Teachers’ receptivity toward moral, civic and national education: Preparing students to be “good citizens”

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Abstract

This study investigates Hong Kong primary teachers’ perceptions of civic education (known locally as moral, civic and national education (MCNE)) which may have an impact on how they prepare students to be “good citizens. MCNE is constructed, in particular, from social and political contexts which are reflected in the governments’ political agenda. Especially, at the political change stage, citizens are expressing the wish to elect the Chief Executive (CE) in 2017 and Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2020 by universal suffrage (Leung, 2014, in press). It has highlighted the importance of the educational system as the primary societal system through which youth learn to engage in the larger community and political arenas. For that reason, education, particularly MCNE, plays a critical role for equipping students with civic capacity for universal suffrage. Rather serving as “political socialization” which socialized students with certain values and attitudes to uphold sociopolitical order, helping students to be active agent in learning, organizing and selecting and making meaning of information and experiences to be active citizens (Haste & Bermudez, 2014). A mixed methods sequential explanatory design was used, and involved collecting qualitative data after a quantitative phase to explain and follow up on the quantitative data in more depth. The quantitative study was carried out with 131 primary schools with 1,089 teachers. Twenty nine teachers from twelve schools were chosen for the qualitative interviews. The findings of this study indicated that teachers’ perceptions of “good citizens” were beyond Knowledge Characteristics, Conservative Characteristics and Social Concern Characteristics (such as knowledge of current events, take part in activities to protect the environment, abiding laws and participate in community services), but also possessed Critical Active Characteristics (such as concern for social issues by voicing out their views, CTS, participate in political affairs). While, teachers’ perceptions of “good citizens” have changed, teachers still held reservations on participation in protest as an important characteristic of “good citizens”. In additional to personal factors, contextual factors played an important role in teachers’ concepts “good citizens”.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

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citizen
teacher
education
student
suffrage
political socialization
moral education
political agenda
community service
social issue
political change
qualitative interview
educational system
protest
primary school
Hong Kong
participation
Law
event
school

Citation

Wong, K. L. L. (2015, June). Teachers’ receptivity toward moral, civic and national education: Preparing students to be “good citizens”. Paper presented at the Redesigning Pedagogy: Leaders, Values and Citizenship in 21st Century Education, held in conjunction with 11th International CitizED Conference and the Arts, Humanities and Literature Conference 2015: Redesigning pedagogy: Leaders, values and citizenship in 21st century education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.