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Active Citizenship from the Perspective of Pre-Service Social Studies Teachers

Authors:
  • Erciyes University Faculty of Education

Abstract

In this research, it was aimed to determine the perceptions of social studies teacher candidates for "active citizenship" which is defined as the effective participation of the individuals in political and social life in democratic societies. In this descriptive study, descriptive survey model was used as a research model because social studies teacher candidates' perceptions of active citizenship were determined. The study group was determined according to the maximum diversity sample from the purpose sampling methods. In this direction, the study group consists of 40 students from 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students of social studies teacher department. The research data were collected during the academic year of 2017-2018 with the standardized open-ended interview form developed by the researchers. The data were analyzed with content analysis and descriptive analysis. According to the results of the research, the participants were most interested in the concept of effective citizenship at all grade levels, in the categories of citizens with rights and responsibilities, and citizens who could react to the developments in the world and in their own country, at least the citizen who gave importance to scientific development, producing and developing the society in this respect and are aware of their values. Participants should have the most responsibility for the active citizen, at least respecting the differences, adopting solidarity, democratic attitude, philanthropy, scientificness, sensitivity to natural environment and love of nature, history consciousness, self-confidence, independence, peace, equality, self-esteem, sensitivity self-control values. With regard to the skills that an active citizen should possess, they should have the most social participation and observation skills.
Ilkogretim Online - Elementary Education Online, 2020; 19 (2): pp. 565-579
http://ilkogretim-online.org.tr
doi:10.17051/ilkonline.2020.690003
Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social
studies teachers1
Şule Egüz, Inonu University, Turkey, suleeguz@gmail.com ORCID: 0000-0002-3633-8957
Tuğba Kafadar, Turkey, tugbakafadar@gmail.com ORCID: 0000-0002-4573-9250
Abstract
. In this research, it was aimed to determine the perceptions of social studies teacher candidates
for "active citizenship" which is defined as the effective participation of the individuals in political and
social life in democratic societies. In this descriptive study, descriptive survey model was used as a
research model because social studies teacher candidates' perceptions of active citizenship were
determined. The study group was determined according to the maximum diversity sample from the
purpose sampling methods. In this direction, the study group consists of 40 students from 1st, 2nd, 3rd
and 4th grade students of social studies teacher department. The research data were collected during the
academic year of 2017-2018 with the standardized open-
ended interview form developed by the
researchers. The data were analyzed with content analysis and descriptive analysis. According to the
results of the research, the participants were most interested in the concept of effective citizenship at all
grade levels, in the categories of citizens with rights and responsibilities, and citizens who could react to
the developments in the world and in their own country, at least the citizen who gave importance to
scientific development, producing and developing the society in this respect and are aware of their values.
Participants should have the most responsibility for the active citizen, at least respecting the differences,
adopting solidarity, democratic attitude, philanthropy, scientificness, sensitivity to natural environment
and love of nature, history consciousness, self-confidence, independence, peace, equality, self-esteem,
sensitivity self-
control values. With regard to the skills that an active citizen should possess, they should
have the most social participation and observation skills.
Keywords:
Social studies, active citizenship, teacher candidates
Received: 13.01.2019
Accepted: 28.08.2019
Published: 15.03.2020
INTRODUCTION
It According to Sunal and Hass (2002), citizenship, which is a process where individuals learn
and apply the concept through interaction within their social groups, historically refers to
membership in a particular political community (Bellamy, 2008; Halstead and Pike, 2006).
While the concept was used within the context of the city-states in the past, today, it is totally
associated with a nation state (McCowan, 2009). According to Aristotle, the state is composed of
citizens. Each state refers to a particular group of individuals as citizens and the remaining
individuals are considered as non-citizen aliens. All states tend to be the state of a society of
citizens often described as the nation within specific borders (Brubaker, 2009). However, as a
result of globalization, the concept of conventional citizenship has been altered to meet the
requirements of contemporary societies. The complexity of the problems confronted in late 20th
century and the relational and connected nature of these problems made it difficult to solve
these problems with conventional approaches. Thus, citizenship education required a new
approach. The new approach encompasses an approach that drives local and global
communities based on the concerns of these communities in addition to personal development.
Furthermore, while respecting the legacy of the past, the approach is based on the temporal
dimensions and protects the interests of the future by considering the problems of the present
(Cogan, 2012).
1 An abstract of the present study was presented as an oral proceeding at the 7th International Social Studies
Education Symposium.
566 | EGÜZ & KAFADAR Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers
The renewed modern citizenship approach entails active, autonomous, and critical
thinking citizens who participate in political debates in a democratic environment, are
politically literate, and strive for common social objectives according to Pearce and Hallgarten
(2000) (Cited in Halstead and Pike, 2006). With the introduction of this new citizenship
approach, a different modern citizenship approach has been developed. In this context, several
researchers introduced various citizenship approaches such as economic citizenship
(Woodiwiss, 2002; Lewis, 2003; DeJaeghere 2013), political citizenship (Geboers et al., 2015;
Heater, 2007), liberal citizenship (Gibney 2013; Schuck, 2002), multicultural citizenship
(Patton, 2014b; Sleeter 2014), digital citizenship (Blevins, LeCompte and Wells, 2014; Isman
and Gungoren, 2014), cultural citizenship (Miller, 2007; Stevenson, 2003), social citizenship
(Roche, 2002; Haigh, Murcia and Norris, 2014) , democratic citizenship (Mouffe, 2004; Osler and
Starkey, 2006) and active citizenship (Atasoy and Koç, 2015; Ersoy, 2014a; Kara, Topkaya and
Şimşek, 2012).
