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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

Global Citizenship Education in British Secondary Schools: Teacher

Beliefs and Practices Regarding the Development of Global Citizens

Francisco Ahumada, Collin Andersen, Chelsea Constantino, Matthew DePalma, Julia Eldridge,

Rachel Forte, Matthew Franco, Sarah Norman, Elaina Rampolla, Sean Rogers, and Joseph Smith

Submitted Paper in Partial Fulfillment

for the degree of Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction

University of Connecticut

May 2018
 
 
GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

Table of Contents

Abstract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Review of Literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Context of the Problem Space​ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

British Context ​. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Citizenship Education​ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Evaluating Sources in the Digital Age​. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Empathy​ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81

Future Implications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .96

Potential Extensions for Future Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .100

Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .102

Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103

A: ​Glossary​ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103

B: Global Citizenship Education Research Survey with Consent Form . . . . . .​106

C: Global Citizenship Education Research Interview with Consent Form. . . . ​114

D: Follow-Up Email of Interest . ​. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119

E: Conceptual Framework​ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120

References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .121

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

Abstract

The aim of our study was to find out British teachers’ perceptions of global citizenship

education. In addition, our aim was to see how those beliefs manifested in classroom practices.

Surveys and interviews were completed by humanities teachers in Nottinghamshire County,

England, in order to explore their perceptions on how global citizenship education is represented

and taught within their classrooms, schools, and country. We have defined global citizenship

education as a practice in which pupils are given the necessary skills to analyze, participate, and

affect change on a global scale. We found that participants believe that global citizenship

education gives students the opportunity to improve on community participation as well as

empathy skills. We also found that participants believe that global citizenship education does not

have to be primarily implemented in classrooms. Global citizenship education fits in humanities

classrooms as well as school wide programs. The implications of this study deal with the skills

and training necessary to implement global citizenship education as well as the implications for

the British National Curriculum.

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Introduction

Thanks to recent technological innovations such as the internet, the world is increasingly

becoming a global village. News, ideas, opinions, and people are able to travel faster than ever

before and reach every corner of the globe. International coalitions have brought countries closer

together with the goal of strengthening ties and working together on common issues. As

international communication, transportation, and cooperation grows, the world becomes a

smaller and more interconnected place. In 2016, however, the world experienced a series of

events that seemed to challenge the wave of globalization. Populism and nationalism fueled

Brexit, the United Kingdom’s decision to withdraw from the European Union, as well as

America’s election of Donald Trump who ran on the platform of “America First.” These events

signify a strong resistance to globalization and have raised serious concerns over the future of

these countries commitments to an interconnected world.

As the United States and the United Kingdom move against the tide of globalization,

schools may have to put more importance on preparing students to become citizens of their

respective country rather than citizens of the world committed to understanding and participating

in worldwide events. The primary educators of citizenship education are social studies teachers,

and it is our responsibility to provide students with the content and skills necessary to engage in

democratic society in a responsible and beneficial way. As such, we believe that one has to be a

citizen of not just the local and state community but also the global community. One way to

promote global citizenship is to educate students about how they can participate in the global

community through global citizenship education.

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Global citizenship education gives students the necessary skills to analyze, participate,

and affect change on a global scale. Global citizenship education emphasizes critically

evaluating sources for a greater context, promoting empathy between world cultures, and

community involvement. By promoting empathy for diverse cultures and providing students with

the skills necessary to navigate the complicated digital landscape, teachers can provide a greater

understanding of globalization and participating in a global community.

This study seeks to answer the questions: “What are British teachers’ perceptions of

global citizenship education? How do those beliefs manifest in their classroom practices?” This

study identifies the attitudes of British educators towards global citizenship and analyzes the

pedagogical approaches they use to prepare students to understand and navigate an

interconnected world. Through conducting surveys and interviewing educators in Nottingham,

England, this study investigated the ways in which empathy, extracurriculars, community

involvement, and the British National Curriculum affect global citizenship education in the UK.

We found that participants believed that teaching global citizenship education was a priority and

that giving students opportunities to practice community participation was crucial to this idea.

Additionally, we found that participants believed that global citizenship education could be

developed through empathy. This study examined the challenges of the implementing global

citizenship education in British schools and considered what the future implications are for this

subject. Finally, this study considered potential extensions for research and how global

citizenship education research can be conducted in the United States.

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Literature Review

The literature review discusses several topics that provide a background to understanding

global citizenship education in schools in the UK. The first section will discuss the problem

space of our inquiry project. The second section discusses the British context in which global

citizenship education is understood. The next section looks at the main ideological beliefs

behind citizenship education in England and its purposes. The following section discusses the

increasing importance of the evaluation of sources in the digital age. The last section discusses

the role empathy plays in the classroom. These topics will help to build an understanding of the

main ideas upon which our inquiry project rests. Major themes we will focus on in this section

will be how the British school system addresses both British citizenship and global citizenship,

and how citizenship education in schools has changed over time. Additionally, the ways in which

British citizenship education plays a role in global citizenship education experiences for pupils

and the types of skills that are focused on in these classrooms, such as evaluating sources and

eliciting empathy, are noted as well.

Context of the Problem Space

As social studies educators, we will consistently be pushed to address controversial issues

in the classroom both by our curriculums and by society. The teaching of controversial issues

comes naturally to the social studies teachers, particularly in the teaching of history. History

educators are meant to address these issues in their lessons on a day to day basis. With social

studies education in the United States focusing on critical thinking, controversial issues such as

politics, race-relations and others can be analyzed in ways other subjects are not equipped to

address. Furthermore, the present day political climate has brought forward many controversial

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ideas. For example, activists in the United States and United Kingdom have voiced beliefs that

democracy itself could be under threat with issues of “fake news” spread by populist political

campaigns that have been run in both countries. These problems, which are spread through the

ever-evolving process of globalization, have a huge impact on social studies education. Looking

particularly at British educators, we wanted to examine what information was available about the

issues social studies educators are currently facing.

One major issue that has shaped the current political landscape across the world is the

rise of Donald Trump and other populist movements. However, the word ‘populism’ is a

nuanced term that is incredibly difficult to truly understand. According to Bonikowski (2016),

populism is “a form of politics predicated on the juxtaposition of a corrupt elite with a morally

virtuous people.” Bonikowski argues that populism is the direct moral conflict between the

common people and the elite who are perceived as corrupt. These moral discrepancies cause the

voting populace to come together against traditional politicians for, what they perceive to be, the

good of the people. Therefore, populism and the age of misinformation, or “fake news”, connects

to the importance of having a population of citizens who are educated about policy and can have

an informed vote based on this information rather than fear or moral arguments. Bonikowski

argues that populism resonates with voters who are acting based on frustration with the status

quo. This makes sense as many of these voters base their values on emotion rather than logic.

Perhaps, one could conclude that both the results from the Brexit vote and 2016 U.S. Presidential

Election are examples of this emotionally-based voting pattern.

James Dennison and Noah Carl suggest that Brexit was not simply a response to the

current status quo, but rather a 40 year debate over national sovereignty (Dennison and Carl,

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2016). According to Dennison and Carl, Lord Ashcroft’s large post-referendum Brexit poll

showed that overall national sovereignty may have been just as big a justification for those who

voted to leave the EU as was the highly debated immigration policy. These authors argue that

England was the least integrated nation into the EU and has been consistently attempting to

assert its national identity and internal control. In addition to England’s claim that 30% to 60%

of the British public has always been opposed to EU membership since the 1970s, the question

of how an education in global citizenship can be used to promote a unified world as well as meet

the needs of individuals who also believe in strong national sovereignty has been highly

contested by many social studies educators (Dennison and Carl 2016).

The notion of ethnocentrism can be seen in Jens Aage Poulsen’s, “​What about Global

History? Dilemmas in the Selection of Content in the School Subject History​”​,​ where the author

argues that with the rise of globalization, national efforts to teach most school subjects as

effectively as possible have risen throughout Europe. The subject of history is the exception to

these upgrades in curricula. Instead of allowing students to think critically and reflect on the

history of the world in which they are becoming more and more connected to, the

decision-makers of many European nations tend to place their nation’s historical narrative at the

center of their curricula, restricting many students’ access to the global perspectives and

narratives that surround them (Poulsen, 2013). Students in many European nations are not

learning about the world around them. Instead, efforts have been implemented by many

European nations that promote a nationalistic view of history, narrowing the amount of

perspectives that students are able to learn about.

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Though these sources seem to point towards the idea that it is the expectation of teachers

to use a nationalistic curriculum, globalization is present in today’s internet-connected world.

The concept of global education is also important because it encompasses many ‘big concepts’

such as international education, sustainable development education, global citizenship education,

twenty-first century skills, development education, and human rights education (Standish, 2014).

In a world where information from across the globe can be accessed instantly with a click of a

button, these skills play a key role in student success. They allow students to make informed

decisions in a world that is getting more and more interconnected. As educators we must focus

on global citizenship education to help students be better consumers and interpreters of

information. Yet, the basic principles remain. Terry Wrigley (2007) explains that we are

becoming more globally connected and therefore efforts to promote a more global education are

increasing. However, for a capitalistic society to succeed, workers who are clever enough to be

profitable, but not wise enough to see their society’s flaws are constantly needed. It seems that

capitalistic greed and populist powers could be working against the implementation of global

citizenship education.

After generations of citizens received an education with “British values” at the forefront

of the curriculum, it is worth noting that Theresa May in 2016 was declaring to her nation that

“We are going to be a fully-independent, sovereign country, a country that is no longer part of a

political union with supranational institutions that can override national parliaments and courts”

(Journal of Democracy, 2017). It seems as if the desire for national sovereignty is in odds against

a globalized world. Based on May’s declaration, the desire for the United Kingdom to adhere to

its own rules, ideals and cultural values are more important to the British people than a

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globalized Britain. One must beg the question of what British educators can do to change this

ideology. A globalized education would seem to be in almost direct conflict with the nationalistic

desire of Theresa May.

Britain’s teachers are not necessarily being prepared to address this new wave of

globalization, either. John Furlong focused on the issue of teacher education reform and

addresses the fact that education reform in England has been a thirty year long process. He also

examines how teacher preparation in England has transitioned from primarily lecture based

programs to ones in which teachers are given more hands on experiences (Furlong, 2013).

However, does this training potential teachers to truly be prepared to discuss global issues with

their students? To answer this, we must look at the British education system itself and the

expectations of teachers within the system.

In only the past ten years, the responsibility of the educator has shifted. According to

Furlong, it is now expected that the educator be accountable for the success of his or her students

based on the national expectations (Furlong, 2013). This shift came with a new highly politicized

push to make British schools more competitive and more globally respected. As said by former

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, like the labour and economic sectors of the United

Kingdom, the educational system has been more and more centered around global

competitiveness (Furlong, 2013). He argues that the English educational system, especially

when compared to its international competitors, will define the country’s future economic

growth (Furlong, 2013). It was expected that teachers be highly skilled and able to help their

students succeed in order to see these potential changes in the future. But the politics behind the

preparation programs and expectations of educators interfered with that end goal (Furlong,

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2013). Under Tony Blair, the education system had been pushed to the forefront of politics in the

UK and the government was essentially controlling how teacher candidates were prepared and

what students were being taught. Today, teacher candidates receive more hands on training and

the National Curriculum, now under its fourth iteration, is still in the process of being amended

(Furlong, 2013). However, this information leads us to question an even more important issue:

the politicization of the educational system.

Since the party in power, especially in the United Kingdom, drives how teachers are

prepared to teach and what is being taught, it is unsure whether or not there will there be room

for globalization in the curriculum. Furthermore, this politicization could point towards an even

greater danger of using populist teachings in the classroom. We must look at the context in

which this study will take place to answer these questions.

British Context

Social studies teachers are constantly faced with the difficulties of balancing multiple

histories, cultures, and perspectives into their teaching, as well as meeting curriculum and

national standards. As teachers from the United States we wonder, how does England, its

educators and its schools account for a globalized education? How does British education

incorporate and implement fundamental British values and a British historical past in a

globalized world? In a history classroom, how do these teachers maintain a global

interdependence, as well as a focus on themes of patriotism, national histories, perspectives, as

well as excluded groups and those viewpoints? Global citizenship education provides students

with academic knowledge about the world, as well as providing skills and connecting personal

identity beyond the national borders (Standish, 2014). Global education provides students with

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the ability to make connections between environments, and countries around the world, as well

as link knowledge, school subjects, humans and environments. It also enables students to look

beyond local and national boundaries and promotes the thought and consideration of multiple

perspectives before reaching a judgment (Pike, 2000). However, with different approaches and

varied beliefs on how certain subjects should be taught, there is the issue of favoring or

excluding certain interpretations over another.

In 1988, religious education was implemented throughout all schools. This was

interdisciplinary and made up of many subjects including anthropology, philosophy, theology,

religious studies, psychology and sociology. The sole and primary purpose was to explore the

“phenomenon of religion” (Revell, 2008). Implementing religious education hoped to give

students the ability to embrace the richness of contemporary religious life; however, religions are

not taught in the same way from school to school. For example, Lynn Revell explains that, Islam

can be taught in multiple ways and students can receive many different interpretations of the

religion. These mixed teachings can contribute to loose understandings and student

disengagement. According to Revell (2008), most times, the diversity of beliefs and practices

within Islam are excluded and neglected, and a Sunni interpretation is more favored than a Shiite

one (Revell, 2008). Religious education is considered a part of every child’s education, but the

curriculum in England varies among different communities. Some critics feel as though British

values and religious education has only taught students about becoming a model British citizen

while only tolerating other faiths and lifestyles. Some critics go even further to explain that

religious education discourages engagement, and may contribute to a rise in Islamophobia,

racism and antisemitism (Revell, 2008).

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Starting in the 1990’s, there was a resurgence of interest in citizenship and commitment

to nationality and identity (Smith, 2002). Even beyond religious education, citizenship education

is emerging throughout England as British schools have adopted this as a course for all students.

Citizenship education requires students’ understanding or knowledge about specific events,

institutions and the diversity of national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the UK as

well as a need for mutual respect and understanding through inquiry and communication skills

(Smith, 2002). Alan Smith argues that this is incredibly important for students, as they will be

learning the skills to communicate and acknowledge other diverse religions in England and the

world. Understanding and respecting these different national, regional, religious and ethnic

identities will allow students to participate and be more engaged in citizenship. The need for

citizenship education is a response from the British government in an ever increasing

competitive and complicated globalized society. Yet even though these citizenship education

programs are crucial for pupils, it is a difficult subject to teach. Without the proper training, the

ability for a teacher to teach their pupils about citizenship makes this a complex issue to study.

