Model citizens in the making
The research, funded by the Scottish Executive Education Department, has been designed to investigate awareness of the citizenship agenda, and its application, among teachers currently in their induction year across a range of local authority areas.
Preliminary findings suggest that many of the probationer teachers in the sample have at best only a limited awareness and understanding of the citizenship agenda, with significant variation based on factors such as the initial teacher education institution attended.
A full report will be published later in the year.
The research is intended to provide an analysis that can inform the unit's ongoing development of professional development opportunities relating to education for citizenship, from standalone day courses for beginners and school managers, to tailored packages for schools, authorities or ad hoc clusters of authorities. A Masters module in citizenship, linked to the Chartered Teacher MEd at the University of Glasgow, will soon be available online.
Education for citizenship is at the heart of both the national priorities in education and the Scottish Executive's Curriculum for Excellence.
National priority 4 requires teachers "to work with parents to teach pupils respect for themselves and one another and their interdependence with other members of their neighbourhood and society and to teach them the duties and responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society".
In contrast to England, where citizenship is a single subject, Scotland has adopted a whole-school, cross-curricular approach. Yet it remains unclear whether the majority of teachers are sufficiently aware of the key policy and practice recommendations, and how they can be applied.
Anecdotal evidence and case study reports suggest that while there are many examples of outstanding practice in relation to citizenship, driven by committed and enthusiastic teachers at local level, a large number of teachers have little familiarity with the relevant policy documents and recommendations.
A number of providers are developing and delivering CPD courses to address this gap, including initial teacher education providers, local authority staff development services and, interestingly, non-government organisations which are able to provide challenging perspectives for professional development based on years of global education expertise.
Alan Britton is the Stevenson lecturer in citizenship and CPD co-ordinator at the University of Glasgow Faculty of Educationwww.gla.ac.ukfacultieseducationindex.shtml