Active citizenship, one of the new citizenship approaches, refers to an individual who
does not only intervene in the events in the environment but achieves results from this
intervention. Nelson and Kerr (2006), who based active citizenship on participation, focused
more on participation in civil society. In general, active citizenship reflects social participation,
raising concerns and protecting the rights of oneself and others. It also entails an effort
participate in work and everyday life to learn the ever-changing competencies required to
conduct vital plans programmatically (Hoskins & Crick, 2010). Thus, Kennedy (2006) reported
the traits of an active citizen as follows:
1) Conducting conventional political activities such as
a) Voting
b) Political party membership
c) Candidacy in a political institution
2) Participating in volunteer social activities such as
a) Volunteering in social institutions
b) Collecting donations for charity
3) Conducting activities that aim to change political and social order such as
a) Legal activities such as writing op-eds, collecting signatures
b) Illegal activities such as interrupting the traffic, writing graffiti, occupying a building
4) Conducting self-organizational activities such as
a) Financial self-support
b) Being a self-orienting student
c) Being a creative problem-solver
d) Adopting entrepreneurial values.
Hoskins (2006) argued that 4 dimensions were important for individuals to acquire
active citizenship skills that play an important role in coping with the problems brought about
by the changes and transformations in scientific, technological, social and cultural fields
introduced by globalization. These dimensions were
1. Background variables (Context): Personal and social variables, education level,
residential area,
2. Learning experiences (learning active citizenship): Formal and non-formal
education,
3. Individual outcomes (citizenship competencies): Cognitive knowledge and skills,
affective attitudes, values and desired behavior,
4. Social outcomes (active citizenship): Participatory representative democracy,
protest and social change, democracy in terms of participation in social life,
human rights, intercultural approach.
Individuals need to acquire citizenship competencies to lead effective and active lives. There is a
close correlation between citizenship competencies and active citizenship. Thus, it could be
estimated that individuals could become active citizens by acquiring basic citizenship
competencies such as knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. Formal education plays an
567 | EGÜZ & KAFADAR Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers
important role in learning experiences of the individuals. Because, in school education,
individuals develop citizenship competencies, participatory attitudes, social justice values,
democratic citizenship values and cognitive traits that are required for active citizenship
competencies (Hoskins, D'hombres, and Campbell, 2008). The development of citizenship
competencies is the general objective of social studies course (NCSS, 2010). Social studies aim to
train active citizens who can make knowledge-based decisions in the ever-changing national
and global conditions due to the impact of the unique characteristics of the current age (Öztürk,
2009). For individuals to become active citizens in the society, social studies education and
especially social studies teachers play a significant role. The role played by social studies
teachers in a quality education for the acquisition of active citizenship competencies depends on
the training of these teachers. In fact, to train teachers as good and active citizens with proposed
citizenship competencies in the 21st century, the school environments, which are the
prototypes of the society, should improve the citizenship skills of individuals and should respect
the human rights (Egüz, 2019). To determine the current status of school environments and for
the individuals who are trained in these environments to acquire active citizenship
competencies, the views of pre-service social studies teachers on teacher training and active
citizenship are of great importance.
Furthermore, it is expected that determination of the activities conducted for pre-
service social studies teacher candidates to acquire active citizenship competencies in teacher
training and the problems experienced in training would contribute to the literature. Literature
review would demonstrate that several studies were conducted on active citizenship. A
categorical analysis of these studies demonstrated that the studies were conducted on teacher
perceptions about active citizenship competences (Scott, 2012), the impact of formal education
on active citizenship (Hoskins, D'hombres and Campbell, 2008), school administration and
active citizenship (Deem, Brehony and Heath, 1995), learning to learn and active citizenship
competencies (Hoskins and Crick, 2010), development of active citizenship among the students
(Kennedy, 2007), active citizenship at schools and in social life (Lawson, 2001), and active
citizenship education in social studies (Ersoy, 2014a). Furthermore, there is also a study that
investigated the experiences of pre-service social studies teachers on active citizenship in non-
governmental organization activities in the literature (Ersoy, 2014b). However, there are no
studies that investigated the perceptions pf pre-service social studies teachers about active
effective citizenship with a holistic approach in the literature. Thus, the present study is
considered to fill the above-mentioned gap in the literature.
The Aim of the Study
In the present study that aimed to determine the perceptions of pre-service social studies
teachers about active citizenship, the answers to the following research questions were sought:
According to pre-service social studies teachers,
What is the meaning of the active citizenship concept?
What are the values and skills that active citizens should possess?
