London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Citizenship as active participatory learning in the teaching of Geography

Author(s) Kolnik, K.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2011  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Europe's Future: Citizenship in a Changing World  
Age group -  
Sustainable development is economically, socially and ecologically friendly local and global development. It is based on co-responsible behaviour of each and every one. Active participatory learning and active citizenship are common concepts in current educational discourse in sustainable living. Constructivist approaches require the learner's involvement in knowledge construction. Educational content (in our case geography content is integrated with citizenship and sustainable development content) is no longer primary here. Instead, developing the abilities and mental-cognitive processes of the students and transmissibility of knowledge between various areas of learning and life are at the forefront. The article presents active learning which should be planned as creative and problem-based. Active learning should be focused on such educational goals that will challenge students’ mental processes and stimulate their awareness of their rights and also their responsibility for the future. An example of active learning is presenting through role play in a geography student seminar work where students (future geography teachers) tried to find an answer to a research question as a teaching goal: How to teach about sustainable development and stimulate pupils for active citizenship? Students worked in small groups and prepared a couple of different ideas for project work on the subjects of common sustainable development problems to stimulate a socially responsible citizenship through geography teaching. They discovered through their own experience that geography teaching can substantially contribute to develop citizen competences and civic culture and that it is crucial that all school teachers are aware that they can and must co-create their pupils civic role as a role for better life through participatory learning. Keywords: active learning; teaching; geography; citizenship; sustainable development.

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   Page last updated 09 March 2011