Citizenship education is generally taught in assemblies or has to be molded into the curriculum

which does not keep a simplified focus. As a course, it is not standardized, leaving teachers

unsure of how to teach their pupils about global citizenship. Though many teachers want to take

this subject head on, it is difficult to effectively and uniformly put it into action (Burton, 2015).

As a result, many other programs have been created in the recent modern era to accomplish this

goal.

After the London bombings in 2005, the British government tried to tackle homegrown

terrorism by initiating PET (Preventing Extremism Taskforce) which was comprised of different

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working groups addressing controversial issues such as youth and the role of women. This,

however, caused a lot of frustration among the Muslim-English community. Many critics

believed that the “PET initiative came to signify all that was wrong with government

engagement: it was rushed, conducted on the government’s own terms, and was limited to the

‘usual suspects’ rather than new voices within Muslim communities (Briggs, 2010).” In addition

to PET, “PREVENT” was created and is a part of the UK's Contest Counter Terrorism Strategy.

The purpose of PREVENT was to stop terrorist attacks, prevent people from becoming terrorists

or preventing them from supporting terrorism, as well as strengthen protection against potential

terrorist attacks and prepare citizens to mitigate the impact of an attack. The biggest problem

with the program was that it focused on appropriating to British culture rather than letting the

people targeted under the program express their own culture (Thomas, 2016). These

organizations that were created to improve the country or make it safer has had a lasting impact

on how culture and religion are discussed. It also affects the way students are taught to engage as

citizens in England and in the global world. Even thinking about the recent terror attacks and

bombings that have occurred in London, and Manchester, it will be fascinating to see how the

government and educators respond in the wake of these tragic attacks.

When attempting to teach about places that are distant to the UK, some difficulties may

arise on how the content is being taught. Unlike teaching British history in the UK, teaching

about the rest of the world has considerably more biases and perspectives than expected. When

educators have not directly interacted with a culture, it makes it difficult for pupils and educators

to relate to the content. Many times, the students have preconceived notions about different

places and cultures that affect how the students may learn about certain information. Teachers

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must be able to understand what the students think about the content area and work around

preconceived thoughts, in order to properly engage students and teach about the rest of the world

(Taylor, 2014). Teaching about the world through a British context can be difficult due to how

vague the National curriculum is. Britain’s curriculum does not have an area of focus, and only

general ideas need to be taught with no real direction given for the teacher. With this in mind,

only a handful of examples are being shown (Department for Education, 2014). This can cause

problems with uniformity since no two teachers will teach the same content due to variations

across cultures. Having a stronger focus towards certain content can improve how students learn.

Social studies and history educators give way to students accessibility to a globalized

education as well as students’ preparedness in interacting with the rest of the world and society.

However, with varied access and education, everyone goes through a different experience. This

idea of being an involved, globalized citizen through good schooling is a complicated topic that

begins firstly and foremostly with citizenship education, as opposed to global education.

Citizenship Education

Citizenship is a complex and abstract concept, and its definition takes on a unique

meaning in the United Kingdom. The term “citizenship” implies relationships between both the

individual and the state, and individuals in relation to one another (Anderson 2011; Bee and

Pachi 2014). The term also holds implications of social belonging, such as feelings of obligation

towards or responsibility for members of their community (Anderson 2011; Bee and Pachi 2014;

McSharry and Cusack 2016). When discussing citizenship education in the United Kingdom, a

national identity is not an inherent component of “citizenship,” as it is in the United States

(Anderson 2011; McSharry and Cusack 2016). “Citizenship” in the United Kingdom is more so

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understood as of belonging in a community instead of inheriting an already conceptualized

identity that may have forced aspects of patriotism or pride.

Citizenship education naturally expands on these ideas of citizenship. Having to do with a

shared feeling or obligation towards a community, citizenship education is about “teaching or

instructing” those “shared values” (Burton 2015, p. 88). It has less to do with a shared identity,

which some say is problematic due to the various political, civic, national, ethnic, or faith-based

duties that individuals may have on the European stage (Wilkins et al., 2010). Furthermore, there

is not a single model in England that teachers or instructors use to teach citizenship education;

some broach the subject explicitly through a class that may have a specific section of the course

while others take an approach based more in skills one can acquire rather than in content

(Burton, 2015; Etsyn, 2013; Ireland et al., 2006). The ways in which teachers may broach

citizenship education is reflective of the way that citizenship is perceived in English society.

Rather than citizenship education being a dialogue about voting rights, for example, active

citizenship is discussed moreso as one’s belonging to a community, and what actions they may

take to reflect those ideals (Ireland et al., 2006).

Expanding citizenship education to a global scale widens individuals’ expectations on

what it means to be a global citizen. Global citizenship education places an emphasis on

“perspective consciousness and inclusion,” and a focus on problem-solving skills that give

students the ability to stay involved in their global communities (Camicia and Zhu, 2012). As

English citizenship education reflects these ideas of inclusion in local communities, global

citizenship education broadens this concept to a global-scale. This is necessary due to

globalization, which has led teachers to feel that they must adequately prepare their students to

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“navigate” the ever-present changes that occur globally (Camicia and Zhu, 2012).

With recent events such as the 2005 London bombings, the war with Iraq, and current

political tensions in the UK, the National Curriculum was created to promote citizenship

education and global citizenship. These events have created a focus on the idea of a homogenous

British society by limiting international perspectives in the classroom. The National Curriculum

largely ignores world history and major advancements in human rights to teach citizenship

education; rather, they rely solely on demonstrating what good citizenship looks like through

teaching British history (Osler, 2009). This creates an ethnocentric version of the concept of

being a national and global citizen and separates pupils from what other countries, even those in

Europe value in human rights and democratic citizenship. These concepts reflect ideas of having

a “global” understanding of the world by learning about other places through familiar teaching

lenses which perpetuate British ideologies and modes of thought.

It is also important to consider the generational gap that exists between government

officials, teachers, and the younger pupils in Britain. Younger people have redefined what their

generation places value on in the realm of politics and political activism. While older generations

in Britain might have been more preoccupied with material and financial security, the younger

generation is reflecting a different set of political values, as a consequence of globalization. It is

important to understand how pupils define themselves, how they fit in and participate in national

dialogues and acts of global citizenship. This must be weighed against teacher and legislator

versions of citizenship, what it means to be a British citizen, and what British citizenship

education looks like (Ivanenko, 2014).

One of the major issues when looking at concepts of citizenship in Britain is the binary

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between those who want to focus on nation-building and those who want to focus global

solidarity. Those in the global solidarity camp are directly challenged by the influence of

Western ideas on the British school system and the European Union’s core value of “European

belonging” by not dedicating classroom time to studying global human rights or common

humanity. Subsequently, teachers feel they are ill-prepared to tackle discussions based around

global solidarity (Osler, 2011). One great issue that teachers face in British citizenship education

is that the meaning and underlying values of citizenship are not strictly dictated. This leads to

teachers receiving no formal training in teaching British values, which can in turn lead to

personal teacher biases or interpretations taking form in their classrooms (Peterson, 2011).

Ultimately, there is no clear understanding on British citizenship education, as stated by Diana

Burton in her research of the topic in secondary British schools:

Whether CE [citizenship education] is about participation or knowledge, a specialist


subject to be taught separately or as a part of a broader school remit, content and process
are often perceived as the same thing. CE is thus a contradiction, both conformist and
promoting a sense of participation whilst also encouraging debate on contentious issues
and possible dissent. (Burton, 2015)

Because teachers in Britain do not have any structure or specific curriculum to teach citizenship

education, pupils in Britain are not provided with the basic skills needed to operate as effective

democratic citizens. Pupils could benefit greatly from being proficient in searching for

information and critically evaluating both the information and the source of that information.

Teachers focusing on these skills in their classrooms and pupils being proficient in them allows

for young adults to make informed and confident decisions in their local, national, and global

communities and drives young adults to engage with politics more frequently.

This knowledge provides the foundation necessary to critically analyze the way that

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teachers in Britain use their classrooms as vehicles to prepare pupils to embark on the journey of

citizenship in the varying contexts that the aforementioned literature explored. As researchers we

have attained a notable understanding of how citizenship is framed within the British National

Curriculum and the role and experience of both pupils and educators in teaching, learning, and

practicing the skills of becoming a global citizen.

Evaluating Sources in the Digital Age

In the Information Age, access to digital media and online resources is easier than ever.

Through phones, computers, tablets, television, and a plethora of other mediums, citizens interact

with people and information from around the world on a daily basis. Around the turn of the 21st

century, people started to prefer the internet over libraries as their main source of research and

information gathering (Kelsch, 2002; Scott & Sullivan, 2000). The rise of social media has also

popularized the spread of information and provided an accessible medium for every person to

contribute in global discussions. These technological innovations allow people from a variety of

countries, classes, and ethnic backgrounds to learn about and discuss various events and issues.

Through the internet, more perspectives are able to voice their opinions openly and many groups

are able to organize and coordinate like never before (Mihailidis, 2011; Kahne et al, 2016). In

recent events such as the Arab Spring, people have turned to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

with the hope of “exposing corruption, demanding accountability, and maintaining a diverse

flow of ideas and dialogue across communities, across cultures, and across divides” (Mihailidis,

2011, p.4). A recent event such as the Arab Spring can show us that the digital age is opening up

different forms of communication, allowing voices from diverse backgrounds to expose

injustices in their local communities. Twitter and Facebook was a powerful tool that the people

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

of North Africa and the Middle East used to organize protests and bring their issues to an

international audience. More and more citizens are able to participate in activities that span

beyond their own nation, making the exchange of information across national boundaries at an

all-time high.

Despite the positive civic opportunities that the internet provides, there are many risks

and concerns regarding these digital sources that have the potential to undermine and counteract

the benefits of the Information Age. When dealing with the information-saturated internet,

citizens are exposed to misleading and often deliberately false websites in their search for the

truth. Without the ability to evaluate the credibility of the sources they encounter online, citizens

can and often will assume that these sources are accurate and authentic (Carlson, 1995; Barzilai

and Zohar, 2012). With these challenges and concerns in mind, it is critical that citizens obtain

the skills to evaluate the credibility of the information they encounter and identify deceiving

sources that threaten to subvert democratic institutions. If citizens can learn to effectively

evaluate digital sources, they can properly navigate the internet and engage with online media in

a responsible way that is beneficial to a democratic way of life (Berson & Berson, 2004).

With a growing amount of misleading and false information on the internet, there is an

increasing need to formally teach and develop source evaluation skills in schools (Braasch et al,

2009). There is no better place to hone these vital skills than a social studies classroom (Risinger,

1997; Berson & Berson, 2004). Social studies educators can help students develop their ability to

critically think and question the sources they encounter on the internet. With that being said, it

seems that students are currently delving into learning experiences of the internet during

independent usage more-so than at schools. While independent learning is useful for all students,

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it is important for teachers to build up the digital repertoires of their students so that students can

use technology in a range of contexts or adapt what they know about a digital activity to new

situations (Stevenson, 2013). Students predominantly rely on getting their news from other

sources than professional journalism, such as social media or blogs. Therefore, it seems that

there is a notion that teens are not interested in the news, but this is not the case. As teens are

seeing friends, family and the larger world on social media, it appears that access to news from

social media is just easier and more accessible (Marchi, 2012). With the knowledge of more and

more students learning about the internet through independent usage, as well as the rather new

ways that students are obtaining news and information, it seems that there should be a

responsibility for teachers to at least help students to make sure that what they are looking at is a

responsible and reliable source.

Through a variety of pedagogical strategies, teachers can model what responsible source

evaluation looks like and give students authentic opportunities to practice. These lessons can be

used throughout the various disciplines of social studies and can easily be interwoven into the

inquiry process (Braasch et al, 2009). After posing a question, students naturally begin to gather

resources in an attempt to find answers. During this phase of the inquiry process, teachers can

take the time to model what responsible information gathering and source evaluation looks like.

Students can then practice using these skills to gather appropriate resources in order to interpret

information, reach informed conclusions, and report their findings. Although there is no agreed

upon approach for preparing students for digital literacy, the basis for all source evaluation lies in

questioning. In order to get students to question the legitimacy of online resources, students must

learn to assess information using several criteria such as trustworthiness, readability, and

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

usefulness (Baildon & Baildon, 2012). Without proper digital literacy education, students often

determine the value of a website using invalid criteria such as charisma and physical

attractiveness of the source (Carslson, 1995). Social studies teachers can help students analyze

digital sources using more valid criteria such as author, date, and site domain (Braasch et al,

2009). By starting at the elementary level, students can refine and improve these evaluation skills

over the years and become critically thinking citizens able to responsibly navigate digital sources

(Shiveley, 2004). Through thorough evaluation, students can avoid faulty sources that seek to

manipulate their views and promote inaccurate and unreliable information.

The availability of reliable sources can be just as prevalent as the availability of

unreliable sources and this is something that teenagers seem to recognize. One key element of

many, if not all social studies classrooms, is introducing students to multiple perspectives of

historical events. Because of the growing availability of of digital sources, students seem to be

naturally looking at many different sources online. As Regina Marchi states (2013)​, ​“Young

people study, work, and live amidst more racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, and political diversity

than ever, they are even less inclined to accept news coverage from a single ‘objective’ point of

view." This comment is showing that students would rather listen to multiple opinionated

sources, rather than a singular point of view that is unopinionated. Since teens and students seem

to want to to look at multiple opinionated views, as well as the growing popularity of platforms

on the internet where people can share their opinions, teachers have an important role of teaching

media literacy in classes. Because one key part of social studies education is current events,

social studies educators have the extended responsibility of making sure students are getting their

current events from reliable sources. After giving students this tool, educators then hold the hope

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

that students will interact with news of their own nation as well as the rest of the world in a

responsible way.

If social studies educators can continue to teach digital media literacy in their classes,

they can help shape their students into responsible global citizens that are capable of interacting

with the rest of the world in a way that is conducive to civic discourse and our democratic way of

life. In the increasingly complex information age we are living in, global citizens need to be

digitally literate to learn about, discuss, and challenge local and global problems through the

technology they use every day. Digital media literacy empowers citizens to interact with more

perspectives than ever before, enabling them to hone other skills critical to global citizenship

education such as empathy.