What are the activities conducted or attempted at school that would allow the students
to acquire active citizenship competencies?
What could be recommended to train active citizens as future teachers?
METHODS
The Research Model
In the present descriptive study, descriptive survey model was adopted since it aimed to
determine the perceptions of pre-service social studies teachers about active citizenship.
Descriptive survey model is a research approach that describes an existing phenomenon
quantitatively or qualitatively. The most important feature of this research model is that it
describes an existing event or phenomenon as is (Çepni, 2009).
The Study Group
568 | EGÜZ & KAFADAR Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers
The study group included 40 freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior social studies teacher
program students attending Inonu University, Faculty of Education. In the present study,
maximum diversity sampling, a purposive sampling method, was used. The main objective was
to obtain a relatively small sample with maximum degree of diversity to eliminate the risk of
systematic errors (Maxwell, 1996, cited in Yıldırım and Şimşek, 2016). To ensure maximum
diversity, the study group was determined to include participants from all classes. The freshmen
participants were coded as A1 ... A10, the sophomore participants were coded as B1 ... B10, the
junior participants were coded as C1 ... C10 and the senior participants were coded as D1 ... D10
for ethical reasons.
Data Collection
The study data were collected using a standardized open-ended interview form developed by
the authors. The approach included a series of carefully worded questions in a specific order,
and each individual was asked the same questions in the same order (Patton, 2014a). This
approach reduces “interviewer bias or subjectivity,” which could lead to acquisition of more
information from certain participants and less systematic and superficial information from
others (Yıldırım and Şimşek, 2016). During the development of the form, initially, a literature
review was conducted to ensure content validity. Then, based on the research objectives, both
authors developed a question pool that included 12 questions. The questions were submitted
for expert opinion of 2 field specialists and the proposed modifications were conducted, the
number of questions was reduced to 5, a pilot scheme was conducted with 2 students who did
not participate in the main study. After the pilot scheme, further corrections were conducted on
the form and the interview form was finalized. The study data were collected between 09. 04.
2018 and 13. 04. 2018. The data collected with the developed form constituted the main data
resource in the study.
Data Analysis
Standardized Open-ended Interview Data: In the study, standardized open-ended interview
forms were applied to the participants. The interview form data were transferred to Microsoft
Word files for analysis.
Data Coding: Before the collected data was coded, both authors read the whole data in the
initial phase of the analysis process. Thus, significant dimensions were determined within the
scope of the study objectives and an attempt was made to determine the meaning of each
dimension. Maximum effort was spent to include all terms and concepts expressed by the
participants in the coding process.
Interpretation Techniques: Qualitative analysis is a process of converting data into findings;
however, there is no specific formula to conduct this process (Patton, 2014a). In the present
study, content and descriptive analysis techniques were used in the interpretation of interview
data. In content analysis, the data were first divided into groups and these groups were
analyzed and compared. Then, the codes that lead to meaningful concepts from these groups
and associate with the same concepts are grouped under a category. In the last stage of the
content analysis, themes that reflect the same meaning were obtained from the interpreted
data. Content analysis requires an in-depth analysis of the collected data and allows the
identification of previously unclear themes and dimensions (Yıldırım and Şimşek, 2016).
Descriptive analysis technique was also used in the study. Thys, the collected data were
summarized and interpreted based on the previously determined themes in accordance the
descriptive analysis. Furthermore, direct quotations were included in the study to clearly reflect
the participant views. The most important consideration when presenting direct quotations is
to prevent potential bias that these quotations could lead to and to allow the quotations to
reflect the general views (Kılıç and Ural, 2005). In the present study, attention was paid to allow
the quotations to reflect the general views.
The collected study data were assessed and coded separately by a specialist and a
general agreement was obtained between all coders. The consistency of the codes assigned
569 | EGÜZ & KAFADAR Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers
independently by all researchers was determined with the reliability formula proposed by Miles
and Huberman (2015) [Reliability = Agreement / (Agreement + Disagreement)]. Based on the
formula, 93% agreement rate was calculated between the codes determined by the two authors
(Reliability = 55/55 + 4 = 0.93). The ratio demonstrated that the reliability of the study was
high.
FINDINGS
The study findings are presented in “the concept of active citizenship,” active citizenship values
and skills,” “the significance of the school in the acquisition of active citizenship skills,” and
“recommendations for training active citizens” sections.
Findings on the Concept of Active Citizenship
The first theme obtained based on the participant views expressed in the interview form was
“the concept of active citizenship.” The collected interview form data were first labeled, coded
and the findings are summarized in Table 1.
