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Teaching Active Citizenship - Guidance for Teachers

This guide is part of ACT’s ongoing commitment to building and disseminating the professional knowledge base of Citizenship teachers. It has been  coconstructed with teachers and researchers to distil principles and practical advice about what constitutes an effective pedagogy for active citizenship.

Earlier publications have tended to focus on the process of active citizenship – how and where to include it within teaching and the structure that students might follow. But in this publication we wanted to focus more on how teachers set up and manage active citizenship from a teaching perspective, in particular the practicalities of planning, acting and reflecting. To bring the process to life, there are case studies throughout the guide that capture teachers’ experiences, with points for reflection to encourage deeper consideration of approaches.

Facilitating the type of work described in this guide is challenging, and you’re unlikely to ever feel that you’ve totally cracked it, for all students, in every regard. Nevertheless, it’s also important not to underestimate the potential of your teaching to transform lives. Active citizenship experiences in school really are likely to start a process that continues to affect your students into adulthood. Robert F. Kennedy talked about the importance of ‘ripples of hope’, and we hope you continue to generate those ripples, and perhaps learn how to make an even bigger splash in your school, so those ripples last longer and reach a little bit further.

This publication is the outcome of a conference held in April 2023 and a testament to the power of collaboration. Huge thanks to everyone who contributed to the co-development process abd editing of this guidance.