and other relevant contributions coming from non-formal education.

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