Empathy

Empathy is defined as a skill that enables individuals to comprehend the experiences of

others (Leake, 2016). Employing empathy entails acknowledging and striving to understand

what one’s counterparts feel and think. Cunningham (2007) argues that practicing empathy is

substantially challenging for students and that teachers must consider factors such as students’

capacities, their methods of instruction, sequencing, and classroom environment in order to

effectively promote these skills. She states, “The teaching of empathy is sensitive to the social

dynamics in the classroom, and student cooperation is vital. Disruptions... or unappreciated

attitudes... tend to hamper empathy” (Cunningham, 2007). However, despite its challenges,

integrating empathy in the classroom reaps benefits on individual to global scales. Leake (2016)

believes challenging students to practice empathy results in:

...the cultivation of humanity in three particular capacities: the ability to think critically,
the ability to see oneself as bound to others as a citizen of the world, the ability to think
beyond factual knowledge... [and] the ability to think what it might be like to be in the

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

shoes of a person different from oneself and to understand the emotions and wishes and
desires that someone so placed might have.

Damianidou and Phtiaka (2016) build upon this idea, stating, “...empathy promotes

inclusivity and critical thinking skills that are essential for empowering marginalized groups to

live in dignity, take an active role in society, and developing an egalitarian word.” Providing

students with opportunities to practice empathy is challenging, however, there are clear benefits.

Empathy is a critical component of social studies courses. Saye and Bush (2002) state,

“Thinkers must have empathy, the ability to view the world from the perspective of another.”

Educators strive to cultivate students’ empathy skills with the intention of enhancing

comprehension of and engagement in the past. Students practice historical empathy through

employing their “knowledge of historical context,” and “ engaging in activities that challenge

them to relate to past individuals” (Cunningham, 2009). Endacott and Pelekanos (2015) explore

a case study where a middle school social studies teacher aims for students to practice empathy

in a lesson on Ancient Athens. The teacher believes:

Historical empathy can help students understand the Ancient Athenians’ need for social
control, compare social control in ancient/modern contexts, and form reasoned judgments
about the need for societies to exert some level of control over its members. (Endacott
and Pelekanos, 2015)

Incorporating opportunities for students to practice empathy in the classroom enables

them to better understand the actions and decisions historical figures. Stuart Foster (2010)

believes, “...employing empathy in the classroom is not a moment of imagination, but

understanding.” Analyzings perspectives of the past allows students to connect with the lives of

those before them instead of disregarding them as barbaric and unusual.

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

However, when imploring students empathize with individuals of the past, teachers must

be weary of students’ presentism, the perception of the past through a modern-day lens.

“Students often ‘fall prey to presentism,’ for example, thinking the Ancient Greeks were ‘weird’

for having slaves” (Endacott and Pelekanos, 2015). In the case study mentioned above, the

teacher expresses she does not wish for, “students to condone or rationalize the actions they see

as unjust, but she does want them to make sense of them and contextualize them” (Endacott and

Pelekanos, 2015). Students’ contemporary biases can lead them to judge or condemn the past,

hampering their capacity to engage in empathy.

Cultivating empathy is further prioritized in social studies because of its connection to

community engagement on local and global scales. Leake (2016) states, “one reason so many

people are turning to empathy now is because we are concerned about the fragility of social

relations and understanding, in our local communities and across the world.” Employing

empathy in the classroom allows for students to formulate an understanding of the lives of

people in their local and global communities.

Perceiving the world from various perspectives foster a sense of unity amongst mankind,

empathizing similarities across the experiences of individuals of different time periods, cultures,

ethnicities, socioeconomic statuses, and other defining features. As students strive to understand

the experiences of those different from them, they often develop a respect for and value of

diversity. Kaya argues the theory of connectivity between students and cultures is developed.

Kaya outlines that students will be able to make connections between individuals of different

backgrounds, realizing parallels that constitute the human experience (Kaya, 2016). Respecting

and valuing all individuals promotes students’ sense of responsibility to their communities and

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

care for the common good of society. The use of empathy in the classroom has the potential to

not only increase student engagement, but critical thinking skills. In a world where contemporary

issues dominate news media, the growing importance of global and interpersonal understanding

and its implementation through empathy is crucial.

Despite consensus in the humanities community regarding the importance of teaching

empathy, social studies educators disagree over which methods are most effective. While some

teachers believe students should play an active role in developing their empathic skills, other

believed assigning students a passive role is sufficient. Damianidou and Phtiaka (2016) explain

this point by outlining, “The more the students remain passive and silent receivers of knowledge,

the more easily and obediently they adapt to the world as it is, without resistance.” However,

when students are active participants in their learning, their ability to exercise empathy

flourishes. Cunningham (2009) believes that employing discussion, role-playing, and perspective

writing challenges students to put aside their predispositions and consider those of others.

Creating an environment where empathy can be cultivated enables educators to empower

students to develop their personal empathy skills. Through active engagement in lessons,

students are able to develop their empathic skills, enhancing their capacity to relate to others and

develop a sense of responsibility to their community.

Lessons where students are passively engaged, such as lecture, are less effective in

fostering empathy. These methods do not provide opportunities for students to contemplate the

experiences of others and instead present facts and information, prioritizing content before

critical thinking skills. Cunningham (2009) argues this eliminates opportunities for students to

autonomously or collaboratively discover the perspective, decreasing the depth of the

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

understanding. Also, student engagement in these methods is substantially lower, therefore

decreasing their investment to understanding the diverse experiences of mankind and their

commitment to promoting the common good through community engagement (Cunningham,

2009). Teachers that are able to successfully implement empathy into the classroom are able to

do so in two major ways. The first being to motivate students while creating a space to build

historical content. The second, to add to these foundations through direct implementation of

empathy into activities (Cunningham, 2009).

Employing the skills necessary to develop empathy into a classroom is a continuous

project. Motivation and historical context are key components of implementing empathy

successfully into the classroom. Through active engagement, teachers have the opportunity to

develop an understanding of peoples and places that goes beyond curricula. Endacott and

Pelekanos (2015) outline the four main stages that teachers should use in developing empathy in

the classroom. The first stage is the introduction period, where key content is presented. The

second stage is the investigative phase where students examination primary and secondary

sources which allow them to gain a deeper understanding of the context. The third stage is the

Display phase which offers the opportunity for students to share their learning and historical

understanding. The final stage is reflection. This stage not only gives students the opportunity to

reflect on what they have learned, but also how this learning can impact them as students (2015).

Although the practices in which empathy should be introduced into classrooms are

divergent, the importance of empathetic understanding remains constant. Empathy can create a

link between people and events in history and make it relevant and emotional for students in the

present. Social studies itself is a dynamic subject, housing topics as vast as economic market data

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

to the history of religion. Employing empathy in social studies classrooms allows for the

development of skills that can transcend far past the walls of a classroom. Empathy is a dynamic

skill that encompases emotion and intellectual understanding of not only the past, but the present

as well.

Conclusion

This literature review discussed a variety of topics that will impact our findings on global

citizenship education in the UK. To begin, we reviewed the context of the problem space and

why we felt it necessary to research this topic. The digital world in which we live is shifting the

way pupils experience current events and digest information; on top of this, current political

tensions have affected the way teachers address controversial issues. Thus, it seems more

pertinent than ever that pupils are able to learn how to be a global citizens in school, in addition

to being active citizens in their own home countries. Teachers may help students to become

global citizens through focusing on skill-work in their classrooms, through evaluating sources

and developing critical thinking skills through empathy. Ultimately, this literature review builds

a foundation for beginning to understand how British educators may educate their pupils on

being global citizens, which our research will ultimately help us to uncover.

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Methodology

Introduction

In order to collect data on the inquiry question regarding how global citizenship

education intersects with British humanities classes, the researchers conducted both surveys and

interviews. The survey was sent to 6 secondary schools in the greater Nottingham area, including

public, state run, and Faith schools. The survey’s intended purpose is to statistically measure the

importance that history and humanities teachers place on global citizenship education. The

survey was taken by 32 humanities teachers and had the choice to further explain their reasoning

for their declared opinions through a follow up interview. Twelve of the 32 teachers chose to

participate in the interview process.

Data Collection Sites

According to the Office for National Statistics, in the year 2013, the United Kingdom

population was an estimated 64.1 million. Of this population, 87.2 % of the population is white,

3% are black/African,Caribbean/black British, 2.3 % are Asian/Asian British: Indian, 1.9 % are

Asian/Asian British: Pakistani, 2% list themselves as mixed, and 3.7% are considered “other”

(CIA). Of the 64.1 million people living in the United Kingdom, 53.9 million are living in

England alone. For the purpose of this study, the researchers will be focusing their study on

different schools in Nottinghamshire, England and exclusively collecting data from humanities

teachers. Humanities includes the subjects of History, Geography, Religious Education, Politics,

Psychology, Economics and Sociology.

With this focus in mind, it is also necessary to examine exactly how the British education

system works on a local and national level. The types of schools pupils can attend in England

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

branch into 4 major sectors. The first 2 sectors are primary and secondary education which all

children in England must legally attend. Primary and secondary education provides schooling

and civic training for children ages 5-16. Once complete, pupils can either enter the workforce or

they can pursue the next two sectors: Further and higher education. In further education or FE,

pupils work toward attaining a more advanced, complete, or specialized education than what

they achieved in their secondary schooling. Those who choose to pursue FE are interested in

finding apprenticeships or work study opportunities to get into the field and explore their

passions, or to start their career path. FE is also how pupils get certified to work in their city if

that is what they choose. The last of the four sectors is higher education or HE. The defining

feature that sets HE apart from FE is that it is completed at a distinguished institution such as a

university or vocational college.

Because the research team is looking specifically at schools that provide secondary

educations (in some cases they include both primary and secondary), a brief description of the

various forms these schools can take are described below. The information was taken directly

from the gov.uk website:

State School: ​State school is the free education that is provided to every child in the UK.

Most of these schools are funded by revenue generated from taxes, thus most are required to

follow the UK’s national curriculum. State school is the most popular form of schooling in the

UK educating 93% of the pupil population. Many pupils are placed in state schools based on

location, but some schools have special admission requirements. Grammar schools for instance,

require pupils to take an exam and admission is based on academic performance.

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Faith School: ​Faith schools are also required to follow the national curriculum however,

they have the freedom to choose what they teach in their religious studies courses. Admission

varies among schools, but anyone can apply.

Academies: ​Academies are publicly funded independent schools. Unlike the previous two

types of schools an academy does not have to follow the national curriculum. They do however

have to follow the same rules of admission fairness, special educational services, and exclusions

as other state schools. Academies in England usually have sponsors such as businesses, faith

organizations, or voluntary groups that are accountable for the performance of the school.

Technical schools: ​Technical schools provide pupils the opportunity to hone their skills

in the technological arts. They are funded by the central government and offer courses such as

digital design and computer science.

Private schools: ​Private or independent schools in England charge a tuition for pupils to

attend. These schools are not required to follow the national curriculum, but they all must

register with the national government and are inspected regularly to insure pupils are getting a

well rounded education, and that safety standards are maintained.

The city of Nottingham, located in Nottinghamshire, England, has a population of

approximately 311,000 people with 71% identifying as white. The Asian populations make up

13% of the ethnicity demographics, black populations are slightly over 7%, and the remaining

9% listed as other (Nottingham City Council Population Statistics). The research was conducted

exclusively within the city of Nottingham and in its immediate suburbs. Because of this, the data

and findings of the study will not reflect the entirety of England.

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Figure 1 on page 33 provides information regarding the six data collection sites used in

this project. In an effort to further understand the data and the context of the schools within

Nottinghamshire, a brief description of each school is provided below:

School A

School A is a very small, high achieving independent school within Nottinghamshire that

teaches pupils 3-16 years of age. The school was founded in 1877 and began as a nun convent

which made the transition to a non-religious, all girls institution. In January of 2014, the decision

was made that the school would become fully coeducational. The school places an emphasis on

using its small size as an opportunity to work closely with pupils and individualize their learning

experience. They also place a significant amount of importance on fostering a culture of

community, respect, and self-esteem among pupils, staff, and parents.

School B

School B is a coeducational, secondary and sixth form (Further Education) academy

within Nottinghamshire. It was founded in 1972 as a comprehensive school. It serves about

1,000 students from both urban and suburban backgrounds across Nottinghamshire. The

proportion of students known to be of disadvantaged backgrounds and therefore are supported by

pupil premium is below average. Since 2005, the school has been designated as a specialist

school in arts, maths, and computing. This school promotes the pursuit of excellence and high

achievement through the holistic development of both pupils and staff. The 2014 Ofsted reported

School B as a “good” school.

School C

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School C is a secondary academy in Nottingham serving over 700 pupils. This school

received its academy status in 2003 making it relatively young. This school specializes in ICT or

information and communication technology. School C has received the ICT mark which is only

awarded to highest quality programs in the country. What really sets this site apart from the other

schools is that 68% of the pupils declared a language other than english as their first language. In

the past this school has been known for student behavioral issues and at one point required

special measures, a status deemed by Ofsted investigators to schools that fall short of standards.

School D

School D is an academy that provides primary and secondary education to over 1000

pupils and requires pupils to apply in order to attend the school. The school was founded in 1875

and is located just outside the Nottingham city center. The school’s focus is preparing confident

future leaders, and is well known for their arts and sports programs. The school has an excellent

academic reputation and is well recognized for its consistent levels of high achievement.

School E

School E is a secondary academy in Nottinghamshire. It is located in one of the

wealthiest parts of the county and is ranked regularly in the top 100 comprehensive schools in

the UK for GCSE results, and is in the top 2% in the UK for their A-Level results. School E has

also been judged by Ofsted as outstanding in every category. This school also serves pupils in

sixth form, 80% of which continue on to higher education. This is the highest achieving school in

the study and places heavy emphasis on science courses.

School F

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School F is a coeducational secondary and sixth form state school in Nottinghamshire

serving over 1500 pupils, 400 of which are sixth form. This school was founded in 956 making it

the longest established school in the study. It is not a faith school, but it is sponsored by a

Christian church and promotes Christian values. School F has received an outstanding mark by

Ofsted in 30 out of 31 categories making it the second highest rated school in the study. It

receives excellent feedback from both pupils and parents and is usually recognized for its high

academic achievement.

