A survey of trainee teachers' attitudes on the purposes of citizenship education.
The teaching of democracy has been an objective of citizenship education since its inception (QCA 1998) and so we thought it was timely to explore the extent to which this goal had been embraced within initial teacher education (ITE). But this project was prompted by the growing presence of the topic of ‘Britishness' and national identity in political discourse at the highest level, which has been accompanied by a number of governmental initiatives to emphasise the idea of British citizenship.
The research project sought to evaluate the attitudes of trainee teachers of citizenship and history towards the notions of teaching ‘Britishness', national identity and promoting democracy, alongside their attitudes to some aspects of multiculturalism. In some ways the trainee teachers can be seen as a sub-sample of British society and a representative sample of future teachers of citizenship and history. However, as teachers of these two subjects they are likely to be at the forefront of such curriculum objectives. A questionnaire was deployed to the trainee teachers in a sample of higher education institutions across England at an early point in their post graduate teacher training programme. The questionnaire was designed to produce quantitative data from immediate ‘agree', ‘disagree', ‘undecided' responses to a small number of statements about British values, national identity and teaching democracy. It also generated qualitative data through inviting the respondents to explain their responses and their thinking in prose. The project deployed a phase 2 follow-up questionnaire to the same group of trainee teachers at a late stage in their training programme, and a small number of them participated in semi-structured interviews.Download Report