Table 1. The views of pre-service teachers on the concept of active citizenship
Active Citizenship Theme
Frequency
(f)
Citizens who are aware of their rights and responsibilities
Electoral participation
Awareness of human rights
Abiding by the laws
Respectful for the right to protest
Awareness of the supremacy of law
Awareness and respect for democratic requirements
Coordination with the state
Awareness of individual liberties
33
Citizens who could react to global and national developments
Sensitive about global events
Sensitive about local events
Skill to adapt to the environment immediately
Following the current developments
Ability to assess the events with a multidimensional approach
Active participation in social activities
12
Citizens who prioritize scientific development
Versatile use of knowledge
Inquisitive
Eager for training
6
Citizens who produce and contribute to social development
Eager to work
Taxpayer
Prioritizing national interests
3
Citizens who are aware of self-values
Ethical
With national values
2
Review of the participant responses presented in Table 1 revealed that the pre-service
teachers at all grade levels mostly mentioned the category of “citizens who are aware of rights
and responsibilities” in the theme of “the concept of active citizenship” (f=33); and thus, pre-
service teachers stated that individuals who are aware of human rights, participate in the
elections, obey the laws, respect the right to protest, believe in the rule of law, recognize and
respect democratic requirements, coordinate with the state, and are aware of their freedoms,
exhibit active citizenship traits. A selection of related participant views is presented below:
570 | EGÜZ & KAFADAR Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers
“An active citizen recognizes his/her rights and responsibilities. For example, active citizen
respects the rights of others, serves his/her country, and defends the individual rights (A2).”
“An active citizen is aware of his/her responsibilities and rights and does not hesitate to fulfill
his/her responsibilities for his/her nation to persevere. Voting, writing a petition, defending
individual rights, trying to serve the country are the activities conducted by the active citizen
(B2).” “A citizen, who performs a duty assigned to him/her voluntarily, establishes a bond
between himself/herself and his/her duties, is called an active citizen. On the July 15th coup
attempt, the citizens who became martyrs and veterans were active citizens (C10).” “An active
citizen is aware of his/her responsibilities towards the state and society, despite he/she is not a
civil servant or an official administration. For example, a citizen, who is meticulous and
attentive in taxes and votes in the elections, is an active citizen (D6).”
In the study, the category of “citizens who can react to global and national developments” was
the second category (f = 12) in which the participants had the highest consensus. The
participants stated that active citizens are sensitive to global and local events, could adapt to the
environment, does not remain indifferent to current developments, and has the skills to analyze
the events with a multidimensional approach, and pre-service teacher A10 stated the following:
“An active citizen is aware of the environment. An active citizen is an exemplary citizen who
respects the environment and keeps the environment clean. Likewise, a citizen who could
follow global developments closely and react to events that infringe human rights instantly, is
an active citizen.” The pre-service teacher did not limit active citizenship with the environment
but considered the concept within a global framework.
In the studies, pre-service teachers exhibited the lowest consensus on the categories of
“citizens who prioritize scientific developments” (f = 6), “citizens who produce and contribute to
social development” (f = 3), and “citizens who are aware of self-values” (f = 3). A selection of
related participant views is presented below:
“An active citizen should be aware that he/she should abide by the moral values of the society
in almost every field within his rights (B4).” “An active citizen is an individual who produces
and loves to produce, seeks knowledge and works (B7).”
Findings on Active Citizenship Values and Skills
The interview form applied to the participants included the question “What are the active
citizenship values and skills?” Thus, pre-service teacher responses on the active citizenship
values are summarized in Table 2.
Initially, the data presented in Table 2 was analyzed based on the views of the participants
about the active citizenship values. Thus, it was determined that the highest consensus among
the participants was observed in the category of “responsibility” (f = 21). This was followed by
patriotism (f = 14), awareness of cultural heritage (f = 10), tolerance (f = 10), industry (f = 9),
ethics (f = 9), honesty (f = 8) categories. This group was followed by respect for diversity (f = 6),
solidarity (f = 6), democratic attitudes (f = 5), benevolence (f = 4), scientific approach (f = 4),
respect for natural environment and the nature (f = 4), historical awareness (f = 4), self-esteem
(f = 3), independence (f = 2), peace (f = 2), equality (f = 2), self-esteem (f = 2), susceptibility (f =
1), and self-control (f = 1) categories. The participant A1 did not provide any views on active
citizenship values. A selection of related participant views is presented below:
“The first value that [an active citizen] should have is responsibility. Because a responsible
individual supports the current order. I also believe that an active citizen should be sensitive,
tolerant and helpful (A8).” “An active citizen should initially recognize his/her rights and
responsibilities to fulfill the democratic requirements. Thus, responsibility is the most
important value. Because, other values are shaped within this framework. One should also have
high self-esteem. Otherwise, one could not engage in politics (B1).” “An active citizen should be
aware of cultural values and keep them alive. Also, an active citizen, who understands the
meaning of our flag and respects the symbol of the flag, would respect the flags of other
nations as a requirement of our cultural values (C10).” “Active citizens should adopt
democratic values and try to live based on these values. An active citizen should have
responsibilities for social welfare and should know the documents and events associated with
the liberation of the nation (D1).”
571 | EGÜZ & KAFADAR Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers
Table 2. Active citizenship values
Frequency
(f)
21
14
10
10
9
9
8
6
6
5
4
4
4
4
3
2
2
2
2
1
1
The participant responses on the question about active citizenship skills in the structured
interview form are presented in Table 3.
