PublicationsSystematic reviewsCitizenship education and learning
A systematic review of the impact of citizenship education on student learning and achievement

What do we want to know?

Citizenship education includes three strands: moral and social responsibility, community involvement and political literacy. This review explores the impact of citizenship education on student learning and achievement, and aims to identify the implications for teacher education, policy and practice.

Who wants to know?

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

What did we find?  

Citizenship education can be applied to most areas of the curriculum through the development of learner-centred teaching and meaningful curricula.  Such pedagogy is characterised by a facilitative, conversational approach.  It can improve students' communication skills, academic achievement and higher order cognitive and intellectual development.  It can engage students to think about the meaning of their personal stories and experiences, and lead to a greater participation in lessons. It can create a co-operative learning environment and lead to more positive self-concept.

This approach will require a change from traditional teaching methods and content, and teachers may need support in order to develop the expertise needed.

What are the implications?

  • The findings imply the need for a radical review of the system and structure of schooling to incorporate citizenship education strategies and to reconceptualise pedagogy as learner-centred.
  • Teachers need to be supported, both initially and through CPD, to develop a more holistic, process-oriented pedagogy.
  • A citizenship pedagogy will have as its core, communication, facilitating and enabling, dialogue and discussion, encouragement to engage with learning, and relating learning to experience.  Traditional authoritarian patterns of control are no longer appropriate. 
  • Curricular flexibility is necessary, with more opportunities to develop different groupings of learners in interactive and conversational learning contexts.

How did we get these results?

Thirteen studies were synthesised, which addressed a range of types of citizenship education and learning processes.

This summary was prepared by the EPPI Centre

This report should be cited as: Deakin Crick R, Taylor M, Tew M, Samuel E, Durant K, Ritchie S (2005) A systematic review of the impact of citizenship education on student learning and achievement. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education.

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