|Author(s)||Marie Clarke and Maureen Killeavy|
|Editor||Alistair Ross, Curricula for Citizenship in Europe|
This paper reports on an investigation into the processes of teacher-child interaction in social learning, with particular regard to both participative democratic practices in classroom organisation and within course content and instruction. Such learning experiences, it is suggested, act to form a basis for students' subsequent involvement in active citizenship in a democratic society internationally, nationally and within the community. The study focuses on pupils' social learning in the classroom context in reaction to classroom organisation, the instructional methodology employed and the course content as reflected in the Civic Social and Personal Education (CSPE) Programme. This programme of Civic Social and Personal Education was introduced throughout the Irish education system in post-primary Schools in 1997. The programme aims to make pupils aware of the civic, social and political dimensions of their lives and the importance of active, participative citizens to the life of the state and all its people. This programme takes the place of the former Civics Programme in schools. Patterns of interaction associated with each of the three areas under investigation (the classroom climate, instructional methodology and course content) are identified using a specifically adapted version of the Flanders Interaction Categories. These were devised on the basis of a pilot study with teachers and students. Salient issues are discussed, critical results are reported and suggestions for further investigation are presented.