PublicationsSystematic reviewsCitizenship education and schooling
A systematic review of the impact of citizenship education on the provision of schooling

What do we want to know?

The policy framework for citizenship education identifies three broad educational aims: the moral and social development of students, political literacy and community involvement.  The review aims to inform the way in which citizenship education is implemented in schools, particularly in relation to curriculum content, pedagogy, leadership and management, school ethos and community relations.

Who wants to know?

Policy-makers, those involved in teacher education, and practitioners.

What did we find?  

  • The quality of dialogue and discourse is central to learning in citizenship education. Pedagogies need to be: facilitative; conversational; transformative; dialogical; and participatory.
  • Teacher-pupil relationships need to be inclusive and respectful.  Teachers may need to 'let go of control'.  Students should be empowered to voice their views and gain meaning from their life experiences.  Opportunities should be made for them to engage with values issues embedded in all curriculum subjects. 
  • Contextual knowledge can lead to citizenship engagement and action.
  • A coherent whole-school strategy, including a community-owned values framework, is key.  Participative and democratic processes in school leadership require particular attitudes and skills; schools often restrict participation by students in shaping institutional practices while expecting them to adhere to policies.  Strategies for consensual change have to be identified by, and developed in, educational leaders.
  • Teachers need support to develop the appropriate professional skills.

What are the implications?

  • Professional education requires the development of a set of values, a body of knowledge and professional skills appropriate for professional education.
  • Genuine participation in the learning process by teachers and students requires school-based decision making and a policy that encourages diversity rather than uniformity.
  • Citizenship education requires teachers to trust their own professional judgement.
  • Citizenship education should be an intrinsic part of whole-school development planning, and it should be an integral part of the core task of schooling.
  • Citizenship education requires a focus on higher order critical and creative thinking skills and the processes of learning itself, including the quality of relationships and dialogue.  The approach should be learner-centred.

How did we get these results?

Fourteen studies were synthesised; they addressed a range of types of citizenship education and aspects of school provision, as well as a range of curriculum subjects and stages of education.

This summary was prepared by the EPPI Centre

This report should be cited as: Deakin Crick R, Coates M, Taylor M, Ritchie S (2004) A systematic review of the impact of citizenship education on the provision of schooling. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. 

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