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Teachers' conceptions of citizenship in New Zealand social studies education

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Although 'citizenship' has long been a feature of New Zealand social studies curricula, there has been little New Zealand research about the meanings teachers attach to the concept. On the basis of a number of focus group interviews, we examine conceptions of citizenship held by primary and secondary social studies teachers. The discussions reveal that many teachers framed citizenship as 'belonging' – a heuristic that was sufficiently malleable and open to embrace pluralism, and different scales of citizenry, while attempting to maintain a sense of cohesiveness. While 'citizenship as belonging' may hold appeal, the absence of critical debate about contested aspects of citizenship within the teachers' discussions is problematic. We argue that the New Zealand social studies teaching community vitally and urgently requires exposure to debates about 'citizenship' and citizenship education.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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  • Citizenship Teaching and Learning is global in scope, exploring issues of social and moral responsibility, community involvement and political literacy. It advances academic and professional understandings within a broad characterisation of education, focussing on a wide range of issues including identity, diversity, equality and social justice within social, moral, political and cultural contexts.
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