The following table (Table 1) provides a comparison of the schools. It describes the

number of students, the type of school, whether it is co-educational or single sex, it’s religious

affiliation and its assessment by Ofsted.

School A School B School C School D School E School F

Number of 220 1000 720 1000 1406 1601


Students

Type of Community Public Academy Academy Academy Voluntary


School School Converter Church-aided

Co-ed or Co-ed Co-ed Co-ed Single Sex Co-ed Co-ed


Single Sex

Religious None None None None None Affiliated with


Affiliation the Church of
England

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Ofsted Not Good Requires Not Assessed Outstanding Outstanding


Report Assessed Improvement By Ofsted
by Ofsted

Table 1: Table representing the basic descriptive features of each of the participating

schools.

This chart is an amalgamated visual representation of the basic information regarding the six

schools for easy reference and comparison.

Data Collection Methods

The data was collected using two main instruments: a digital survey and an interview.

The survey was distributed to humanities educators in the six aforementioned schools through a

Google survey link. These teachers are from a range of disciplines which include: History,

Geography, Religious Education, Psychology, and other humanity subjects. The survey can be

found in Appendix B. The interview can be found in Appendix C.

In the survey, teachers were provided with literature outlining the details of being a

participant in the study and ultimately made an informed decision on whether or not they will

continue on to answer the survey questions. If they decided to proceed they completed a series of

selected response and short answer questions which the research team used as the primary source

of quantitative data. The surveys were used to indicate years taught, subjects taught, age, and

gender to see if any trends persisted around their demographics.

The survey consisted of 29 questions, 28 of which are selected or scaled response

(quantitative) and one short response (qualitative). The qualitative questions focus on the

National Curriculum, global citizenship education, teacher practices, and how resources are used

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within the classroom to help teach global citizenship education. The survey asks the participants

to declare their level of agreement on a continuum about statements that relate to the

aforementioned topics. The short response question asked the respondents to explain the degree

to which teachers factor global citizenship education into their everyday practices.

The survey included questions that asked respondents to indicate how their beliefs

impacted their implementation of global citizenship education. One such example was

“Promoting global citizenship education is an important value I hold as a teacher.” They were

asked to respond to this question on a 5 point scale with selected responses of strongly agree,

agree, neutral, disagree, and strongly disagree. The survey also included questions that looked at

the rate at which teachers implement global citizenship education. One such question, “I

implement global citizenship education lesson plans in my classroom” asked teachers to answer

on a 5 point scale with selected responses of always, frequently, sometimes, rarely, and never.

The survey also included one short response question that asked teachers “to what degree does

preparing students to become global citizens factor into your everyday teaching?”. To observe

the complete survey instrument, see Appendix B.

The surveys were statistically analyzed to help us reach conclusions about the research

questions. More information on the survey analysis methods can be found in the upcoming “Data

Analysis Methods” section of the paper. At the end of the survey the informants had the choice

to further their participation and volunteer for a one on one interview. In total, the research team

sent surveys to 62 humanities teachers and 32 responded for a response rate of 51.6%.

The interview questions had teachers further think about and explain their thoughts about

global citizenship education. Beliefs on teaching global citizenship education, the subject that

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does the best job of promoting the skills and values global citizenship education, and how to do

it, as well as thoughts on global citizenship education on a national level were all discussed. The

interviews allowed for a better understanding of teacher practices and beliefs regarding global

citizenship education. It also allowed the researchers to relate this information back to the other

work that was conducted in relation to the Literature bins that were examined earlier in the

process.

These questions included aspects that were not explicitly mentioned during the survey, as

well as questions that asked participants to expand upon key ideas of the survey questions. For

example, in the interview we asked the participants “ How important do you feel global

citizenship education is in your classroom? Why?” which is an extension of the survey question,

“Promoting global citizenship education is an important value that I hold as a teacher.” We were

able to expand on the ideas of the promotion of global citizenship education in the classroom

with examples of how that may be put into practice. We decided to place a focus on the

resources that are used in the classroom that can aid with the learning of global citizenship

education. For example, we ask the question, “Can you give some examples of activities that

you’ve done in your classroom that promote global citizenship education?” This allows the

participants to think through their own teaching experience about what activities they have done,

as well as asking them to think about the specific resources they use to teach global citizenship

education. The interviews were then coded in order to use this information in conjunction with

the data from the survey. By doing this we are able to compare how the interview is able to

support the survey. An in-depth description of the coding process and the codes that were used

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can be found in the upcoming “Data Analysis Methods” section of the paper. To observe the

complete interview instrument, see Appendix C.

Out of the 32 participants who completed the survey, 12 chose to take part in the

interview. Each interview was completed with two researchers present in order to keep validity,

and ask follow up questions that the other researcher may have missed.

Before presenting our findings, it is important to make a note of the comparisons

we drew in this study, especially with the survey data. While specific sections below will draw

comparisons between respondents across humanities subjects, there were no other comparisons

drawn from demographic information. We defined humanities as History, Geography, Religious

Education, Politics, Psychology, Economics and Sociology. Our data was not dependent on any

aspect of a respondent other than the subject they are teaching presently or taught in the past.

Data Analysis Methods

After the survey data was collected and all of the interviews had been transcribed, the

researchers combed through the results in order to find trends among the respondents and most

importantly to observe relationships between the survey (quantitative) and interview (qualitative)

data. First researchers had to decipher the quantitative data from the survey. The data was

analyzed using descriptive statistics. Where inferential statistics looks to summarize data about a

population that the sample pool is thought to represent, descriptive statistics is summarizing the

data and drawing conclusions only about the population that was surveyed. To analyze this

statistical data the researchers made visual representations through pie and bar charts as well as

writing the results in complete sentences Ex) 60% of respondents identify as female. Having

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GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

these two different approaches helped the researchers find trends in the collected survey data. A

portion of our survey data analysis relied on finding the mean of responses based off a Likert

scale. These instruments asked participants to rank their feelings on a five point scale one being

never/disagree and five being always/strongly agree. By determining a mean, we were able to

better understand the spread of the participants responses. After survey data was analyzed the

researchers had to interpret the interviews. To help in further analysis of the interviews, they

were broken down and the data and noticeable trends were separated into codeable themes.

To create the codes the researchers observed correlations and contradictions between the

data collected in the survey and the interviews and then broke the findings down into specific

categories. These categories stemmed from and relate back to the main research question. The

codes are illustrated below.

The researchers utilized four main codes when discussing the data: “source evaluation,”

“curriculum pressure,” “teacher beliefs,” and “empathy.” One of the main ways that teachers

feelings toward global citizenship education manifested into actual classroom practice and lesson

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planning was through having students conduct source analysis. Teacher beliefs became a code

when the researchers realized that many participants discussed how their personal values affected

the way they teach global citizenship education and their desired outcomes for students as

citizens in the future. Teacher beliefs is also connected heavily to what courses the participants

felt was the best for teaching global citizenship education. Empathy was a common topic in the

fact that the “skills” of a global citizen as discussed by the participants are rooted in empathy. An

example of some of these skills include respect, support, the capacity to make informed

decisions, and taking action on those decisions. Lastly, curriculum pressure encompasses all the

comments participants made about either feeling smothered and constrained by the British

national curriculum and there other school responsibilities (such as GCSE and A-level

coursework) or feeling like the national curriculum does a good job of including global

citizenship education in their prescribed guidelines.

After determining the codes that would guide the analysis the researchers set out to apply

the codes to the interviews. Direct quotes and claims that supported the codes were collected and

organized for use by the researchers to inform the official findings of the study.

Validity and Subjectivity

The most significant source of bias in this study would be that the entire research team is

made up of American students collecting data in the United Kingdom. The researchers were all

educated in the United States where the curriculum standards differ in a significant way from the

United Kingdom. With this in mind, the researchers’ education all comes from the same

university, and in particular the same teacher training program. This program promotes ideas of

global citizenship education that may differ from that of teachers in the schools in the greater

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Nottingham area. Although the researchers are from the same University program, the

researchers derive from different primary and secondary schools, in different states. Because of

this, researchers may have learned different values and therefore may find themselves on

different ends of political beliefs. This can have an effect on some of the questions used in the

instruments.

As previously mentioned, all of the researchers come from the same university and the

same program with similar background knowledge on their beliefs about the purposes of social

studies education. The researchers’ definition of “global citizenship” has been forged from the

value that social studies educators in the United States, and in particular in Connecticut, place on

citizenship. When conjuring up the question of the importance of teaching global citizenship, the

research team realized there was a lack of knowledge about the English values of global

citizenship.

One area of bias that may have shown itself with this specific inquiry question were

current events that may have influenced the research team’s decision to pose this inquiry

question, as well as ask some of the questions in the instruments. With the recent events of

Brexit and numerous elections around the world, researchers approached the inquiry process

with the point of view that the world was turning towards a political stance of populism. Many of

the questions and the topic that was chosen were also predicated on ideas of the growing digital

age. As this digital age is growing, it is believed the world is becoming more globalized as

means of communication are expanding and communication with different countries seems more

accessible.

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In order to further make the inquiry question valid, researchers took time to look up the

different schools in which the instruments were distributed to. Research was also conducted on

the British National Curriculum, how sources are evaluated in this current political climate, ideas

of empathy, citizenship education and the context of the problem space that was inquired upon. It

should be noted however that it is inevitable that there was likely bias in the sources themselves,

and the sources that were selected.

With the purpose of ensuring that the interview and survey questions would get

thought-provoking answers, the interview questions were piloted with educators working at the

University of Nottingham, and the survey questions were piloted by students in the Post

Graduate Certification in Education program. Researchers decided it would be most beneficial

to triangulate the data by using both the survey and interview questions and using multiple sites

to collect data. By using multiple collection sites, as well as multiple means of collecting data,

researchers attempted to further ensure validity of research.

Although the research team consisted of eleven different researchers, in order to maintain

reliability, all researchers followed the same interview protocols when collecting this qualitative

data. In the analysis of the interview data, the group agreed upon clearly defined codes so the

coding process would be reliable. Most members of the research team had at least one other

researcher look at how they were coding the information. This process was done in order to

ensure that each member of the team was coding correctly and consistently according to the

group code definitions.

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Limitations

While conducting research for this assignment, researchers found there to be limitations

to their study. To start, teacher participation within the schools was limited. Because the study

was only intended for humanities teachers, the sample size of teachers that were available to

produce data was small. Of those humanities teachers, it appeared that willingness to take the

survey was low, so it took more than one launch of surveys in some schools in order remind

teachers to participate. The lack of willingness to participate may have also been attributed to

aspects of survey and interview fatigue. Schools had been a part of studies conducted by the

University of Connecticut in the past, so teachers’ participation may have been affected by their

previous experiences with survey and research questions.

Because of this lack of willingness to participate, of the 32 survey participants, only

37.5% participated in the interview. Yet, it was through the interview that we received the

majority of our data. While there was a small number of participants willing to be interviewed,

one of the six schools in particular had a significant amount of participants. Of the twelve

interviews, School D accounted for 41.6% of the data collected from interviews, meaning School

D had a significant say and impact on the outcomes of the data. This is significant as much of the

data actually used by the research team came from interviews.

Another limitation of the study was the amount of time that was allotted to conduct the

research. In only a four week time frame, surveys had to be distributed and analyzed and

interviews had to be conducted and coded. These factors may have been another reason for

smaller teacher participation. This was a direct limitation on the amount of data that was able to

be collected. Another limitation on the size of data collected was the geographic location of the

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study. The collection sites were all located in the Nottinghamshire region. The study is intended

to be an indication of England as a whole, however the limits in location hinder the research

team’s ability to make those claims.

Lastly, the demographics of the schools seemed to show that there was a limitation in

diversity. Out of the 32 participants in the study 96.9% of the participants indicated their

ethnicity as “White (English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, British).” The lack of diversity

does reflect similarities to the demographics of England, however the lack of diversity may limit

the range of answers and interpretation of questions as differences in ethnicity are signs of

differences in life experiences and therefore could also be signs of differences in decision

making in the classroom.

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Findings

Introduction to Findings

Our key findings from the research are that: 1) Participants believe that teaching other

content takes priority over implementing global citizenship education in their classrooms. 2)

Participants believe that giving students opportunities to practice community participation skills

during their school years will in turn help them become better global citizens in the future. 3)

Participants believe global citizenship education can be fostered through activities that develop

students’ empathy skills. 4) Participants believe that students have the opportunity to learn about

global citizenship education through school-wide programs as well as in humanities classes.

We will examine what future implications our findings may have on global citizenship

education including how educators define global citizenship education, possibilities for British

teacher education, and connections to the British National Curriculum. There are also

opportunities for further extensions of research within this topic and its relation to the United

States.

Below are tables outlining the basic information of the sample population that took part

in the survey. This information could prove helpful for further analysis and also to provide

context to the humanities teachers who the data came from.

Survey Participant Data

Percentage of humanities teachers who responded: (Table 2)

Schools School A School B School C School D School E School F

Percentage 66.6% 27.3% 62.5% 58.3% 37.5% 75%

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Percentage of years Humanities teachers who responded have taught: (Table 3)

Years Teaching 1-3 4-6 7-9 10+

Percentage 18.75% 12.5% 12.5% 56.25%

Percentage of Gender represented by Participants: (Table 4)

Gender Male Female Prefer Not to Answer

Percentage 37.5% 62.5% 0%

Percentage of Age represented by Participants: (Table 5)

Age 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+

Percentage 25% 40.6% 28.1% 6.3%

Percentage of Ethnicities represented by Participants: (Table 6)

White White White

Ethnicity (English) (Irish) (Other) Indian Other

Percentage 96.9% 0% 0% 3.1% 0%

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Interview Participant Data

Number of Participants by School: (Table 7)

Schools School A School B School C School D School E School F

Count 1 1 2 5 1 2

Number of years Taught by Participants: (Table 8)

Years Teaching 1-3 4-6 7-9 10+

Count 2 1 1 8

Gender of Interview Participants: (Table 9)

Gender Male Female Prefer Not to Answer

Count 5 7 0

Age of Interview Participants: (Table 10)

Age 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+

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Count 2 8 2 0 0

Ethnicity of Interview Participants: (Table 11)

White White White

Ethnicity (English) (Irish) (Other) Indian Arab Other

Count 12 0 0 0 0 0

1) Participants believe that teaching other content takes priority over implementing global

citizenship education in their classrooms.

