London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Citizenship education - challenges, possibilities, difficulties

Author(s) Leena Graeffe  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2001  
Editor Alistair Ross Learning for a Democratic Europe  
Language English  
Age group -  
Comments: I work as a lecturer in Social Studies at the University of Helsinki?s Department of Teacher Education, and during my three years as a member of CiCe I have been working as much as possible on the topic of citizenship. This topic is challenging and not easy. CiCe has given me many important contacts and experiences and it has encouraged me to develop and increase my own knowledge of the topic, while at the same time my students and I have developed questions such as ?Are there any limits to what can be considered citizenship education?? One basic question is: are we talking about education about citizenship, education through citizenship, or education for citizenship? And at what level - community/local, national, European, global? How much has it all to do with voting activity and the right (or sometimes even the duty) to vote, what roles do money, rights, duties, responsibilities and qualities play? In my work it is very important to also concentrate on citizenship education at other levels ? the development of ways of thinking; critical awareness; judgement-making skills; debating; problem-solving; the possibilities for and of democratic participation; encouraging students to be honest with themselves; giving relevant, lasting information about knowledge and about the different ways to actually teach citizenship. I think in Social Studies one always has to take care not to be too indoctrinating.

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