RE & Citizenship: a shared vision?
The Citizenship Foundation
Carrie Supple, former Redbridge SACRE member, is now working for the Citizenship Foundation as Project Support Officer. Here she describes the work of her organisation. Ted Huddleston, Curriculum Development Officer, then puts Citizenship into the RE context.
The work of the Citizenship Foundation
Our projects are particularly in the field of:
Healthy democracies need well-informed citizens who take an active interest in their community. They need people who value themselves and others and are aware of the contribution they can make to society.
Our work has extended across the spectrum of educational needs. We find examples of positive practice in schools, communities, councils and non-governmental organisations. We aim to share ideas and put practitioners in touch with each other, via our website (www.citfou.org.uk) newsletter and courses. We have contact with educators and human rights activists in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, South America, and Japan.
One of our challenges is to provide evidence of how good citizenship education can improve the atmosphere and practice in schools. We would argue that it is impossible for a school to foster democratic thought and action without providing opportunities for active pupil participation, and enabling pupils to feel they can make a difference.
Citizenship and RE
teaching pupils about:
teaching pupils to
RE can be an important vehicle in delivering key elements in Citizenship. Teachers of RE are more experienced than most in focused discussion work and at dealing with controversial issues in an even-handed and sensitive way.
However, RE is not the same as Citizenship. RE teachers may find they need to emphasise different aspects or focus on different elements of topics they are already teaching.
A topic on Martin Luther King may focus on concepts such as civil rights and social justice as universal moral and political ideals as well as on the religious motivation to social justice. A comparison of Christian and Buddhist beliefs about animal rights might also involve pupils in a discussion about what a 'right' is and whether such a term is applicable in the context of non-human animals.