London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

The Attitudes of Adolescents in the Czech Republic towards Contemporary Civic Virtues in Adults and Their Demands for Changes As the Grounds for a New Focus of Civic Education

Author(s) Lašek, J., Loudová, I. & Vacek, P.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2013  
Editor P. Cunningham (ed.) Identities and Citizenship Education: Controversy, crisis and challenges  
Age group -  
The aim of the survey was to find out what attitudes young people aged twelve to seventeen maintain towards adult civic qualities and virtues as compared with their demands for changes in civic behaviour. We focused on the first generation of adolescents born after the ‘Velvet Revolution’ and thus their developing system of values is less likely to be less influenced by the previous ideology and stereotypes as it is in contemporary adults. A questionnaire was used to investigate attitudes and behaviour in various situations of everyday life of 533 adolescent respondents (aged between 12-17). There were four factors generated through factor analysis from the collected results: 1. Respect for traditional social norms and roles; 2. Tolerance and respect for other people’s rights; 3. Patriotism and trust in public institutions; 4. Application of constitutional civic rights. Adolescent respondents were asked to mark the statements which they considered should be changed. The outcome confirmed the hypothesis of high criticality in the respondents, which we consider a significant social challenge: adolescents demand a major change in civic behaviour described by the total of 14 items (42.7%) in all four factors. The highest number of proposed changes falls into the factor of “Respect for traditional social norms and roles”, while the fewest proposed changes concern the factor of “Patriotism and trust in public institutions”. According to the respondents, traditional social norms and roles and tolerance and respect for other people’s rights should be strengthened as well. The attitude towards active civic virtues implies a need for better and more sophisticated civic virtues education, both within the family and in schools. The results obtained from this survey will be used in generating civic education programmes for primary and secondary schools. Keywords: citizenship, civic rights, civic virtues, civic education. Introduction

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