Our research illuminated participants’ beliefs that the National Curriculum, an emphasis

on British history, and GCSE and A-Levels testing significantly inhibit the implementation of

global citizenship education. The pressures of adhering to the prescribed content make it difficult

for teachers to prioritize global citizenship education in their classrooms.

Impact of British National Curriculum on Global Citizenship Education

The British National Curriculum shapes the way in which English educators are held

accountable to timetables, examinations, and the content that they teach. As shown in Figure 1,

only 46.9% of the surveyed population are required to use the National Curriculum. However,

through interviews, the participants indicated that the British National Curriculum still provides a

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powerful framework for what is being taught in schools not required to use the National

Curriculum. For example, School D does not have to follow the National Curriculum but

chooses to stay close to its guidelines in order to ensure that their students are competitive

against other school systems. Participant 4 from School D stated, “It wouldn't be an advantage

Figure 1: Teachers’ Responses to the Survey Question: “Does your school require you to
use the National Curriculum?” (n=32)

for our [pupils] to do something completely different because then they wouldn't be getting the

same skills as the rest of the country and therefore we'd be putting in a disadvantage.” Participant

4 continued, “We aren't obliged to do [the National Curriculum] but it does tend to be fairly

similar because ultimately we're going to take the same exams as everyone else at the end.”

While the National Curriculum provides teachers with a guide for content, it has potential

to limit teachers’ ability to incorporate global citizenship education within their classroom

lessons. When participants were asked to respond to the statement, “The British National

Curriculum leaves a lot of room for teachers to implement global citizenship education” the

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mean of the participants was 3.3/5, with 1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree.

This indicates that the average response was neutral. Figure 2 shows that over 40% of the

participants agreed that the National Curriculum leaves a lot of room for teachers to implement

global citizenship education, while less than 16% disagree. However, 43.8% of the respondents

were neutral on this subject, suggesting that there is a wide variance of beliefs towards this

statement with no consensus among the participants.

Figure 2: Teachers’ Response to the Survey Question: “The British National Curriculum
leave a lot of room for teachers to implement global citizenship education” (n=32)

In contradiction with the survey data, many participants remarked in interviews that due to the

curriculum, it is difficult to implement global citizenship education. For example, Participant 8

stated, “We looked at particularly at transition work from Key Stage 2 to 3 and how we could

build [global citizenship education] in because once you get to 4 and 5, I’ll be honest with you, it

gets much, much harder because the syllabus is much tighter”. The demands of the curriculum

force teachers to avoid going in depth with some content so that they can cover the breadth of the

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curriculum’s subject matter. Participant 6 commented that teachers are only able to work around

their school’s curriculum rather than try to make the curriculum work with global citizenship

education.

But it’s hard trying to do [global citizenship education] and fit in the curriculum as well,
so it’s finding the gaps in the curriculum, rather than making the curriculum about it,
because you'd love to have a big kind of discussion of a lesson but you still got to meet
kind of the assessment…

While we found that the British National Curriculum provides a framework for teachers,

the participants commented on how it severely limits the amount of global citizenship education

they can implement. Teachers must prioritize the content in the National Curriculum and actively

seek out opportunities to incorporate global citizenship into the classroom when they get the

opportunity. However, there is disagreement amongst teachers about how strictly the National

Curriculum must be adhered to in schools. Participant 3 reflected on how the National

Curriculum has become more flexible in recent years by stating, “T​he National Curriculum isn't

perhaps as straitjacket as it once was. As in, even in state schools, you can sort of move away

from it if we want to. Whereas in the past probably you would be more hamstrung.”

When asked, ​“To what degree does preparing students to become global citizens factor

into your everyday teaching?” on the survey, 15 out of 32 participants responded with comments

about a general lack of time to incorporate this subject. A participant from School F answered,

“It's not the primary focus of the learning- but I do make links where I can to the larger picture.”

Another participant from School F echoed this belief when she stated, “I will highlight [global

citizenship education] when relevant, but it is not a focus”. With the British National Curriculum

largely determining the content of humanities classrooms, participants feel they must incorporate

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global citizenship education as more of an accessory to supplement the prescribed content rather

than make it a primary objective of learning.

Inhibitors to the Implementation of Global Citizenship Education

Participants feel the lack of time to implement global citizenship education comes from a

focus on British History at Key Stage 3 as well as GCSE and A-Level examinations as pupils

progress through the British Education system. A major constraint on the implementation of

global citizenship education comes from the overwhelming amount of British subject matter.

Eight of the 12 participants interviewed commented on the prevalence of British centric views

and historical content as a barrier to global citizenship education. Respondent 12 from School B

discussed how recent education reformers thought that teachers “Should be teaching more British

history” which makes it “harder, I think, to teach global citizenship because the world seems to

be becoming a smaller place.”

While the participants above contest that there is more flexibility in the curriculum at Key

Stage 3, the humanities subjects are typically dominated by British history at this level.

Participant 3 stated how “A lot of the history we teach is British History obviously; so we would

look at Year 7, we could look at how England became a different country after 1776.” Participant

6 went further and mentioned that “for history, it’s a bit of shame that a lot of it's gone to British

history and there’s been an increase in how much British history is taught.”

As students graduate from Key Stage 3 into Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5, they follow a

much tighter curriculum that places a focus on examinations and test scores. This focus on

testing has severe implications for the implementation of global citizenship education in the

classroom. With little time to focus on other topics that are not being covered on an

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examination, participants feel they are pressured into teaching to the test. The GCSE and

A-Level exams have significant implications for students’ futures, so the participants prioritize

the necessary content and skills that are required for students to perform well on examinations.

Five out of 12 participants explicitly stated that exams have a huge influence on their practice.

These participants remarked on how testing has negative implications on the education system as

a whole, as well as on how they are inhibited from teaching about global citizenship education in

their classroom. Participant 5 stated:

I have major issues [with] the British education system. I think that the way we test is
wrong. I think, and it's really interesting because standardized testing is everywhere, but I
think there is very little freedom in the curriculum particularly in state schools through
years seven, eight, and nine because of this idea that you have to do train them to answer
questions in specific ways and do a specific curriculum at GCSE.

This sentiment is also felt by Participant 1 who remarked on how the testing mindset influences

how pupils engage with learning, “‘[when a] hand goes up in my lesson and they say, ‘well this

isn't on the specification, is it?’ and I said ‘no’. ‘So we won't need to know this for the exam?’

‘No’. ‘Well, why are we doing it then?’ So for me, that's the exam mentality that we've got.’”

This mentality has led teachers to label schools as “testing factories” (Participant 1) and compare

schools to football clubs where headteachers are equivalent to coaches. Participant 10 stated:

The reality is that you get one set of results, you get bad set of results, you get a bad
OFSTED inspection and then you, the head, is gone. So that’s it, yeah , it's almost
become this sort of football manager model, where one bad result or a few bad games and
it’s the heads fault and they are gone.

These pressures from external exams, compounded with the growing emphasis on British content

as well the constraints of the British National Curriculum, present challenges for implementing

global citizenship education. The participants feel that they must prioritize other content in their

classes in order to get through a prescribed curriculum and prepare students to perform well on

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external examinations. With other content taking priority in humanities throughout Key Stages 3,

4, and 5, it is difficult to find time for global citizenship education. Participants feel that they

have to go out of their way and actively seek opportunities to incorporate this subject into their

classroom if they want to prepare their students to become global citizens.

2) Participants believe that students have the opportunity to learn about global citizenship
education through school-wide programs as well as in humanities classes.

Through an analysis of our interview data, we found that participants believe that

students have the opportunity to learn about global citizenship education through various

school-wide programs that their schools have to offer. In fact, all 12 participants interviewed

acknowledged the importance of school-wide programs as a way to teach global citizenship

education, to varying degrees. Global citizenship education is not solely fostered within

humanities classes. Although outside the formal curriculum, participants regularly use and accept

the various school-wide programs that their schools offer in order to promote global citizenship

education. In this finding, focus is placed on Personal, Social, Health, and Economic (PSHE)

education classes, tutor and form time, field trips and out of school learning opportunities, and

communal and global volunteering, and their impacts on global citizenship education.

Impact of Personal, Safety, Health, and Economic education (PSHE)

Eight out of 12 participants mentioned Personal, Social, Health, and Economic education

(PSHE) classes as a way to teach global citizenship education, to varying degrees. According to

the PSHE Association, PSHE is a government-initiated program that aims to help pupils develop

as individuals and as members of families and social and economic communities. A school’s

implementation of a PSHE program can come in multiple forms. In some of the schools

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surveyed, PSHE is a large assembly, while for others, it is in the form of a class. One aspect of

the PSHE program remains the same for all of its forms: it is not tested.

Some topics discussed in the PSHE classes are friendships, sex education, problem

resolution, bullying, diversity, puberty, managing money, career building, among others. But,

participants value PSHE not only for the topics that they cover but also for its role in teaching

pupils global citizenship education. Participant 3 noted PSHE’s potential ability to teach pupils

how to become good citizens:

I think that's where the PSHE course comes into so where we're trying to deliver that but
we're trying to as a school trying to deliver skills and also make them think about their
roles as global citizens… I think we do make a big effort to get across to the kids again I
would think maybe through things like PSHE, that we are all citizens of the world, and
not just another country.

The lack of examination and rigorous coursework makes PSHE more flexible in nature.

As a result, it gives participants more opportunity to discuss current events, citizenship, and

personal/social issues with their pupils that they sometimes lack within their humanities

classrooms. Participant 12 echoes this idea saying,

I've ditched whole PSHE lessons myself and done things on the election whether it be
here whether it be in America and things and just use that as an opportunity to actually
understand what is happening...it brings back to what I see citizenship as being more of
current affairs and that could be anything that's going on in the globe to get them an
understanding.

PSHE appears to allow for participants to help make their pupils more aware, aiding in the global

citizenship education process.

Field Trips and Out of School Learning Opportunities

Nine of the 12 participants indicate that field trips and out of school learning

opportunities are important assets to attaining global citizenship education. Participants feel that

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field trips can broaden students perspectives and enhance their learning as well as understanding

of the wider world; therefore, ultimately allowing them to become global citizens. For example,

Participant 2 explains how students continue their citizenship outside of the classroom. “Groups

of students have had fundraising events where they have gone and done a trek to Kilimanjaro”

indicates that these trips provide students with meaningful opportunities to be global citizens.

Participants indicated that students can become global leaders through volunteer work and visits

to different countries. For example:

Where they would have gone and done a trek to Kilimanjaro and how many girls would
spend some time volunteering in the school in religious avenues when they’re doing
things like that they’re planning the Costa Rica trip expeditions and those things that are
although not kind of explicitly promoting global citizenship aspects, there are still
widening their perspectives I suppose; so I wouldn’t say with certainty that is enabled to
each student.

In this example, participants describe a unique opportunity that is available for students.

Participants argue that pupils volunteer and fundraising efforts for these out of classroom trips

allow them to engage in global citizenship. Participants believe that these types of opportunities

enable students to have a widened outlook of the world; which contributes to global citizenship

education. In contrast to global and international field trips, other participants discuss other

domestic field trips which are used for learning. Particularly, Participant 7 discusses how

museum learning provides another context for global citizenship education:

I think taking them to the Holocaust Memorial Center, the year 11’s I think that’s
probably one of the closest times, because actually that is, we don’t necessarily do
concentration camps, that’s probably one of the most, and listening to the survivors, and
everything like that, and that day is very much focused on the activities there and the
things we talk about afterwards are very much focused on well okay, why did it happen.

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Participants are incredibly aware and conscious on moving beyond the content, and

working to encourage students to conceptualize past and current genocides and global current

events today; which is an integral part of citizenship education.

Impact of Tutor Time and Form Time

Another example of programs that participants believe promote global citizenship are

tutor time and form time. Of the 12 participants that agreed upon an interview, 8 mentioned that

these tutor or form times allowed opportunities for the teaching of global citizenship education.

Tutor and form time is an allotted time in which teachers will go through classroom business of

taking attendance, and making school-wide announcements, but it is also a time where teachers

are able to facilitate discussions about values and other core issues. It is a time where students

can get extra help, or reflect on current issues within or outside of the school.

Participants that were interviewed shared beliefs that tutor and form time are places for

students to have open dialogues and openly share their opinions on different current events or

topics that the student would like to talk about, or the teacher feels is necessary to talk about.

Participant 10 expressed the importance of the school’s form time as being a time, “to provide a

voice to kids so that kids can kind of get, take part in this democratic process.” Participant 10

then elaborated on this by bringing up specific examples which included, “several debating shops

going on every morning where kids will talk, and they will open up, and they will express

opinions, which wasn’t happening before.” This participant emphasized the importance of an

open conversation as being a key in forwarding student’s abilities of becoming a global citizen.

The place where he believed this dialogue was most easily accessible for students was during

these form times.

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Participant 6 also emphasized the importance of these tutor times as opportunities to give

students skills of global citizenship. Participant 6 states, “I think a lot of it is just modelling

behavior, so with the tutor group, today we’ve gone through bullying and how to make sure

everyone has equal opportunity.” Participant 6 believed that modelling of behavior is an

important skill in the teaching of global citizenship education, and having the opportunity to talk

about bullying during tutor time allowed this participant to do so. When asked about what makes

tutor time unique in its ability to allow teachers to model behavior, Participant 6 said that it was,

“just the openness of not being assessed, so it's just a free conversation.​” ​Because of the absence

of assessment from tutor and form time, Participant 6 believed that this period of time outside of

humanities was an important time for teaching global citizenship.

Communal and Global Volunteering as Opportunities to teach Global Citizenship Education

Participants attributed communal and global volunteering to global citizenship education.

Students’ active participation in their own communities and the international sphere gives them

opportunities to practice global citizenship. Seven out of 12 participants believed this

volunteering played a significant role in global citizenship education. While this idea was

brought up seven different times, only 3 of the 6 schools had a participant mention these

volunteering programs. It is important to remember that although volunteering is an opportunity

to teach global citizenship education, some schools have more opportunities than others to

participate in these out of classroom programs. Participant 4 of one of the three schools that

mentioned volunteering, discusses some of it in action saying, “They can volunteer at an old

persons home...There’s also charities and all the money that is raised through cake sales and any

charity events go to that charity.” In regards to involvement within the community, Participant 8

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discusses students’ participation with Esperanza; a school fundraiser that is held for Latin

America:

They do this thing called Esperanza, you might want to talk to the head of languages
about that. It’s really good, it’s a huge festival and everybody, we all, the whole school
takes part…Yeah, and it raises money as well for school we’re linked with in Latin
America. But It’s a festival of music, culture, food, all the kids, everybody’s out in the
field. All the kids sing as well. It’s not just about the culture of Latin America, it’s about:
they write their own songs, they do everything. So it’s kind of beyond that, do you see
what I mean? It’s a really huge thing here.

