Reflections on Teaching Citizenship
Enrolling on this course will allow me to gain accreditation for a subject that I feel enthusiastic and passionate. Our student group is quite diverse and there are opportunities to listen to others in context to how they teach citizenship. Meeting other individuals, who are in a similar position to my self will be rewarding and provides us with an ideal opportunity to benefit collectively from each other’s experiences, good and bad. In addition to this, I hope to be able to “net work” from the group on a reciprocal basis to further my career, and hopefully, cement some of the contacts into friendships and consequently creating a network of resources.
Before qualifying as a teacher, my background is far removed from classroom teaching and I am able to draw from a variety of life’s experience gained both in the UK and abroad that is steeped in citizenship. What drew me back into teaching in 2000 was that lack of teaching in ‘Life skills’ and what was expected from individuals in a societal context. This quickly developed into adopting the idea of citizenship and the similarity with life skills. Another aspect was the impending Citizenship test for immigrants wishing to become UK Nationals, originated by the New Labour Party and what it meant to society. Apart from trying to break down barriers that prevented communities accessing education, other issues were also being increasingly brought to the political arena especially that of socio economic challenged families living in poverty in which many did not feel being part of a citizenship focused community. In an article by Sinclair et al, 2010, they emphasise the aspirations and education of young people that were determined to be apart of today’s Citizenship movement that was conducted in a deprived community in Glasgow. Each political party is conscious of educational development and attempt to redress this as a means to improving socio-economic conditions in deprived communities. This idealism is what Crick, 1998, determined as being the basis of Citizenship in which Politics and Democracy was accessible to all.
“We aim at no less than a change in the political culture of this country both nationally and locally: for people to think of themselves as active citizens, willing, able, and equipped to have an influence in public life” The Crick Report, 1998.
Within this philophosy, Huddleston & Keer 2006 refers to Citizenship as being a whole school opportunity and goes beyond activities in the classroom. The New Labour Party introduced a ‘plethora of policy developments affecting young people’ since it assumed office, Bynnyer and Londra, 2004, and introduced initiatives to correct underachievement in preparation for the labour market, Philips and Harper Jones, 2003. There is also a reference to young people who are not in education, employment or training, (NEET), and that this particular group is considered by society to be an underclass of society or deviant in their behaviour, Winnet, 2005, and that in contra are socially excluded and denied opportunities, Dean, 1997. Consequently it is within these groups that Citizenship can give optimism to future lives and one which can contribute to the world of Politics and Democracy. Therefore, according to Wrigley, 2006, there are necessities that work and vocational opportunities are available to young people starting out in the world and that a good education, Citizenship, is delivered to understand the causes of poverty and how this can be challenged democratically. ‘Employability’ is itself a citizenship issue. For example, young people can debate the extent to which the difficulty of finding work is the responsibility of the individual or the government (QIA, 2008, p2). Furthermore, CE can also address the issue of what constitutes ‘good work’, an increasing concern of some trade unions. As Keep and Mayhew, 1998, point out, much employment in the UK is repetitive and dull:...
References: Burton, D. (1997) Ethnicity and occupational welfare: a study of pension scheme membership in Britain. Work, Employment & Society, 11(3), 505–18
Crick, B. 1998, cited in, Huddelstone, T and Kerr, D, 2006, Making Sense of Citizenship, A continuing professional development handbook, The Citizen Foundation, Hodder Murray, London.
DfES, 2005, Citizenship in your school: an update for school governors; cited in, Huddelstone, T and Kerr, D, 2006, Making Sense of Citizenship, A continuing professional development handbook, The Citizen Foundation, Hodder Murray, London.
Huddelstone, T and Kerr, D, 2006, Making Sense of Citizenship, A continuing professional development handbook, The Citizen Foundation, Hodder Murray, London
Ginn, J. and Arber, S. (1993) Penalties: the gendered division of occupational welfare. Work, Employment & Society, 7(1), 47–70.
Keep, E and Mayhew, K
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) (1998) The Final Report of the Advisory Group on Citizenship: Citizenship, Education for Citizenship and the Teaching of Democracy in Schools, London: QCA.
Sinclair. S, McKendrick. J. H. and Scott. 2010 Education, Citizenship and Social Justice Failing young people? Education and aspirations in a deprived community, http://esj.sagepub.com/content/5/1/5, accessed 26th July 2010.
Worth, S. (2005) Beating the ‘churning’ trap in the youth labour market. Work, Employment & Society, 19(2), 403–13.
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