The review of the participant responses on active citizenship skills demonstrated that the
participants reached a consensus on the categories of “social participation skills” (f = 11) and
“observation skills” (f = 11), followed by problem-solving (f = 7), decision-making (f = 6),
empathy (f = 5), inquiry (f = 5), innovative, creative and critical thinking (f = 5), communication
(f = 5), entrepreneurship (f = 5), multi-perspective (f = 4), spatial perception (f = 4), information
and communication technologies (f = 3), temporal and chronological perception (f = 1) skills.
Participants A3, A10, C10 and D8 did not provide any views on active citizenship skills. A
selection of related participant views is presented below:
“An active citizen could follow the local and global [developments] and make accurate
observations (A9).” “[An active citizen] should have critical and constructive thinking skills
(B5).” “An active citizen should be connected to the social life. [He/she] should actively
participate and intertwine with the society (C9).” “[An active citizen should have]
communication, problem solving, decision-making skills (D6).”
572 | EGÜZ & KAFADAR Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers
Table 3. Active citizenship skills
Frequency (f)
11
11
7
6
5
5
5
5
5
4
4
3
1
The Findings on the Significance of the School in Acquisition of Active Citizenship Skills
In the interview form, the question “What are the activities or attempts conducted at the school
for the acquisition of active citizenship skills? Do you think these activities are sufficient?” The
findings based on the participant responses on this question are presented in Table 4.
Table 4. Pre-service teacher views on the significance of the school in acquisition of active citizenship skills
The Contribution of the School to Acquisition of Active Citizenship Skills
Frequency (f)
The school does not support active citizenship
26
School activities partially contribute to active citizenship
8
The school supports active citizenship
6
The majority of the participants (f = 26), who evaluated the significance of school in the
acquisition of active citizenship, emphasized that the school activities did not active citizenship
and suggested that the schools and educators did not commit to their duties adequately. Eight
participants stated that the activities and education at schools contributed to the acquisition of
active citizenship skills. They emphasized that the schools especially provided convenient
theoretical knowledge; however, the practical applications were not adequate, and the acquired
knowledge could not be transferred to real-life situations. Six participants stated that the
schools encourage responsibility, activities such as teamwork, planned applications, trips,
interviews, and conferences were conducted, and citizenship, law and political science course
content had a positive effect on the acquisition of active citizenship skills. A selection of related
participant views is presented below:
"Not sufficient. In addition, unfortunately, there is an understanding that life is only about
school (A2).” “On certain topics, students are divided into groups in order to support
planned studies and feelings of benevolence. Trips, conferences and panels are organized.
Citizenship, judicial and political topics are instructed. These courses, of course, are not
sufficient without practice (B2).” “Issues related to active citizenship are instructed. Basic
rights and responsibilities are explained. In my opinion these are not sufficient. The
awareness of individuals is not raised adequately, most of us do not know our rights and
duties. Because, everything is based on memorization (C8).” “The school is more interested
in the theoretical section than the practical. Particularly in “Citizenship Knowledge” and
“Political Science” courses, theoretical knowledge about active citizenship is provided. But, I
think that is not quite sufficient (D1).”
573 | EGÜZ & KAFADAR Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers
Findings on the Recommendations about Training Active Citizens
In this section, to determine the recommendations of the participants about training active
citizens, the question “What can you suggest for active citizens as teachers of the future?” was
asked. The participant responses are summarized in Table 5.
Table 5. Pre-service teacher recommendations on training active citizens
Recommendations on Training Active Citizens
Frequency
(f)
Organization of practical instructional activities
15
Training responsible individuals
12
Exhibiting model behavior
10
Acquisition of patriotic values
8
Claiming the cultural heritage
7
Inspiring historical awareness
6
Improving susceptibility through model events
5
Supporting research
5
Implementation of systematic parental education activities
4
Improving educational content with active citizenship requirements
4
Organization go trips
4
Development of a multiple perspective towards national and global
developments
3
Active use of communications technologies
3
Working for public interest
3
Organizing seminars on active citizenship competencies
2
Knowledge on the characteristics of the local community and
environment and development of philanthropy and love of nature
2
Sensitivity about global and local problems
3
Increasing social studies course hours
1
Observation
1
Display of a solution-oriented attitude towards problems
1
Promotion of support and training campaigns
1
Promotion of participation
1
Following current events
1
Being open to innovations
1
A separate course on active citizenship
1
Collaboration
1
Creative thinking
1
Training investigative individuals
1
Instruction of methods to access accurate information
1
Review of the Table 5 demonstrated that the participants predominantly recommended
organization of practical instructional activities (f = 15) and raising the awareness of individuals
about responsibilities (f = 12) to train active citizens. The participants also recommended
exhibiting model behavior (f = 10), acquisition of patriotic values (f = 8) and Claiming the
cultural heritage (f = 7) to train active citizens. Lower number of participants recommended
observation, display of a solution-oriented attitude towards problems, promotion of support
and training campaigns, promotion of participation, following current events, being open to
innovations, a separate course on active citizenship, collaboration, creative thinking, training
investigative individuals, and instruction of methods to access accurate information.