This participant believes their school works to promote global citizenship through

fundraising and awareness. This is apparent through the Esperanza program which allows

students and teachers to get involved in an entirely different culture, which is absolutely crucial

when implementing global citizenship education.

Participant 3 talked about how outside speakers come into schools to inspire this sense of

global citizenship. Participant 3 said, “Obviously there are information given exercises as well,

but often we might have people from charities who talk about their work and get kids inspired to

maybe do something themselves.” According to Participant 3, providing students with

opportunities to hear outside speakers was giving them education on global citizenship by

inspiring them to get involved with charitable work. This charitable involvement was also

brought up by Participant 6, through the school’s U Give Uganda program. Participant 6

described this program as something that is “...about actually understanding what we can give as

a school to another country and how we can get something from them as well.” Participant 6 uses

this charitable organization as an example of the school working with other communities, so

students are able to see the connectedness of our world.

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Seven out of 12 participants also noted the importance of volunteer work in the teaching

of global citizenship education outside of the humanities classroom. Participant 5 stressed the

significance of volunteer work its importance outside of the classroom saying, “ I also think the

school is...interested in environmentalism or voluntary work and global politics and all those

kind of things which has a big effect on the extracurricular level and outside of the specific

subject areas.” According to the participants, volunteering gives pupils the opportunity to support

their communities and positively affect change.

For participants, volunteering opportunities allow for students positively affect change

both in their local communities and the world as a whole. When discussing volunteering,

Participant 1 of noted, “ And in doing that, you see, as this is part of the bigger picture... We

know we have advantages other people haven’t got, so we work with the local community to

give back.” Volunteering allows for pupils, especially those who come from privileged and

advantaged backgrounds, to support others who do not have the same opportunities as them.

Global citizenship education is not solely taught within humanities classrooms.

School-wide programs offer teachers the opportunity to teach their students about global

citizenship education. Teachers use these programs such as, PSHE, field trips and out of school

learning opportunities, tutor and form time and communal and global volunteering, as avenues to

help create global citizens outside of their humanities classrooms.

3)​ Participants believe that global citizenship education can be fostered in the classroom
through activities that develop students’ empathy skills.

The participants in our study believe that global citizenship education can be fostered in

the classroom through activities that develop students’ empathy skills. In our literature review,

empathy is defined as a skill that enables individuals to comprehend the experiences of others.

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Participants believe global citizenship education is promoted through classroom practices that

challenge students to acknowledge the thoughts and feelings of their counterparts. The

quantitative data exhibits an overwhelming consensus that empathy is crucial to global

citizenship education among participants. Responding to the statement, “Promoting empathy is

an important element of global citizenship education,” the mean of participants responses was

4.7/5, with 1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree. No participants disagreed with

empathy as an important element. This data is also represented in a pie chart as seen in Figure 3

below, where numerically over 93% of respondents responded positively (choosing either

“strongly agree” or “agree”) as their response. It should be noted that the term empathy was

never defined for our participants during the survey, and the fact that they could use their own

personal definitions and ways of understanding might have contributed to this highly positive

response rate. However, this data still shows that empathy is clearly a prominent mechanism of

promoting global citizenship education in the minds of the participants of this study.

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Figure 3: Participants’ Responses to the Survey Question: “Promoting empathy in students


is an important element of global citizenship education.” (n=32)

When talking about empathy in interviews, participants primarily took two approaches.

First, they discussed how they believe empathy can be taught in order to promote global

citizenship education. Second, they discussed why they believe empathy should be taught in

relation to today’s context. Here we will discuss methods and approaches participants consider

effective in instilling empathy in students including examining multiple perspectives and

establishing past-present connections. Then, we will discuss participants’ rationales for

promoting empathy, including reasons related to citizenship education and contemporary issues.

Multiple Perspectives

Participants believe students’ empathy skills are developed through examining multiple

perspectives. Considering the viewpoints of others enables students to understand the

experiences of those around them which cultivates empathy. Out of 12 interview participants, 8

identified supporting students’ comprehension of multiple perspectives as a component of

teaching empathy. In addressing this belief, participants articulated the roles they believe

multiple perspectives plays in the humanities, discussing history, religious education, and

geography courses respectively. Participants also expressed their beliefs in the importance of

students being able to acknowledge and respect perspectives that conflict with their own, in

addition to employing diversity within classrooms to educate students on multiple perspectives.

In history courses, teachers believe multiple perspectives should be employed to teach

students how events and topics can be interpreted differently by various individuals and groups.

For example, Participant 5 stated, “...when I teach a topic, [I] always teach it from all the angles

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we can come out. One of the things I think is really important is for them to see why people view

things in a particular way.” Participant 8 describes a specific lesson they believe challenges

students to understand various perceptions of African peoples:

...there’s lesson with year 8 looking at beginnings of slave trade… and why it seemed
acceptable to white Europeans to refer to Africa as the dark continent… they look at
evidence of cultural change, religious [beliefs], government, all the things that were in
place that you wouldn’t associate with an uncivilized, backward, dark society but was
actually in place in Africa at this time so there is an example that quite quickly, they pick
that up quite quickly.

Students are further challenged in history courses to consider the reasoning and causes of

specific decisions made by groups and individuals. Discussing a lesson on Nazi Germany,

Participant 7 explained their belief in the difficulty of this task for students, explaining, “...we’re

thinking about yes, they’re on the other side in a different country, but at the same time, trying to

understand why they did things is quite difficult.” Participants believe incorporating diverse

viewpoints supports students in developing a well-rounded understanding of history.

According to participants, religious education (RE) courses inherently foster students’

understanding of multiple perspectives through providing opportunities for them to analyze

theologies beyond what they personally practice. For example, Participant 11 claimed that, “The

religious studies really does interlink… because it’s just completely about about how people are

and how they build around their ideas and their concepts of the world.” Also representative of

the participants’ views, Participant 7 stated, “thinking empathetically,” is more relevant in RE

courses because, “...you’re looking at different religions around the world, you’re looking at the

American Civil Rights Movement and Mother Theresa… it’s far more global.” Teachers believe

RE allows students to explore multiple perspectives through studying religious practices.

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In geography courses, teachers believe students learn about multiple perspectives through

considering how environment impacts individuals’ and groups’ experiences. When learning

about natural disasters, Participant 11 claims that students analyze, “...the impacts of different

hazards on people… therefore, thinking about why [is] their life going to be different from

ours?” In addition, Participant 11 continues to explain that, for students, geography is, “... a way

for them to see it without going to that place or visiting that area or being that person that was in

that situation.” Participant 2 describes a video shown to students in geography, exposing them to

the experiences of others:

I tried to press upon my students the need to see different perspectives… and we looked
at poverty today; we watched a video of four guys that went to Haiti after the earthquake
in 2010 to live on a dollar a day so they could see what it is like for people; and that is the
reality of some people's lives so our [students], and people in this country are very, very
fortunate that they are not living in those situations or circumstances; so that’s why it’s
ideal being able to see other people's perspectives whether it’s politically, whether it’s
economic circumstances, or whatever it is… just making sure they have to see another
perspective rather than just their own viewpoint and own opinion.

As seen in this anecdote, geography according to Participant 2 is a sphere in which

students can “see what it is like for people” who might have experiences different from their

own, which is a foundational point for acquiring skills of empathy. Thus, geography provides

opportunities for students to learn about multiple perspectives through analyzing individuals’ and

groups’ interactions with their environment.

Teachers believe that incorporating multiple perspectives in lessons enables students to

practice engaging in respectful discussion with those who have different perspectives than them.

Participant 2 stated, “yes, there is a need to see other people’s viewpoints even if you don’t agree

with them.” In order for students to exercise this skill, Participant 2 employs the following

method:

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We also have a Donald Trump hat which is a way to kind of help them to see… the hat
will come out as kind of a prop to illustrate our point of view that maybe will be
provocative to their point of view or viewpoint. And it’s a way of saying although it’s not
a poster way of information, it is still something that helps them to see a different
viewpoint…

Thus, Participant 2 employs a physical prop in his classroom to allow students to engage

with material where they can physically designate and see a different point of view from their

own. This in turn would foster students having time in the classroom to practice examining

multiple perspectives.

In order to discuss controversial perspectives, teachers believe it essential to establish

norms that promote tolerance and mutual respect among students. Participant 5 states students

must know how to, “appropriately share those ideas and how to not be offensive when

communicating your ideas to people.” According to Participant 9, establishing school-wide

norms is an effective way to establish an environment where multiple perspectives can flourish.

Participant 9 states, “the whole school operates in a very nurturing and caring way, everybody’s

voice matters, we allow children to be themselves… and not to conform in any way and allow

each other to understand each other.” Educating students on how to have appropriate

conversations, teachers believe, is an essential component of promoting multiple perspectives.

Teachers also believe examining diversity amongst students can be an effective method

of promoting multiple perspectives in the classroom. Participant 11 believes, “...you can get

other students’ experiences, what they’ve dealt with and how they see themes and topics like war

and [the] impact it’s had on their lives.” Participant 2 explains students’ diverse backgrounds

establish heterogeneous classrooms, explaining, “...a lot of the [pupils] here will have friends and

relatives that are from the wider world… where other schools… were very white working-class.”

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Furthermore, Participant 5 adds that, “...having lots of different kids in the classroom from

various faiths [and] backgrounds and making sure that they all find value in what each other are

saying…” is a priority. Teachers believe taking advantage of diversity amongst students is an

effective method of incorporating multiple perspectives into lessons.

Past-Present Connections

Participants also believe examining past-present connections develops students’ sense of

empathy. Although the term “past-present connections” was never explicitly included in the

survey, when being interviewed 5 out of the 12 participants stated the importance of using

multiple perspectives in their classrooms. Four out of these 5 participants explicitly mentioned

“past-present connections” when speaking about the use of empathy in the classroom.

Representative of this group, Participant 4 outlined in their interview the importance of using

past-present connections in empathetic teaching.

..even if you're talking about somebody like Hitler, you're looking at the evils of Hitler
and you're looking at what happened and we're looking at how we could prevent that
happening again in the future. We're looking at why people at the time were drawn into
believing him and following him and things. And I think implicit in that is alright that
happened before. How can we make sure it doesn't happen again?

Not only were participants making statements about using empathy and comparing it to

the student’s daily lives, but others were using connections with current events. Participant 6

explained that “we try and bring in alot of current events to then link back to the past.” This data

shows that although past present connections can have different approaches, the idea of linking

the past to the present is clear across interviews. Participant 1 continued to develop this idea and

added into it the concept of relevance.

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...you need to make the subject real. It’s not about a bunch of dead guys. Essentially yes,
it is about a bunch of dead guys, but it's about making those dead people real and the
issues they have almost created making those real in today’s society and in the world.

A key component of empathy and its implementation in the classroom is allowing the

students to make their own connections with the past and make the history relevant to their own

lives. Although students will not be able understand wholly the experience of people from the

past, teachers can prompt the development of comprehension of people’s lives and struggles.

Participant 6 expressed, “I guess even something as simple now as we look at, like the Battle of

Hastings and Norman conquest and we actually get the students to think about what that meant

that we had like a foreign invader come in.”

A role that history has taken recently is the role of moral education, most often through

the use of empathy. Teaching the past has become important to present society in creating a

better future. Participants 6 and 12 agreed that understanding history is key in moving forward

and learning from the past. Participant 6 reasoned “...if you don't understand your history you are

doomed to repeat it.” Participant 12 in a similar theme concluded:

We’re supposed to understand why this event happened and how does this affect things
later on and how therefore can we understand in our own time scale...the relevance of that
particular event. So instead of it being looking at the past, it’s actually... I see history as
being a communication between the past and what’s happening now. How have events
we’ve got now been affected by events of the past and how can we learn…

It’s clear when analyzing interview and survey data that participants value past present

connections and their ability to create depth in student learning. This use of past-present

connections by the participants of our interview reinforces the fact that teachers in the UK are

using skills related to empathy based learning.

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Global Citizenship Education

Teachers believe empathy is essential to global citizenship education because it promotes

students’ development as citizens. Citizenship as defined in the literature review is understood,

in the context of the United Kingdom, as a sense of belonging in one’s community or a feeling of

social obligation or feelings of responsibility towards one’s community (Anderson 2011; Bee

and Pachi 2014; McSharry and Cusack 2016). Because of this definition, empathy is directly

connected to the concept of citizenship.

Five of 12 participants mentioned a connection between the use of empathy to promote

global citizenship education and how this connects to students’ development into citizens. There

was no one interview question that prompted all five participants to discuss empathy in this

context. Of the five participants, three brought up this topic when prompted with interview

question 4, “How important do you feel global citizenship education is in your classroom?

Why?” Participant 9 indicated that global citizenship education is important because it is about

“thinking forward to solutions in the future, encourag[ing] children to make decisions, to weigh

up decisions, to weigh advantages and disadvantages and to think about sustainability and their

impact on the whole planet.” In addition, Participant 10 responded by stating, “I think that it’s

important that students understand a wider world so they can understand the things that are

happening to them and especially as their ability to impact their world.” Participant 11 stated that

global citizenship education is important as “It helps the students to understand the world that

they’re in.” As illustrated by these quotes, one of these participants mentions the skill sets that he

hopes students are able to acquire; the other two mention a similar theme of thought that is

reflective of the importance of students’ understanding of the wider world. Thus, through these

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responses participants are engaging with the concept of promoting students’ development into

citizens in different ways, but it is still being discussed all the same.

Additionally, of the five participants, two mentioned this topic when prompted with

interview question 5, which states, “What classroom routines and norms have you established to

promote the importance of your students becoming global citizens? Posted decorations or rules?

Behavior management? Class norms?” Participant 5 indicated specifically in response to

classroom rules that “I am really massive on making sure that whatever we are doing,” students

are “aware of the impact [they] are having on other people.” Participant 12 indicated specifically

in response to class norms that “most children do want to know about the world, they don't want

to just know about this small area,” and thus foster a sense of belonging that connects to ideas of

citizenship.

