Citizenship

8th June 2001 at 01:00
INTRODUCING CITIZENSHIP. Aamp;C Black with The Citizenship Foundation. pound;14.99 with 60-minute video. TES pound;13.99. THINKERS SERIES: The Sand Tray. William and the Guinea Pig. Joe's Car. The Scary Video. Aamp;C Black. pound;3.99 each. 10 copies pound;35 through TES Direct.

Introducing Citizenship will be a boon for teachers trying to help another generation to understand justice, know their rights and take on responsibilities.

This straightforward teacher's handbook rattles through the theories and framework underpinning citizenship. Don Rowe, the principal author, clearly defines the holy trinity of learning for citizenship: doing, feeling and thinking. He links core social values and moral issues, language activity and the wider experience on offer in schools, providing ideas for literacy hour, for school council, circle and golden time sessions, drama, news and current affairs.

Open questioning emphasises the importance of adult listening skills in working with children. Auditing, teaching and learning strategies and styles to support citizenship are illustrated through the project's involvement of good practitioners in print and on film. The video, which comes free with the book, is ideal for Inset work.

Thinkers is thecompanion quartet of stories, which provide a platform for discussing issues of families, friendship, fairness, and the troubles that go with being in charge of anything. All four are crackers of experience with echoes for a child of any age from four to four-score.

The Sand Tray is a salutary tale of failure to share, which in turn spreads a gritty sort of grumpiness around the classroom. William and the Guinea Pig describes the bittersweet experiences of animal healthcare. I can remember cutting our GP free from the school watering can while infant anaesthetists commented on the surgeon's trembling hands.

The Scary Video is a sitcom about the dilemma of trying to be grown-up, but feeling safer when adults are in charge. These books work well because the writers blend recognition with open-endings. Joe's Car is a familiar tale of finders keepers, but avoids tying up all the loose ends glibly. A realistic chain of events with familiar consequences draws out the fundamental nature of honesty.

Each book includes a score of questions to share when mulling over the bigger question: what kind of society do we believe in?

Jon O'Connor is head of Parkside community primary school, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire


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