574 | EGÜZ & KAFADAR Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers
DISCUSSION and CONCLUSIONS
Analysis of the findings of the present study, where the perceptions of pre-service social
studies teachers about active citizenship were investigated, demonstrated that pre-service
teachers of all educational levels mostly emphasized the category of “citizens who are aware of
their rights and responsibilities” about the concept of active citizenship. However, as Cogan
(2012) emphasized, due to the immense problems, difficulties experienced during recent years
and the quest for solutions for these problems, it is considered that although this category is
included among active citizenship skills, it has not been reflected to behavior adequately. The
participants also expressed their views about citizens who are able to react to global and
national developments about the concept of effective citizenship the most, and citizens who
emphasize scientific developments, citizens who produce and contribute to social development,
and citizens who are aware of values categories the least. According to the NCC (1990), the aims
of citizenship education include promoting motivation for civic participation through
identifying the significance of participatory citizenship and help students to acquire basic
citizenship knowledge to develop their values, skills and attitudes (Cited by Edwards and
Fogelman, 2005). Thus, it was determined that the above-mentioned aims were consistent with
the views of the pre-service teachers.
In the category of citizens who are aware of their rights and responsibilities, pre-service
teachers associated active citizenship with individuals, who participate in the elections, aware
of human rights, respect the laws, respect the right to protest, believe in the rule of law, know
and respect democratic of democracy, coordinate with the state, and are aware of their liberties.
Citizenship Commission (1990) listed the skills and experiences required for active citizenship
(Rogers, 1992 cited in Costello, 2005) as follows: ability to discuss or present a coherent
perspective, electoral participation, taking responsibility to represent others, for instance,
collaborating in a school club, group membership, for instance, submitting a petition to a
newspaper or an institution to exercise the right to protest. It was determined that the
statements expressed by pre-service teachers about active citizenship were consistent with the
above-mentioned skills. Branson and Quigley (1998) also described the citizens based on the
ability to act consciously to know and understand their rights and responsibilities about the
membership and participation in a democratic society. Thus, it could be suggested that most
qualifications expressed by the pre-service social studies teachers in the category of rights and
responsibilities were the basic skills that an active citizen should possess. The views of the pre-
service teachers in the category of citizens who are aware of their rights and responsibilities
were frequently associated with political literacy. A review of the views of pre-service social
studies teachers in this category, the statements except electoral participation and collaboration
with the state were not associated with political participation, in other words, implementation
level. This could indicate that the implementation dimension of political literacy is inadequate in
Turkish education system; and thus, students are trained mainly in the theoretical dimension of
political literacy.
In the study, the participants stated that the skills of sensitivity for global and local
events, instant adaptation to the environment, sensitivity for current developments and
assessment of the events with a multi-dimensional approach could only exist in active citizens
in the category of citizens who can react to global and national developments. In a democratic
society, citizens are the decision-makers. Thus, citizens are required to assess the positions at
global level and to have advanced defensive skills. They are also required to possess developed
skills to stay current, analyze the issues, and discuss with other individuals about the public or
private industries (Branson and Quigley, 1998). Thus, it could be suggested that one of the most
important skills that active citizens should have is the ability to be a citizen who can react to
global and national developments.
It was determined that the participants did not agree in the categories of citizens who
emphasize scientific development, citizens who produce and contribute to social development,
and citizens who are aware of values categories. However, the political literacy movement
pioneered by Bernard Crick, Derek Heater and Ian Lister in England in 1970 could be given as
575 | EGÜZ & KAFADAR Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers
an example that clashes with traditional patterns. This movement argued that political skills and
democratic values should be taught (Lister, 1987 cited in McCowan, 2009). These skills, as
evidenced in the history, could also be considered among the active citizenship skills.
What is the objective of citizenship education? In fact, citizenship education aims to
introduce changes in the society and the lives of individuals. However, it achieves this goal
through acquisition of certain competences by the students. These competences generally
include three elements: knowledge, skills and values (McCowan, 2009). In the present study, the
participants were asked about the active citizenship values and skills. According to the
participants of the present study, the most prominent active citizenship value was
responsibility, followed by patriotism, sensitivity for cultural heritage, tolerance, industry,
ethics, and honesty and the least prominent active citizenship values included respect for
diversity, solidarity, democratic attitude, benevolence, scientific values, sensitivity for the
natural environment and love of nature, historical awareness, self-esteem, independence, peace,
equality, self-respect, sensitivity, and self-control. Various national curricula (e.g., Turkey, the
USA, France) included the above-mentioned values as active citizenship values (MNE, 2018;
Ministère de L’éducation Nationale, 2015; New York State Education Department, 2016).
Cultural perceptions of societies could often be unilateral. Although it is true that there may be
different traditions and moral values in different cultural structures, it is necessary for each
culture to raise awareness for its basic values (Zecha, 2007). Thus, although there are
differences between the value judgments in different societies, basically all societies express
similar universal values (Baloğlu Uğurlu, 2014). In this context, it could be suggested that many
of these values are active citizenship values.