Contemporary Issues

Teachers believe empathy is an essential component to global citizenship education

because it can be used as a tool to better understand contemporary issues. Participants state that

the issues that they bring attention to in the classroom rests on a national and global level. On the

national level, issues such as poverty and immigration dominate UK news, while on the global

level, issues such as terrorism were noted. Participants remarked across interviews that the use of

empathy was imperative in the understanding of national and world issues and in the

development of global citizenship within their classrooms.

When responding to the question “I feel that recent terror attacks have caused a focus on

global citizenship education”, the mean of participants responses was 3.8, with 1 being strongly

disagree and 5 being strongly agree (see Figure 4 below, which represents this data in percentage

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points). This data indicates terrorism has become a component in the promotion of global

citizenship education, meaning that more time has been allocated by willing teachers to focus on

terrorism and current issues. Although there were no formal questions in the interview that were

about terrorism, 2 out of the 12 participants brought up the topic in their discussion on the

importance of empathy in the classroom.

Figure 4: Participants’ Responses to the Survey Question: “Promoting empathy in students


is an important element of global citizenship education.” (n=32)

These views were reinforced during the interviews. For example, participant 5 outlined

that, “if you talk about terrorism and bombing, straight away the way many British kids and

British adults view that is Islam and they don't look beyond that.” The importance of going

through current issues like terrorism is further outlined by Participant 12. “I remember that I had

a Muslim girl in my form who came to me at the end of it and thanked me for that because I

think she was probably feeling a little bit isolated at that time.” Both participants acknowledge

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the importance of going through these events with students and both participants use empathy as

the skill needed to understand current issues.

Four out of the 12 participants cited immigration as a controversial topic that is brought

into their classroom in some respect. Participant 5 makes this note about their classroom:

It had a really large Polish population but also a white population who were very
anti-immigration. So the kids hated each other. A lot of the Polish kids came
under a lot of fire from white British kids because they were Polish. I can vividly
remember stopping several lessons and talking about immigration and one of the
things I do often is hold up my hand and go well I am an immigrant. You don't
have a problem with me so why do you have a problem with them? We talk
about how accent has an impact and customs and all that kind of stuff. I think
sometimes you have to sideline in favor of going with what they are talking
about in the time...

Although participants agreed on the need to teach about current affairs and issues, the

style in which it was conducted differed. Participant 12 states, “whether it's relevant to what I'm

supposed to doing or not because I just think it is crucial they understand what's going on and

then just pick up something from somewhere, say ok, let's stop this… So I do think those

informal, so to speak, time slots are just as important as in history.” Using informal methods of

instruction allows for teacher autonomy and the freedom to pick when time is spent on issues.

Other participants use a different approach to develop empathetic skills with formal lessons.

Participant 2 details their formal approach to national poverty.

We are looking at inequality, poverty, and ethics of economic growth and we


watched a couple of clips about children in the UK in their daily lives and if
they were living in relative poverty; and a girl who sat there, by the end of the
clip she was crying because that would be the impact it had on her; and she
hadn’t really thought or taken much notice before that those kind of problems or
issues were to exist in the UK

Although there is a slight differentiation in the style and approach taken in fostering skills

in empathy when looking at current issues, the importance of understanding current issues as a

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continuation of global citizenship is noted in the ways that it came up in participant conversation.

Through the analysis of our data it is clear that empathy is not only employed by teachers in the

UK to foster global citizenship, but the skills empathy provides are crucial as well. Implementing

multiple perspectives as well as past present connections helps develop empathy as well as

global citizenship in the classroom and can allow participants to effectively teach global

citizenship in a world of growing contemporary issues.

4) Giving students the opportunities to practice community participation skills during their 

school years will in turn help them become better global citizens in the future.   

According to our research, a key part of citizenship is participation within local, national, 

and global communities. Participants discussed several different skills that they believed were 

necessary to participate within the classroom community, the school community, and the local 

and national community overall. These skills include understanding multiple perspectives and 

being able to carry out civilized debate and discourse. Participants also agree that promoting 

tolerance and respect for others within the classroom will allow pupils to use these skills 

throughout their lives.  

Classroom Practices  

Part of our research looked into participant’s perceptions of what skills a good global 

citizen should have. According to our participants, global citizens should have a certain set of 

morals to create citizens that can participate in civil discourse. Through our interviews, we found 

that participants try to create an environment of tolerance and respect in their classrooms. 

However, our survey data differs. When responding to the statement: “My classroom has posters, 

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images and decorations that encourage students to work together.,” see Figure 5. The mean of 

participants responses was 2.9, ​with 1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree​, which 

indicates that the average of participants were mostly neutral to creating such an environment. 

Yet during our interview process, participants continually discussed their classroom management 

strategies and classroom norms that they utilized to create a positive classroom environment.   

 
Figure 5: Participants’ Responses to the Survey Question: “My classroom has posters,
images and decorations that encourage students to work together.” (n=32)
 
 

During our interview process, in the question “what classroom routines and norms have 

you established to foster students’ awareness of being global citizens?”, asking participants to 

specifically focus on behavior management strategies and classroom decorations when 

answering. The answer to this question did reflect our survey data. Ten out of 32 participants 

surveyed indicated that they did not have posters or decorations that reflected awareness of 

global citizenship or, as one participant explained, “they probably aren’t as explicit as I would 

like them to be….” (Participant 1). Another participant also explained that global citizenship 

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“doesn’t come across in the displays much in the displays...I think it is embedded in everything 

we do rather than explicit in everything we do.”  

The interview data suggests that to create global citizens, educators must also give pupils 

the skills to participate in global society. For example, Participant 5 expressed that “...things like 

how to appropriately share those ideas and how not to be offensive when communicating your 

ideas to other people” is an important skill for pupils to have in terms of citizenship. Yet the way 

to fosters these skills stems from classroom practices. Classroom practices play a crucial role in 

students learning and have a direct impact on students becoming global citizens. One participant 

explained the way they give students the ability to learn and exemplify these skills in the 

classroom is through activities like debates. Participant 5 explains:  

There are the standard [skills] like, you know, be respectful, make sure that you are 
sharing, and that you are positively contributing to group work. Thats a big one for me. ... 
Being respectful and having a respectful tone. One of the things when we do debates, 
...work around talking to them so that they understand that they can put forward a 
viewpoint and criticize a viewpoint but not criticize the person themself. 
 
Participant 11 pointed out how these skills and values are represented beyond even just the 

classroom. Participant 11 gave an example of a student with learning difficulties and how the she 

created a teachable moment to promote moral skills and values by allowing students “to ask 

questions and we allowed [the student with learning difficulties] to have his say about his needs 

and it then stops any gossip about it, any misunderstanding and then students also know what he 

needs and are able to offer him things if he does need it”. This is an example of establishing 

classroom routines and norms to set the example of positive morality for global citizens. It also 

helps to establish the fact that participants are utilizing what little time they have to promote 

these skills. As discussed in the first finding of this section, while participants feel that they do 

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not have proper time to address these skills, they are creating moments in their classrooms in 

order to promote the skills that they feel global citizens should have.  

Opportunities Presented by British Values 

Throughout the data collection process, participants discussed British Values as a major 

component in British Education. It is apparent when looking at the National Curriculum, that is 

is very British centric (Department for Education, 2014). Yet this doesn't mean that global 

citizenship education is not represented in the classroom. When asked if they successfully teach 

their pupils the importance of becoming global citizens, as shown in Figure 6 below, the mean 

participant response was 3.4, with 1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree. This 

indicates that the majority of British teachers believe that global citizenship is implemented in 

their classroom. Not only that, but this is an indication that many humanities educators believe 

that they teach global citizenship within their subject area. 

Figure 6: Participants’ Responses to the Survey Question: “I successfully teach my pupils


the importance of becoming global citizens.” (n=32)
 

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There is an agreement by the participants that they are given opportunities to teach their 

pupils the participation skills necessary to be able to participate as global citizens. The 

qualitative data shows that 10 of the 12 participants interviewed stated that they gave their 

students the opportunities to practice community participation skills in and outside of lessons 

throughout their schooling. Participant 4 stated, “​Lots of group work lots of discussion and lots

of looking at sources of information to see things from different perspectives. Again lots of study

skills, lots of how to be a good student as in how to have to achieve the best that I can be.”​ By 

having this group work and facilitation of discussion, it is giving the students the skills needed to 

be able to become a global citizen. It is a focus on how the pupils are being able to use these 

skills in the future. 

Participant 4 relates to Participant 6 in a way in which they both use multiple 

perspectives to allow history to be viewed through a different lens. Both participants agree that 

discussion and having controversial conversations about the world are the best way to build upon 

the idea of global citizenship. 

with Brexit going on in England at the moment and its kind of that xenophobic kind of
media that’s happened in the last year or so, for me, getting students to debate and kind of
look at different cultures and different things that happened and actually think where do I
fit into that, is really important, maybe more so now than I thought it was when I started
to train. To now that I’ve actually started to teach and practice actually trying to get
those, not necessarily part of my planning, but just in my questioning or conversations I
have with students, actually modelling that good acceptance with global events.
(Participant 6)

In this discussion on how students learn about the world through their own lens, it is evident

through Participant 6’s testimony that with a successful model students can develop the

necessary skills to become a global citizen.  

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Another impact of this finding is how participants are relating the idea of global 

citizenship education to British Values. Some of the participants believed that the idea of British 

citizenship and values is the same as global citizenship. Participant 10 says,  

I want to break that and I want to give girls an opportunity to have a conversation, and to 
actually express their views, because it is so important. You can have a CPD on feminism 
and misogyny or whatever we are doing later on, but it doesn’t make a difference unless 
you give girls the opportunity to have a conversation, and that’s so important.  
 
In order to connect the idea of basic British citizenship to global citizenship. Yet there is talk 

about the idea about teaching British values and citizenship in order to create better citizens, 

being a state run objective. As Participant 4 stated “don't know if law is the right word, but 

instruction from the government that we we have to as a school that we have to prove that we 

teach the spiritual, moral, cultural side of the education as well as the fundamental British 

Values.​” ​Even with this idea that PSHE and other classes like it have a connection to the 

government, the data shows that only 31.3% of participants feel neutral about how successful 

they teach the importance global citizenship.  

Community Participation Through Lesson Plans  

In conducting the research we discovered that 9 of the 12 of the participants claimed to 

not only support the ideals of global citizenship education, but also discussed how they find time 

to explicitly incorporate skills that allow pupils to practice community participation within their 

lesson plans. These participants also agreed on the fact that practicing these skills while in school 

sets up the foundation for responsible, informed, and active citizens in the future. Participant 4 

highlights teamwork, one of the most commonly talked about skills. The participant said:  

I think certainly working together is an important one. Teamwork, group work which 
overlaps with respect. ... And I guess if we can get into that in school on this level then as 
they get older in school they go up to more work in the community and can volunteer. 

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They might go in and do all sorts of things with different organizations which helps. I 
think that all of that starts in the classroom. If they're working as a team in a classroom 
because it established the rules and you've established those practices then again that has 
the knock on effect that eventually when they're older and they are working in the more 
global community then I think that it's about starting small and going from there. 
 
By establishing these Practices, educators are deliberately preparing pupils for becoming 

citizens in the future based on what their understanding of being a good global citizen means. 

Participant 5 provides more support for practicing these skills during pupils’ school years by 

saying:  

So we do lots of debate work, marketplace activities, role plays where they hot seat 
people or take on the character of a certain viewpoint to get them thinking in a way that 
isn't theirs. I think it’s very important that they have their viewpoints challenged. Not 
because their viewpoints are wrong, but just because they need to see how other people 
come at it. 
 
Nine of the 12 of our participants made similar claims to Participant 5 and supported the 

idea that structuring lessons around debate and argument based discussion refines one of the 

most important community participation skills: deliberation. According to 9 of the 12 

participants these skills are vital and directly transferable to not only being a good global citizen, 

but also a good local citizen and human being in general.  

Promoting empathy in lesson plans was also something 12 of the 12 participants agreed 

would help to foster community participation skills and being a good global citizen in the future. 

10 of the 12 participants discussed historical understanding, considering multiple perspectives, or 

empathy specifically. Participant 6 from school F summarizes this sentiment nicely by saying: 

Getting students to debate and look at different cultures and different things that happened and 

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actually think: where do I fit into that?, is really important to me.” Participant 9 corroborates by 

stating: 

Something that works well for my subject is decision making and we do that regularly 
where they have a scenario, something international, ...They are given the information, a 
map, and the scenario and a key question about the immediate or long term response and 
they have to work together to weigh up what the solution is to the decision making. ...it's 
about weighing up the impact on all the different stakeholders and the long term and 
short term impact and costs and having to really think through the sustainability of your 
decisions. 
 
These participants are highlighting the importance of modeling and allowing pupils to practice 

empathy through their lessons and schemes of work.  

While many participants discuss these ideas in their interviews the quantitative data from 

the survey reveals that they are not put into effect all the time in the classroom.  

 
Figure 7: Participants’ Responses to the Survey Question: “I implement lesson plans that
emphasize global citizenship education in my classroom.” (n=32)
 
Figure 7 shows that when responding to the survey question regarding the 

implementation of lessons that promote skills necessary for community participation and global 

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citizenship, the mean of participant responses was 3.4, with ​1 being strongly disagree and 5

being strongly agree​. This indicates that the majority of the participant pool felt they frequently 

or sometimes implemented these types of lessons. Based on what was discussed in the other 

findings about time and curriculum restraints, it is fair to make the assumption that participants 

make a fair effort to craft lessons like this when they feel like they can. However, in the 

interviews Participants 6 and 9 revealed something different. Participant 6 said designing lessons 

in this manner became: “important, more so now than I thought it was when I started to train.” 

Participant 9 said, “regarding what barriers there are, nobody actually qualifies to teach 

citizenship so when you’ve got non-specialists nobody is entirely confident. It's not their subject 

specifically so I’m not sure that the quality is consistent.” These statements provide a second 

approach to deciphering figure 3. The reason for the majority of participants feeling like they are 

only implementing global citizenship and community participation skills sometimes opposed to 

frequently or always could be that they do not feel particularly confident or well prepared in 

catering their lessons to suit the modeling and practice of these skills. 

