The Construction of a Citizenship Model Through the Teaching of History

The Construction of a Citizenship Model Through the Teaching of History

Elisa Navarro-Medina (University of Seville, Spain) and Nicolás De Alba-Fernández (University of Seville, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7110-0.ch022

Abstract

References to education today necessarily encompass the type of citizens we are forming in the classrooms. Curricular proposals, regardless of their educational stage, reiterate that the basic purpose of education is to make people aware of their reality, foster their critical thinking, and ensure they participate in the political, social, and cultural system of which they are part. However, this declaration of intentions, which is widely legislated but rarely subject to empirical verification, is even more evident in certain subjects such as the History of Spain. In order to explore whether the curricular proposals put forward by History are truly educating citizens, the authors interviewed 50 first-year university students representing various areas of knowledge from seven Spanish universities. The results have identified a citizen profile that does not align with the social and civic model described by legislation, which has prompted us to suggest certain improvements pursuant to the purposes of History as a subject taught at school.
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What Kind Of Citizens Would We Like To Shape?

Since the Greek polis, the concept of citizenship has changed and varied according to current political, social, economic and cultural trends. At present, there is a special focus on it, not only as subject of political and philosophical interest, but as a practice that has specific rights and duties. Thus, the public policies of all democratic states, and the regulations governing those policies, reflect the conception and values ​​that guide democratic citizenship, in addition to the rights and duties associated with it.

As such, we are becoming increasingly aware that terms such as citizenship and education for citizenship are not stable and that they do not have a single and fixed definition, since it is the context and its reality that allows us to associate it with one set of ideas or another. In addition, our current global society does not facilitate associating citizenship with simply belonging to a state or to participating in elections; our new social realities connect citizenship with all those actions that in one way or another affect our community’s development and make society and the individuals that comprise it an active part of life and of the transformation of their environment. An example of this is found in the deep-seated crisis that the European Union is currently experiencing, where an education for citizenship that gives stability to the entire project is more necessary than ever; one that ensures its citizens are aware of their role in democratic participation (Pausch, 2016).

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