Teachers and parents invited to debate ‘education for citizenship’

Teachers, parents and researchers will come together later this month to debate the teaching of citizenship in Scotland’s new school curriculum.

The public forum will be held on Friday 22 March at the University of Aberdeen, and will feature presentations by experts in the field, including experiences in other countries. Much of the day will be set aside for engaging with teachers and others interested in shaping the future direction of education for citizenship in Scotland.

The forum is being hosted by the University of Aberdeen’s Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law (CISRUL) with the generous support of the Gordon Cook Foundation, and involving the Montgomery Development Education Centre. CISRUL is known for its pioneering work in rethinking the concepts of citizenship, civil society and rule of law, and the aim of this project is to improve the delivery of education for citizenship and develop curriculum materials, working closely with schoolteachers, NGOs, and local and national government.

The forum organiser is Dr Trevor Stack, Director of CISRUL. He said: “Citizenship has been seen in recent years as a remedy for ills as diverse as social and economic inequality, terrorism, fundamentalism, antisocial behaviour and the crisis of representation. When we look at developing skills, ‘citizenship education’ can mean several different things and serve several different ends. We want to distinguish and decide among those meanings and ends, before we develop plans for curriculum materials.”

Schools across Scotland are preparing themselves for the challenges of the new Curriculum for Excellence. One of the key themes of the Curriculum is Citizenship. While in England pupils are taught Citizenship as a separate subject, the Scottish Government has decided to embed citizenship in all areas of the curriculum. Teachers in all subjects are expected to gear their lessons toward producing ‘responsible citizens’, while beyond the local and national, pupils are to aspire to ‘global citizenship’. However, despite some impressive results, there is still a lack of clarity about what teachers are being expected to deliver,

Places are still available for the event, and there is no charge for attending. Those interested should email Tracey Connon at t.connon@abdn.ac.uk