The second basic factor in citizenship education in democratic societies is citizenship
skills (Branson and Quigley, 1998). Conventional citizenship education focused broadly on
political institutions, the constitution and national history (Lister, 1987 cited in McCowan,
2009). However, especially during the previous century, the acquisition of skills by the
individuals became important in training active citizens (Kafadar, 2019). Thus, the participants
emphasized the social participation and observation skills among the active citizenship skills.
The description of active citizen by Halstead and Pike (2006) as a citizen who participates in
political and other debates and actively displays critical and reflective thinking when necessary
was consistent with the participant views in the present study. The pre-service teachers
emphasized problem-solving, decision making, empathy, investigation, innovation, creative and
critical thinking, communication, entrepreneurship, multiple perspectives, spatial perception,
information and communication technologies skills the most, and temporal and chronological
perception skills the least. Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21), an organization active
in the USA in this field, reported that the 21st century skills that are basic active citizenship
skills, should be acquired by the students. These skills (P21, 2016) include a) creativity and
innovation, b) critical thinking and problem solving, c) communication, and d) collaboration. It
was observed that the views of pre-service teachers on active citizenship skills were similar.
Furthermore, it was observed that the types of skills mentioned by the pre-service teachers
were greater in number. A holistic analysis of these skills suggested that the skills of social
participation, critical, creative, and reflective thinking, innovation, problem solving,
communication and collaboration skills could be considered as active citizenship skills.
The participant views on the role of the school in acquisition of active citizenship skills
emphasized that the school did not support active citizenship. The participants argued that the
school and teachers did not perform their duties adequately. Ersoy (2016) emphasized that
social studies courses led to a limited improvement in the students’ citizenship skills, the
students were passive in classes, and there were limited attempts to improve discussion and
collaboration skills of the students. One of the main reasons for these problems include the
problems experienced in teacher competencies, and several teachers did not consider
themselves sufficient in citizenship and democracy education. The present study findings
demonstrated similar problems in acquisition of active citizenship skills by pre-service teachers,
especially in the training of social studies teachers. Certain participants stated that school
activities and education contributed to the acquisition of active citizenship skills. However, it
576 | EGÜZ & KAFADAR Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers
was stated by the participants that the schools focused on the instruction theoretical
knowledge, experienced problems in transfer of this knowledge to practice, and the knowledge
acquired in life was not reflected at schools. Ersoy (2014a) suggested that teachers and students
focused on theoretical knowledge due to the exam-centered education system in citizenship
education and argued that citizenship education is far from being an education based on
practice. Furthermore, it was suggested that students could not apply the active citizenship
achievements acquired in social studies courses at school. In the present study, it was
demonstrated that that the education and instruction of small age groups allowed the
acquisition of theoretical active citizenship skills due to the education system similar to teacher
training and experienced problems in practical education. Thus, the inability to reflect the
theoretical knowledge to the practice in acquisition of active citizenship skills is experienced in
all educational levels from early age to higher education. A small number of participants
suggested that the school guided the students to act more responsibly and the course content
such as group studies, planned practices, trips, interviews, conferences, especially the
citizenship, law and political science course content had positive effects on the acquisition of
active citizenship skills.
In the study, the participants mostly suggested organization of practical instructional
activities in active citizen training. It could be suggested that this recommendation was of great
importance considering the scope of active citizenship. In fact, in a study conducted with early
education students and teachers, Ersoy (2014a) emphasized the significance of a democratic
school environment and culture in active citizenship education. Furthermore, Ersoy noted that
the presence of laws that limit instruction of political issues adversely affects the development
of political literacy and political participation skills among the students, suggesting review of
the current legislation. The present study findings also demonstrated that problems could be
experienced dur to educational policies although practical instructional activities were
recommended in teacher training. In the study, it was also suggested by the participants that
individuals who are aware of their responsibilities, exhibit model behavior, possess patriotic
values, and claim cultural heritage should be trained. The participant recommendation to train
individuals who exhibit model behavior is a suggestion-oriented instruction approach.
However, it could be more effective to conduct practices in which pre-service teachers could
actively participate in order to train active citizens. Fewer participants recommended to
increase social studies course hours, observe, adopt a solution-oriented approach about the
encountered problems, promote aid and training campaigns, promote participatory behavior,
follow current events, be open to innovations, to provide a separate active citizenship course,
collaborate, creative thinking, train inquiring individuals, and instruct methods to access
accurate information. In fact, considering the scope of active citizenship, it could be suggested
that most of the recommendations least suggested by the pre-service teachers were of vital
importance in the training of future active citizens.
RECOMMENDATIONS
In the study, it was revealed that most participating pre-service social studies teachers
perceived the concept of active citizenship as a citizen who is aware of rights and
responsibilities. However, this conceptualization is not considered adequate for active
individuals. Thus, the existing basic practices in teacher training curricula could be reviewed
and certain changes could be adopted. Furthermore, the participants stated that there were
certain problems in training active citizens in teacher training. Thus, it could be suggested that
higher education institutions should go through accreditation and quality assurance processes
to ensure quality in higher education institutions.
