Alessandra Santoianni, MSc

Teachers’ professional development for Civic and Citizenship Education: the Italian case

Betreuung: Dirk Lange
Zeitraum: September 2018 – August 2022

Civic and Citizenship Education is essential to develop active and participating citizens. Citizenship Education in European countries is a subject area that can be implemented in a whole school-culture perspective, in curricular activities as well in extra-curricular ones (Education at School in Europe Report, 2017).

This doctoral project, understands Civic and Citizenship Education as a discipline dealing with the “everyday orientation”, involved in the micro-politics of everyday life of different groups that are within and outside the school context, as argued by Lange (2008). In addition to this, the subject is understood as problem-oriented; the assumption is that this understanding of the subject can ensure the development of skills to not only maintain the “democratic status quo but rather, seeks to develop citizens’ ability to judge and act, which thus enables them to rethink and reframe citizenship principles and structures, especially those involving critical thinking and political participation” (Lange 2008).
Teachers, school heads and the whole school culture are key to implement the subject in a way that is truly emancipatory for students. Therefore, this project addresses the teaching process and teachers’ preparation and training on this subject, particularly focusing on how teachers broach the topic of civic and social engagement.

Due to current proposals of reforms both on the subject and on teacher training, the Italian case will be considered.

In Italy, Civic and Citizenship Education it is thought by teachers of social science subjects (such as history or geography as clarified by the ICCS Italian Report 2016). Teachers do not have to be certified or trained on the subject in order to teach it. A training for secondary education teachers is offered by the National Institute for Documentation, Innovation and Educational Research (INDIRE) as clarified by the ICCS, 2016 Report and by accredited organisations (MIUR National Training Plan, 2016). However, it is not compulsory (ICCS Italian Report, 2016).

This research project has three general objectives.

The first one is to contribute to the systematisation of research on Civic and Citizenship Education as a school subject in secondary education through research on its subject-specific didactical features. This will include, amongst other, addressing topics such as teachers’ role in the design of the curriculum, the definition of learning objectives, the definition of evaluation and assessment of the subject and the definition of the content thought.

The second one is to further shed a light on the relation between teachers’ preparation/training and the construction of their beliefs on the topic of civic and social engagement.

The last one is to understand (and eventually rethink) the policy framework for teachers’ preparation and training on the subject in Italy. As previously mentioned, teacher’ continuing education is in fact not systematic and subject to the willingness of the school and of the single teachers.

This study would in fact provide paths for evidence-based policy making and recommendations on educational policies in both teacher education and curriculum design of Civic and Citizenship Education. In particular, this project aims to intercept the public policy cycle in the stage of problem definition/problem structuring as described by Dunn in his model of the public policy cycle (2007).