We use cookies to help us make this website better for our visitors. More about how we use cookies.

10 December, 2012

History lessons are not a replacement for citizenship classes

The Citizenship Foundation is appalled to learn that the government is considering rolling back the clock on history, hoping that students will be more capable citizens in the wake of better teaching about the past.

The suggestion today by the All Party Parliamentary Group on History and Archives is an understandable defence of their own subject based on an ignorance of another's. ('Overhaul school history, urges report by MPs and peers', BBC)

Since the inception of citizenship teaching, it has clearly been seen to address a critical gap between understanding the events and choices of past generations and those facing future ones.

Citizenship inducts children and young people into the social order of the day, empowering them to play their part in its stability and prosperity.

Of course history is an important subject. It is unquestionable that each generation needs to comprehend their heritage and cultural formation.

But this does not develop the skills to participate in democratic society, to know about the law, the economy and the practical application of politics to everyday life.

Neither does it open up opportunities for schools to give students practical experiences of contributing to communities, nurturing their discretion and autonomy as equals.

Teachers and school leaders across the country have transformed their schools based on the principles within effective education for citizenship.

We call on the Secretary of State to keep in step with leading educational jurisdictions of the world and acknowledge that the two subjects are distinct in content and purpose, and must be delivered separately.

Just because you can prefix the word history with British does not mean that you are teaching citizenship.


Your comments

From A bloke from London - London
Citizenship classes have always seemed a bit 1984 to me. We managed to reach midway through the 21st century and grow into a reasonably fair and prosperous society without them so why this obsession with indoctrinating children with acceptance of the status quo? Surely it's more important to teach children how to think rather than what to think.

From Michael -
'A bloke from London': I'm puzzled as to where you got this notion of citizenship education. Citizenship education is about exactly the opposite of 'indoctrinating children with acceptance of the status quo'. It is, in fact, about teaching children 'how to think rather than what to think'.

From Asher Jacobsberg - London
'A bloke': I think you should maybe go and see a Citizenship lesson before making this kind of comment (or failing that read the Citizenship curriculum). As Michael says, Citizenship is the subject that most gets young people to question what they are told and make up their own minds.

Have your say

All comments are moderated before appearing on this website, and may be edited. Your comments may be published in any Citizenship Foundation media worldwide.

Privacy Policy

Important: Click on the underlined letter in the word above before pressing 'send', or your message will not be saved.


Printable version of this page. Printable version

Latest News