The data were collected with a standardized open-ended interview form in the study. In
future studies, different data collection techniques such as observation and document analysis
could be utilized. Also, in future studies, the perceptions of students and teachers in different
educational levels on active citizenship and the reasons that affect these perceptions could be
investigated in detail.
577 | EGÜZ & KAFADAR Active citizenship from the perspective of pre-service social studies teachers
Comparative studies are of great importance for the observation of the current status in
nations. Thus, the active citizenship perceptions of pre-service teachers’ perceptions and higher
education curricula in various countries could be comparatively analyzed based on the concept
of active citizenship.
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... Bu bağlamda lisans programlarında öğretmen adaylarının toplumsal sorunları fark eden ve bu sorunlara yönelik çözümler üreten etkin birer vatandaş olmaları için gerekli bilgi, değer ve becerileri kazandırmayı amaçlayan çeşitli derslere yer verilmektedir. Bu olanakları sunan derslerden biri de Topluma Hizmet Uygulamalarıdır (Berberoğlu, 2017;Egüz, 2019;Egüz ve Kafadar, 2020). ...
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Problem Statement: Societies want to ensure that their children receive an education that includes an emphasis on good character. Therefore, character education classes in schools are an effective means of achieving this goal. Character education curricula in societies that are experiencing global changes strive for their students to gain universal values. However, although character elements are similar, character education applications and individual attitudes and behaviors can vary from country to country. This situation is due to the fact that societies have different socio-cultural, economic and religious beliefs, which effect character education curricula regarding societal behaviors. Purpose of Study: The purpose of this research is to determine and compare the perception of certain character values among middle school students who attend American and Turkish schools. When reviewing these countries? character education curricula, it seems that they have many similar traits. However, differences in their societal backgrounds reveal student?s perspectives about certain character values. Recognizing similarities and differences that exist between American and Turkish middle school students? values about good character, this study will try to explain the reasons for such differences. Method: In this study, a quantitative method was used as the research design. The research sample consisted of 286 American and 278 Turkish students. Survey results were evaluated with the SPSS statistical program. Findings and Results: Descriptive statistics for each character value shows that each country?s students demonstrated their highest intensity on issues of substance abuse. However, the lowest intensity focused on environmentalism with the American students and multiculturalism with the Turkish students. Empathy and tolerance were the highest in terms of mean difference between the two countries? students. In contrast, American and Turkish students have the lowest mean difference in terms of responsibility and multiculturalism. Conclusions and Recommendations: Student responses indicated that each country?s students have different perspectives on certain core values. One of the most highly contrasted characteristics of America and Turkey is diversity and multiculturalism. This situation offers both more opportunities and more challenges to Americans. However, the survey results show that American students can be adversely affected in terms of tolerance and empathy. Communal living, parental and peer effects on the students? responsibility and substance dependency are also apparent in their effects on the students. Educators recognize that societal differences can impact a student?s ability to gain good character values.
Chapter
What is a ‘good society’? Is it a society pacified and harmonious where basic disagreements have been overcome and where an overlapping consensus has been established about a single interpretation of common values? Or is it a society with a vibrant public sphere where many conflicting views can be expressed and where there is the possibility to choose among legitimate alternative projects? I want to argue in favour of this second view because I am convinced that, contrary to what is usually taken for granted today, it is a mistake to believe that a ‘good society’ is one where antagonisms have been eradicated and where the adversarial model of politics has become obsolete.
Article
Moral and citizenship education are again at the forefront of educational attention with the recent governmental announcements about revisions to the National Curriculum frameworks to 2000 and beyond. This book addresses some of the central issues in moral and citizenship education facing teachers today, embedding practical considerations in a theoretical context and reviewing teaching, learning and assessment strategies. It draws extensively on research but is written in a clear, accessible style. Citizenship and Moral Education examines the key concepts and provides an up-to-date overview of policy, particularly addressing: theoretical issues, aims and approaches in relation to moral and citizenship education in a pluralist society the contributions of the curriculum, extra-curricular activities and the school ethos to citizenship and moral education in school teaching strategies, materials, pupil assessment and school evaluation. The book also focuses on key professional and personal issues for teachers in undertaking moral citizenship education.
Book
Rethinking Citizenship Education presents a fundamental reassessment of the field. Drawing on empirical research, the book argues that attempting to transmit preconceived notions of citizenship through schools is both unviable and undesirable. The notion of 'curricular transposition' is introduced, a framework for understanding the changes undergone in the passage between the ideals of citizenship, the curricular programmes designed to achieve them, their implementation in practice and the effects on students. The 'leaps' between these different stages make the project of forming students in a mould of predefined citizenship highly problematic. Case studies are presented of contrasting initiatives in Brazil, a country with high levels of political marginalisation, but also significant experiences of participatory democracy. These studies indicate that effective citizenship education depends on a harmonisation or 'seamless enactment' of the stages outlined above. In contrast, provision in countries such as the UK and USA is characterised by disjunctures, showing insufficient involvement of teachers in programme design, and a lack of space for the construction of students' own political understandings. Some more promising directions for citizenship education are proposed, therefore, ones which acknowledge the significance of pedagogical relations and school democratisation, and allow students to develop as political agents in their own right.