Teaching citizenship education may benefit students' all-round ability to learn
The teaching approach used in citizenship education helps pupils' personal development as Learners and may also improve their academic achievement, a review of the available research has concluded.
The new review builds on the findings of the groups' first review that investigated the construction of the citizenship education curriculum and it relationships to other broader aspects of the school environment.
The research team, led by Dr Ruth Deakin Crick of the University of Bristol, says the learner-centred approach used in citizenship education, characterised by dialogue and discussion and a co-operative relationship between teacher and pupil, should be used throughout the school system.
The approach can improve pupils' communication skills and make them more self-confident and self-reliant, says the study. It can produce an atmosphere of trust and safety in the classroom, 'where teachers let go of control and listen to the student voice'.
But it can also enhance their intellectual development. The relevance of lesson content to pupils' own lives can lead to significant improvements in their ability to move from concrete examples to abstract thought.
The study, funded by the Department for Education and Skills as part of the programme of research reviews based at London University's Institute of Education, follows the introduction of citizenship education as a statutory curriculum subject in England in 2002.
The researchers identified 68 reports as potentially relevant to the study but only 13 were suitable for their in-depth review.
Most of these were small and most were conducted in the United States. The two carried out in England pre-dated the introduction of the citizenship education curriculum in 2002. But the findings were consistent enough to give the review's evidence 'strength and pertinence', say the researchers.
For more information about the content of this review please contact:
Dr Ruth Deakin Crick
University of Bristol
Graduate School of Education
35 Berkeley Square
Bristol BS8 1JA
Tel: 0117 928 7129
For more information about the EPPI Centre's systematic review programmes please contact:
Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Coordinating Centre (EPPI Centre)
Social Science Research Unit (SSRU)
Institute of Education, University of London
18 Woburn Square
Tel: +44 (0) 207 612 6812
Notes to editors
The EPPI Centre is part of the Social Science Research Unit at the Institute of Education, University of London. Professor Ann Oakley is the Founding Director of the Centre and Professor David Gough the Executive Director. Since its inception in 1993, it has been at the forefront in developing systematic reviews of social science and public policy research. These reviews have wide-reaching consequences in encouraging professionals, policy-makers and others to take advantage of the best available evidence on particular topics.
Education and health promotion and public health are the two main streams of the Centre's work. Reviews are undertaken in-house or by groups which the Centre supports. Another important activity of the Centre is providing training in how to carry out systematic reviews.