Learning Citizenship: Practical Teaching Strategies for Secondary Schools

Learning Citizenship: Practical Teaching Strategies for Secondary Schools

Learning Citizenship: Practical Teaching Strategies for Secondary Schools

Learning Citizenship: Practical Teaching Strategies for Secondary Schools


The Citizenship curriculum aims to help young people to participate more fully in society through the development of a range of relevant skills and knowledge. This book shows how a variety of teaching strategies can be used to teach citizenship skills across a range of curriculum subjects as well as in Citizenship lessons themselves. Topics covered include: * developing discussion * thinking through debate * addressing controversial issues * investigating citizenship * learning through role play * working in groups * learning with simulations * participation. A lively and practical book which will be invaluable to student teachers and their trainers, Citizenship co-ordinators in schools and advisors across the country. It combines issues of pedagogy with real classroom experiences and demonstrates just how students learn from different teaching strategies.


Discussion has been at the heart of education for thousands of years. It helps learning because it encourages students to voice opinions and support their point of view in a group so ideas are shared and developed. Members of the group have to learn to listen to other people's perspectives and ideas, consider them and respond. This is a central aspect of the skills that the Citizenship Programme of Study expects young people to develop.

At both KS3 and KS4, they should be able to 'contribute to group and exploratory class discussions' and at KS4 they are asked to 'express, justify and defend orally and in writing a personal opinion about such issues, problems or events'.

In some subjects, discussion is a common occurrence but in others, when contributions are made to the Citizenship curriculum, it is important to consider the nature of the learning that is taking place. The case study in this chapter is drawn from Mathematics. The lesson involves the use and purpose of data and shows how the development of these skills adds to mathematical understanding as well as helping students to look at the structure of the UK population including age, religion and ethnicity. Discussion in any subject is most effective when the class becomes a community of inquiry (Lipman 2003) in which each student participates in a group or whole class discussion.

Discussion is always more than just chatting because it addresses a serious matter and aims to develop a deeper understanding of the problem or issue. The skills that are learnt from discussion can enhance understanding in many areas, both in and out of school. It can lead young people to question the tabloid headline approach that is so frequently used by people to express their point of view. Even if not actually involved in real discussion at the time, young people can begin to realise the difference between just stating a view and being prepared to justify and defend it.

Running discussions

The right environment

Discussion needs to take place in a quiet, calm environment. This can be difficult to achieve in school, so it is worth considering whether one lesson of the week meets these requirements rather than another. It may be better to choose a time when the students haven't just come from Physical Education (PE) or are in the room where the school buses draw up outside in readiness for the end of the day.

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