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9th Nov 2022 11:34pm Blogs

Make a profound impact on the next generation: engage students by studying a PGCE in Citizenship education

In this guest blog, Hans Svennevig calls on those seeking a career with purpose, by working with young people in citizenship education

Make a profound impact on the next generation: engage students by studying a PGCE in Citizenship education

Young people are growing up in an increasingly complex and interrelated world. As they become increasingly exposed to the world around them, they need skilled professionals to inform, teach and guide them in school for life beyond. Citizenship teachers have a unique role, in helping students navigate challenging topics and in getting their voices heard.

The Institute of Education (IOE) has been ranked as the World’s number one institute for education every year since 2014 (QS Rankings). Furthermore, UCL is consistently ranked in the world’s top ten universities every year. As Subject Leader for PGCE Citizenship at IOE for the past 4 years, I have witnessed the influence that capable and highly motivated trainee teachers have had in classrooms. I have also been impressed by the passion and commitment displayed by course participants.

Do you want to make an impact on the future generation? Read on to see how a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in Citizenship can benefit you, and young people.

Experience shaped by experts

The Citizenship PGCE started at the IOE in 2001, a year before the inclusion of Citizenship as a foundation subject on the National Curriculum. Over the course of the past twenty years, we have continued to develop and refine the course to accommodate the growth of this topic, the changing programmes of study and the changing needs of society.

As a leading provider of Citizenship education, we have a range of Citizenship academics within our department which trainee teachers benefit from. As Subject Leader I regularly draw on these resources, as well as a whole host of other experts to bring cutting edge theory to practice-based teaching. In my role, I carefully consider the present and future of citizenship education, for both our trainees and educators.

Course format and expectations

Our sessions are interactive and model teaching practice throughout. We have sessions that range from the staple parts of citizenship education around the Teaching of Controversial Issues, Media Literacy, Human Rights and Active Citizenship in the classroom. Additionally, we also incorporate novel teaching approaches using methods such as VR and pop culture. We also take various trips to schools and other physical resources like the Houses of Parliament. We discuss how to teach about Race, LGBTQIA+ and other intersectional backgrounds, which is contributed to by the highly diverse backgrounds of the student teachers in our intake.

We work in small subject team cohorts, and our student teachers have personalised tutoring which is adapted to their individual needs to inspire, support, and motivate them throughout the programme. Additionally, we cover broad themes with other PGCE students and every year Citizenship themes are part of this. Our student teachers are advocates of Citizenship education, and we enable them to share their voices and experiences in a variety of ways. This, in turn, helps their career progression. For example student teachers have created podcasts, written blogs surrounding Citizenship teaching, and been featured in the academic journal, Teaching Citizenship

Citizenship PGCE alumni discussing the course

Ensuring success

Our teachers always go on to jobs or additional study. To equip trainees at the end of the GCSE programme, we provide job support and references – and even though we cannot guarantee jobs or further study – we are delighted with our record between 2014-2022. And hopefully this continues to go from strength to strength. For those looking to undertake further studies, our PGCE counts as 2 module credits that can be used to contribute to masters study at the IOE.

If you are left wondering why you should do the Citizenship PGCE at the IOE, let our course alumni share their insights. Interested to find out more? Go to our website to read about the PGCE Citizenship at UCL.

Finally, if you do apply, and I hope you do, my top tip is to write about why you want to teach citizenship education, and how your experiences to date demonstrate your motivations.

Hans Svennevig

Email me directly to find out more: [email protected] 

Citizenship PGCE Teacher training at the IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society. Follow us on Twitter @ioecitpgce

PGCE Citizenship students reflecting on their course at IOE, UCL
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