Citizenship Through Secondary Geography – LAMBERT; MACHON (CSS)

LAMBERT, David; MACHON, Paul. Eds. Citizenship Through Secondary Geography. London & New York: RoutledgeFalmer, 2001. 209p. Resenha de: MEYER, John. Canadian Social Studies, v.38, n.2, p., 2004.

Two previous books on citizenship through (history, English) have been published in the Citizenship Education in Secondary Schools Series edited by John Moss. In this third book, one must read both the Preface and the concluding chapter (13th) written exclusively by British educators in order to understand the intent (pp. xvii-xix), the difficulties in writing the chapters (pp. 199-202), and the general contents (pp. 203-208). Chapters 2-5 contextualize citizenship in geography education historically, internationally and through processes of values education that have long been advocated for use in geography classrooms (p. 203). Chapters 6-10 explored the capacity of geography as a school subject to help pupils’ encounters with environmental debates, with questions of identity and community, with ‘otherness’ and exclusion (p. 203). Chapters 11 -12 take the discussion right back into school, reviewing appropriate classroom pedagogies for citizenship education and discussing issues arising from the tensions that inevitably arise when change is advocated or imposed (p. 203). The U.K. government mandated that values education will be taught both as a fundamental subject starting in 2002 as well as a topic integrated with various subject areas in all schools at certain age levels through the revised geography National Curriculum and the 1999 Order for Citizenship statutory policy. Hence, this book and this series attempt to provide a predominantly theoretical underpinning with some specific suggestions for classroom teaching and learning. The authors have wrestled with the complexities of values education from definitional problems through curricular implementation issues.

The concept of change stalks this book (p. 2) and is also evidenced in the plethora of similar publications published in the U.K. and the U.S.A. before, during, and after the appearance of this book. A present and future issue that emerges for me is what are the results of this implementation in the U.K. or in any nation where civics or citizenship education has been mandated? It is clear that the authors, mostly teacher educators and researchers, think that statutory values education is pedagogically positive within the appropriate classroom environment, by a skilled teacher, and with an accommodating subject discipline. In some provinces of Canada and most states in the U.S.A. values education, civics, and moral education have been intermittently explored and promoted for at least the past 30 years. Where implementation of such content has been achieved, it has mainly been due to personal leadership, public opinion, and cooperation with educational authorities.

The audience is identified as teachers of geography (p. i) but my conclusion is that it is for teacher educators and highly motivated U.K. secondary teachers of the social sciences, particularly geography teachers. It is a serious read for those teachers who seek an in-depth understanding of the complexities of applying values education to the subject or discipline of geography. Since most of the articles assume a good knowledge of the U.K. national educational reforms and government mandates and their acronyms, this book will challenge and enlighten those in other countries who wish to know the developments of the promotion of values education and its implications for the geography curriculum in the U.K. The references of the U.K. literature over the past 20 years are fairly exhaustive and exclusive to the U.K. While it does provide a few practical teaching suggestions in a couple of chapters, this collection of essays is clearly not a curriculum resource in the sense of providing models of classroom lessons. One attractive feature of the book is the use of many figures, tables, and boxes throughout the essays. Also, there are a series of Further Questions at the end of each chapter.

The four chapters in Part I by Marsden, Williams, Slater, and Butt provide interpretations, perceptions, and a few suggestions for citizenship education and geography from an historical, an international, a conceptual, and a contextual perspective. Williams (pp. 34-39) reminds us of the efforts achieved by the IEA study, Japan, the Republic of South Africa, and Australia. Slater stresses active participation and experience in learning and concludes that by 2010 postmodernism will stimulate further changes in and clarification of concepts, teachers, and tensions. Butt (pp. 74-82) introduces the reader to some useful frameworks and curricular resources for active global citizenship, particularly Oxfam’s (London, 1997) A Curriculum for Global Citizenship.

