Radical citizenship education

PhD Thesis

Leighton, R. 2019. Radical citizenship education. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Teacher Education and Development
AuthorsLeighton, R.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosopy

The publications discussed herein constitute a programme of research which identifies developments in Citizenship Education in England. In particular they and the accompanying narrative discuss the extent to which Citizenship Education has the potential to radically facilitate social change.

All education is political, and the radical approach to Citizenship Education openly promotes social justice and critical active participation. The pedagogy of Citizenship Education is shown to be a political and moral practice intended to expand criticality, participation, self-determination, and imagination, a practice closer to the stated aims of the Crick Report than have been any of the iterations of the National Curriculum for Citizenship. In promoting a synthesis between a pedagogy of discomfort and the principles of subversive teaching this thesis advances the notion that politicians should be accountable, that people should be able and enabled to take decision makers to task, that those decision makers are the servants of the people.

From the first published article (Leighton, 2004) up to the most recent collaboration (Leighton and Nielsen, 2018), thematic analysis has led to the identification of two contrasting experiences: formal citizenship and real citizenship. While the state directs teaching and learning towards the formal, this clashes with the realities experienced daily by teachers and students. My data are far-reaching and derived from teachers, student teachers, school students, policy documents, other published research, web sites and other electronic sources. They offer a unique insight into the development of citizenship education in England.

Despite the continually diluted National Curriculum and the lack of appropriate provision in many schools, radical citizenship education is shown not only to be a theoretical possibility but slowly becoming a reality. It is practicable and realistic to aim for citizenship education to be truly radical,making hope possible now and in the future.

KeywordsCitizen education; Developments; Social change
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Publication process dates
Deposited30 Sep 2020
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