London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Primary School Children’s Views of Cooperation and Competition in England, Slovenia and Hungary: comparisons by country and by gender

Author(s) Sarah Smart, Barbara Read, Alistair Ross  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2005  
Editor A. Ross, Teaching Citizenship  
Language English  
Age group -  
Throughout Europe there have been movements towards a more formalised education for citizenship, and discussion of what should be included in the citizenship curriculum, where in the curriculum it should be delivered and by whom (e.g. Roland-Levy and Ross 2003). However, there is recognition that the development of identity as a citizen is not just influenced by the formal curriculum. The ways in which things are done in school and the pedagogical practices of teachers convey messages about citizenship. For example, Ward and Rzoska (1994) refer to the ‘implicit curriculum’, which they define as the values, assumptions and principles underlying traditional educational techniques, and which have implications and consequences for student’s cognitive and social development. Significantly for citizenship education they believe that (among other things) the implicit curriculum influences the way pupils interact with each other. Competition and cooperation can both be used pedagogically in the classroom, and both represent values and skills regarded by some as important for citizenship. There is evidence that individuals in different countries perceive, evaluate and describe competition differently (for example students in Hungary, America and Japan, Fulop 1999). Fulop (2003) shows that there are differences between Hungarian teachers in the way that they construct competition, but that the distribution of these ideas in the student population is very different in Hungary when compared to Japan. This study compares the experiences and opinions of both competition and cooperation amongst pupils in three European countries: Hungary, Slovenia and the UK.

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