Part 2, Curriculum Issues features eight authors who write more directly about geographical issues of space, identity, and the environment. Morgan attempts to ‘unpack’ the idea of community and how it relates to the work of school geography teachers (p. 87). He advocates the notion of three communities, i.e., local, national, and global (p. 90). Jones (pp. 98-107) attends to human geography, sociology, and the promotion of a geography of inclusion. Edwards examines how one belongs or fails to belong societally as a citizen which in turn reflects the prevailing structures of socio-economic power and authority. The concept of the citizen’s identity with the nation state is being undermined by the increasingly complex patterns of interconnectedness with larger political and economic networks, such as the European Community, the Asian Community, and the North American Free Trade Alliance. Edwards’ response is to refute the concept of place as nation as too exclusive and he warns geography educators of using the subject as a purveyor of nationalist sentiments (p. 119).

Machon and Lambert, focus on the issue of curriculum, specifically content selection (p. 122). They have selected the Holocaust because of its political, geographical, and pedagogic implications. In the context of citizenship, the issue is considered as the denial or exclusion from citizenship (p. 122). The second part of the essay is a description of a student teacher field study to Auschwitz in Poland. This experiential learning activity is a powerful means of extended learning and can be replicated in North America by field studies to a Holocaust museum and/or one of the many visual media productions which focus on the Holocaust. The authors challenge geography teachers to move beyond traditional discipline boundaries: Our position is that geography (like any subject) is limited if it turns in on itself and chooses to serve only itself, shunning tough questions about its contribution to deeper moral thought (p. 141).

Huckle turns to the issue of ecological citizenship, ecological democracy and citizenship in the context of globalization and the need for global democracy (p. 144). The statistics in the excerpt from the 1998 UN Human Development Report are shocking. Huckle’s conclusion suggests that the content and process of school geography might be shaped in three ways: teachers as transformative intellectuals; detailed guidance about a framework of learning outcomes; and a focus on the new sphere of the foundations of social structure as the goods and services people consume (pp. 155-158).

The final two chapters by Wade and Biddulph respectively are complimentary to the issues of global citizenship and to pedagogical questions. Teachers will find these articles most relevant to their lives in the classroom and they must be read in detail. Wade (pp. 161-180) presents the challenges for this century as well as a new definition of global citizenship, a role-playing activity, and how schools must change to reflect global citizenship. Biddulph (pp. 182-194) explores appropriate pedagogies for citizenship education which inform geography teaching and are based on clear and sound curriculum goals (p. 182). Her experience as a teacher, teacher educator, and curriculum specialist is evident. It should be noted that the content in both articles on the school environment, democratic classrooms, and learning styles has been extensively explored in the North American literature.

The editors and authors have achieved their objectives. Much of the material in this collection is seminal in terms of fundamental issues both in citizenship education – including values and moral components – and in geography education. The scope is broad and the limitations are noted. The strategies and classroom implementation issues are secondarily suggested, sometimes in boxes or graphics, but for extensive and significant frameworks and lesson plans one must look elsewhere. The material is exclusive to the U.K. in content and context. However, one can learn from this work in terms of the nature and the long struggle to establish citizenship education in the U.K. Combinations of chapters could easily form the basis for a series of sessions in professional development and/or related teacher education courses. The teacher educator, the curriculum specialist, the school system resource person in social sciences, and the motivated secondary geography and/or social science teacher will profit most from such a reading.

My review has provoked an interest to know the learning results of such statutory implementation in the U.K. and of the required Civics course in Ontario. While the literature is abundant, classroom implementation is often sparse, fractured, and seldom perceived as a priority. Components of values development, political literacy, and citizenship education are usually incorporated in some curriculum through the social sciences, and the social studies, or by specific courses in history, politics, and civics. In Canada, sufficient and appropriate assessment and research, if any, on learning outcomes, teacher knowledge and skills, and the classroom environment as these relate to citizenship education have not been undertaken at the jurisdictional and/or system level. Nor has the political will and resources been present due to other educational and jurisdictional priorities such as the sciences, math, communication literacy, and rapid changes in the teacher corps all within a context of budgetary restraints. When and will these challenges and logical imperatives be accepted? John R. Meyer (Retired)Faculty of Education. University of Windsor. Windsor, ON.

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