Students’ understandings of citizenship and citizenship education in selected public and private secondary schools in Chile

Leal Tejeda, Paula Alejandra (2018) Students’ understandings of citizenship and citizenship education in selected public and private secondary schools in Chile. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This study is justified by a renewed interest in citizenship in both the international and the Chilean education context. Throughout history, it has often been difficult to conceptualise citizenship, but there is a consensus that it is a desirable status and condition, and that education plays a crucial role in the development of citizenship. Approaches from which to understand and implement citizenship education are also diverse. Research on civics and citizenship education has been conducted worldwide and in Chile, especially in the last decades. These studies and the revived importance of citizenship, the globalised scenario and the new context of democracy after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), have prompted governments to review citizenship education in Chile, design curriculum reforms to make it more relevant to students, and help them to develop the competences needed to practise their citizenship. However, there is still a lack of research that explores citizenship education in Chile and takes students’ views as a priority, particularly in secondary schools.
This study provides insights into what secondary school students understand by citizenship and citizenship education in Chile, and how the education system through the curriculum and particular types of school, influences those understandings.
A qualitative case study was conducted in one city in southern Chile over five months in 2013, with grade 12 students (aged 17-18), their head teachers, teachers of the subject History, Geography and Social Sciences, and their parents. Two secondary schools, one public–secular and one private faith-based, were chosen as they portrayed the current situation of citizenship education in provinces in Chile and helped to compare different types of schools regarding the delivery of citizenship education.
Study findings show that students’ understandings of citizenship and citizenship education are influenced by the intended and implemented curriculum. Even when several reforms on education have been carried out, the discourses, ideologies and objectives embedded in official government education policy documents have not significantly changed in the last two decades. One explanation is that the policy-makers involved in the enactment of reforms are influenced by ideologies of groups that seek to maintain unequal relations of power. What students understand by citizenship and citizenship education align with the official discourses in the curriculum and textbooks, but those understandings and the sense of citizenship they have developed are not connected to what has been delivered in citizenship education. Regarding students’ experiences of citizenship, these might be either helped or hindered by their families, the school ethos and local community.
Regarding the contribution to knowledge, this thesis has addressed the limited research on what students in Chile understand by citizenship and citizenship education, and the link between their understandings and the school curriculum. It also adds knowledge to the existing literature on discourses and ideologies in education, different types of curriculum and school ethos. This study contributes to informing decisions of policymakers to improve the education system, the curriculum and particularly, citizenship education, considering the need for better training of teachers, an updated understanding of citizenship education and the diverse types of schools, a review of the discourses embedded in education policy, and overall, the need to hear students’ voice and include their views in the enactment of education documents.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F2201 South America > F3051 Chile
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary education. High schools
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0980 Types of education > LC1090 Political education > LC1091 Citizenship
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2019 15:27
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2019 15:27
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/81412

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