Rethinking the citizenship education curriculum: How to meet the needs of twenty-first century citizenship

Research output: Book/ReportBooks


Almost ten years ago the world stood on the brink of this new century with hopes and dreams for a new age. It could have been an age that was more humane, more kind, more accommodating, more tolerant, more accepting, less confrontationist, less combative, less confronting, less selfish and less hurtful. Yet this new age has not come to pass. The first decade of the new century has instead witnessed a range of calamities including international terrorism, financial meltdowns, ongoing wars as well as new ones and even natural disasters such as tsunamis have wrought both physical and spiritual damage across the region. This backdrop, that constructs postmodern schooling, provides the context in which the school curriculum seeks to prepare ‘citizens in the making’ to meet the challenges of our time. Being a citizen in these perilous times requires knowledge, skills and values that can sustain both individuals and the societies in which they live. Citizenship creation very often starts in schools although it by no means ends there. This lecture will focus on current and recent research that has sought to enhance understanding of the citizenship curriculum, its function, form and content. It will also look to the future and identify new possibilities for a research agenda that might contribute to the development of citizens as this new century progresses. The nature of the school curriculum will initially be explored since it provides the immediate framework for citizenship education. Out of this framework emerges a ‘space’ for citizenship education. Its specific curriculum function and forms will be investigated in an attempt to identify the most effective curriculum and possible delivery mechanisms. At the heart of any curriculum is content – knowledge, skills and values. A recently developed model for the citizenship curriculum will be introduced and analyzed and the dominant Western model of ‘active citizenship’ will be critiqued because its ideological orientations are too narrow for our present times. Finally, a futures orientation will be taken towards the citizenship curriculum. The purpose is to ‘unlock’ curriculum making from its reliance on narrow ideologies and technical specifications. Instead, new technologies and new advances in social and learning theory will be explored so that emerging priorities can be addressed in the ongoing creation of the citizenship curriculum for uncertain and unpredictable times. Copyright © 2009 The Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherThe Hong Kong Institute of Education
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Kennedy, K. J. (2009). Rethinking the citizenship education curriculum: How to meet the needs of twenty-first century citizenship. Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Institute of Education.


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