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Discussion

1) What are British teachers’ perceptions of global citizenship education?

This study allowed us to explore British teachers’ perceptions of global citizenship

education as well as observe how these perceptions varied throughout school participant pools.

While our definition of global citizenship education was consistently used throughout the process

of data collection and interviews, it was clear in the various responses of interview questions that

the definition we provided may have been difficult to understand. Our participants’ insight on

British Citizenship was another crucial part of our data collection and analysis. The term ‘British

Citizenship’ as well was one that was met with varying interpretations and confusion in some

interviews.

Confusion Over the Term ‘Global Citizenship Education’

Although our working definition of global citizenship education was clearly given before

survey questions, as well as preceding the interviews, it was clear many participants had their

own personal definitions. Our definition of global citizenship education defines the term as a

practice in which pupils are given the necessary skills to analyze, participate, and affect change

on a global scale. However, global citizenship education itself is a wide ranging term. Although

we attempted to define and present the term to foster consistency and reliability throughout our

research, the vagueness of what global citizenship education means factored into that process.

This phenomena echoes the work of Alex Standish, who wrote, “Researching Global Education

is challenging because the term means different things to different people” (2014). Although the

definition was defined and outlined over the course of his study, the concept itself is one that

educators, both in the UK and in the US, have been grappling with for years. “Terms such as

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global education, international education, global learning, the global dimension, and global

citizenship are often used interchangeably” (2014). This statement led us to believe that

participants may have not understood our working definition due to the fact that so many

interchangeable words exist in the arena of humanities education. After analyzing the survey and

interview data, it evident that although participants stated that they implemented global

citizenship education in their classrooms, many could not give actual clear accounts of them

putting it into effect in their own classrooms. Of the participants that took the survey, when

responding to the question “Promoting global citizenship education is an important value that I

hold as a teacher,” the mean of participants was 4.5, with 1 being strongly disagree and 5 being

strongly agree. This indicates that participants felt affirmatively about the importance of global

citizenship education, however, during interviews, participants gave varying levels of description

on whether or not they were able to successfully implement global citizenship into their

curriculum.

Although our questions prompted discussion on global citizenship education, empathy

became a large part of the conversation defining the term itself. Participants stated the

importance of empathy and the ways in which they either teach it as a skill or employ it in

informal lessons. In our given definition of global citizenship education, empathy was never

explicitly mentioned. This leads us to believe that educators in the UK believe empathy plays a

role in global citizenship and is not only a part of their own definitions, but also key to global

citizenship education implementation. When asked about how to promote global citizenship,

Participant 1 stated, “I suppose it is that concept of empathizing. It is that concept of looking at

an event; not looking at it in isolation. So placing into the context.” Empathy plays a huge role in

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the implementation of global citizenship education as it provides skills that students can develop

in order to understand the people and world around them.

It is no surprise that empathy is included so often in the discussion of global citizenship

education. The development of empathy in humanities classrooms has played key roles in

deeper, more inquiry-based understanding of historical concepts. Cunningham (2009) argues

that, “to empathize, in a historical sense, usually means to entertain the perspectives and values

of people in the past through consideration of the circumstances they faced.” Empathy, as this

quote states is a large part of history education. This leads us to believe that participants may

believe that employing empathy in the classroom is the a major way in which one can teach

global citizenship. This could have positive and negative connotations. Empathy used as a skill

in the classroom is a huge factor in developing global citizenship as seen in the findings,

however, empathy alone may not be enough to create global citizens.

Confusion On The Meaning of ‘British Values’

After analyzing the collected data, participants seem to have different perceptions over

the meanings and outcomes of British values in the context of global citizenship education.

According to the British government, British values, “actively promote the fundamental British

values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of

those with different faiths and beliefs” (Nash, 2014). However, the understanding of British

values is certainly viewed differently across educators in the UK. When asked about citizenship

and education, participants associate British values either as a positive or negative construct in

education curriculum. Some participants argued that British values provided a multicultural

perspective for student learning and global citizenship, while other participants suggested that

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British values promoted nationalistic and ethnocentric attitudes. In our earlier research and

literature review, other scholars supported these implications. Mark Priestley argues that English

and Welsh National Curriculums were mandated to create some form of national identity, and

required history courses would promote a specific ideology. “The more the students remain

passive and silent receivers of knowledge, the more easily and obediently they adapt to the world

as it is, without resistance” (Damianidou and Phtiaka). It is important to consider how this

ideology is interpreted by educators in multiple ways. We found that teachers’ opinions of

British values are established through their perceptions of that ideology. Some participants

embrace this approach, believing it will contribute to global citizenship, while others dispute that

claim, believing that these values hinder students’ ability to become global citizens.

This ultimately led us to question how participants interpreted British values and how

those personal beliefs and conceptions impacted their own students’ understanding of

citizenship. For example, Participants 2 and 4 contradict each other in terms of what their

perceptions of British values mean for students as global citizens. These differing outlooks have

an impact on how we see British values being incorporated in various classrooms. Participant 2

claims that British values are nationalistic in manner by saying, “it seems quite strange in some

respects that we have to think about making sure that we are being British first and [...] that

could kind of go against the idea of encouraging a more global society and global citizenship.”

This mindset indicates that British values promote a more restricted and inward-looking

perspective, rather than inciting a global outlook. In contrast, Participant 4 takes a completely

different position articulating, “I think a lot of the fundamental values [British values] are

actually what you’re talking about when you talk about global citizenship education because

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education on democracy I think in our view and the rule of law is something that we should be

spreading across the world.” In this case, the participant is under the impression that these values

create global citizens. They argue that “the curriculum promotes democracy, the rule of law,

individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance.” This is a much different view than Participant

2, who rejects this belief.

Through our study, we found that participants’ interpretation of British values greatly

impacts the way educators convey these values and opinions in their classrooms. Teachers who

believe that British values limit students’ ability to view the world, may not include British

values as a primary focus in their classrooms. However, participants who champion this

approach and believe British values parallel the same values associated with global citizenship

may depend on British values to create global citizens. Unfortunately, confusion over British

values and the differing ways teachers interpret this term leads to various approaches and degrees

of implementation of British values as part of global citizenship education.

2) How do those beliefs manifest within their classroom practices?   

Our study also asked teachers to reflect explicitly on how their personal beliefs about

global citizenship education reflected in their classroom practice. We specifically analyzed how

global citizenship education was applied through teachers’ classroom routines and norms,

behavior management strategies, and classroom decorations. We found that most participants

agreed that they taught global citizenship education by utilizing behavior management strategies

and classroom routines and norms rather than classroom decorations. When analyzing themes

among participant responses about how teachers implement global citizenship education in the

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classroom, many participants first discussed their level of preparedness and then the consistency

of being able to teach it. In the classroom, global citizenship education was highly discussed as

being taught utilizing skills of empathy, but participants also mention its connection to events

outside of humanities classrooms. Participants additionally remarked on the necessity to teach

activities related to global citizenship education because of relevant, contemporary issues.

Ultimately, the major ideas that participants discussed concerning the direct implementation of

global citizenship education was indicative of how they felt about the topic.  

Teacher Preparedness

Our findings showed that some participants believed that global citizenship education

should be taught in subjects other than their own. This could perhaps be caused by a lack of

preparedness of educators to address global citizenship education (Furlong, 2013). Teacher

preparation programs in England will more than likely focus on England’s National Curriculum

which “has to have this British focus, there must be an element of Britishness about it” as

Participant 8 described. Teachers are being prepared to teach English history through a British

lens (Poulsen, 2013).

In very specific cases, there were participants that had more experience with global

citizenship education than others. One participant had traveled extensively as part of a global

education program and another participant had grown up in North America. These two

participants did have a unique way to teach global citizenship education because of their

experiences in other countries’ education programs. Participant 8 had also led several

professional development programs on making connections to schools in other countries to help

pupils learn about other places outside the UK, but once again this seemed to be a unique

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occurrence. It was definitely surprising to see that there were professional development programs

for teachers to learn about globalization and global citizenship and how to best implement

lessons about global citizenship education into their classrooms since we found almost no

information during our literature review to support it. While the literature indicated that teachers

“receive more hands on training” to prepare students for “global competitiveness,” we did not

find any teacher preparation programs while conducting our research (Furlong, 2013). The onus

is placed much more on preparing teachers to address the National Curriculum rather than

address other issues such as global citizenship education.

Consistency of Teaching

One major issue with teaching global citizenship education in England is the consistency

and quality of how it is taught classroom to classroom. A factor in this inconsistency is that there

is no single definition for what global citizenship education means for teachers, and thus no

single model for teaching it consistently (Burton, 2015; Etsyn, 2013; Ireland et al., 2006).

Despite agreeing with our working definition of global citizenship education, Respondent 9

offered changes and suggestions to that definition based on their own understanding and beliefs.

During the interview Respondent 9 paused mid-answer and asked, “shouldn’t citizenship include

contribution? Global citizenship is about your contribution to society.” Respondent 9 also

recognized later in the interview that “both our understandings of global citizenship are

different.” If there is no shared, clear end goal for teachers there is no way that global citizenship

education can be taught consistently even within the same humanities department.

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A reasonable conclusion as to why there is disagreement and differentiation in defining

global citizenship education stems from the recent versions of the British National Curriculum.

Respondent 9 discussed in their interview that citizenship and global citizenship used to be a part

of the National Curriculum and could even be taken as GCSE qualifications. This meant that

there were government prescribed classroom hours to teach the values and skills of citizenship

and strict guidelines for how those values and skills were to manifest in classrooms. This was an

extremely interesting discussion because this was not an issue we discovered while exploring the

literature related to our research. Government guidance is not the definitive solution to the issue

of inconsistent teaching, however it did level the playing field for pupils by ensuring that they

receive the same education and practice for becoming global citizens across the country.

A final major factor in the inconsistency of teaching global citizenship education is the

fact that no teacher actually specializes in citizenship as a subject. Teaching the skills and values

of global citizenship is promoted solely by humanities teachers with university qualifications not

including any qualifications in citizenship specifically. While it makes sense that humanities

departments promote their versions of global citizenship education, the fact that no teacher has

the option of specializing in citizenship exponentially increases the variability in how individual

educators integrate global citizenship education in their classroom.

These factors hold certain implications for how pupils grow as global citizens in the

future. While on the one hand variability allows for pupils to develop their own stances on global

citizenship based on their personal values, variability can also mean poor quality or misinformed

teaching. Quality consistency issues can ultimately set up pupils to be underprepared to operate

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in a globalized world and can lead to teachers projecting their personal beliefs onto pupils due to

their own levels of preparedness and their personal understanding of global citizenship.

Skills of Empathy

A major aspect of how participants claimed to implement global citizenship education in

their classroom practices was through teaching skills rooted in and relating to empathy. When

asked in the survey if, “Promoting empathy is an important element of global citizenship

education” the mean of participants was 4.7, with 1 with being strongly disagree and 5 being

strongly agree, which indicates that students learning empathy is something that the majority of

participants value in their classrooms. As defined in the literature review, empathy is a skill that

enables individuals to comprehend the experience of others (Cunningham 2007; Leake, 2016;

Saye and Bush, 2002). Although not explicitly stated in our definition of global citizenship

education, the necessity to understand other people's views and experiences is pertinent to the

understanding of global citizenship education. Over the course of the interviews it seemed clear

that participants naturally incorporated principals of empathy into their personal definitions of

global citizenship education.

Participants stated that they address skills of empathy in their classroom through many

avenues, such as activities that consider multiple perspectives, students’ evaluations of their

purpose as citizens, and allowing students to make connections between the past and the present

(Cunningham, 2007; Foster, 2010; Leake, 2016; Saye and Bush, 2002). The importance of

incorporating multiple perspectives for students is especially seen in the work of Barış Kaya,

who outlines that students will be able to make connections between individuals of different

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backgrounds and thus see parallels that constitute the human experience in the classroom (2016).

As 8 of the 12 respondents identified supporting students’ comprehension of multiple

perspectives as a component of teaching empathy, planning and implementing classroom

activities that allow students to consider the experiences of many types of people is a component

of how teachers actively teach empathy. Empathy is understood as a pillar of social studies in the

United States because of its core values of fostering the skills necessary to become an active and

informed citizen. It was discovered in the literature review that in the United Kingdom,

citizenship is best understood as being an active participant in one’s community. Therefore,

participants in the study felt that global citizenship education was important in their classrooms

because of its connection to students’ practicing the practical skills of citizenship. Participant 9

reinforces this idea by saying that through global citizenship education, “thinking forward to

solutions in the future, encourag[ing] children to make decisions, to weigh up decisions, to weigh

advantages and disadvantages and to think about sustainability and their impact on the whole

planet,” students can practice the skills that are necessary to engage in one’s community.

Furthermore, the literature review substantiates that lessons that employ discussion, role-playing,

and perspective writing challenge students to put aside their personal predispositions and

consider those of others, which would foster skills of empathy, and thus foster an aspect of

global citizenship education.

Lastly, participants made mention of bridging past-present connections in their

classrooms to further develop students’ sense of empathy, which in turn fosters global citizenship

education. Four participants explicitly state past-present connections when they discussed their

use of empathy in the classroom. As corroborated by the literature review, teaching moments

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where students can adopt perspectives of the past allows students to connect with the lives of

those before them, instead of disregarding them as barbaric and unusual (Endacott and

Pelekanos, 2015; Foster 2010; Leake 2016). This ability to connect to a group, even if it existed

in the past, supports empathetic learning and thus promotes this understanding of global

citizenship education. It was clear that participants felt a responsibility to allow students to

practice skills of empathy like: considering multiple perspectives, evaluating themselves as

active citizens, and making connections between people in the past and present, in order for them

to become more engaged in the world around them and form critical understanding of others’

views and perspectives.

Global Citizenship Education Outside of the Humanities Classroom

The research team initially believed that citizenship education took place within the

humanities classroom. The British National Curriculum requires pupils to learn British values

during their time in school (Department for Education, 2014). At several of the schools we

studied, there were specific classes and times of the day when pupils learn about British values.

Some schools had a PSHE (Personal Safety Health Education) class; others addressed British

values during tutor time. These two classes are not within the sphere of the humanities. We

found this surprising because the British National Curriculum requires schools to teach about

citizenship and humanities classes, and this is where students would typically learn about

different types of governments (Department for Education, 2014). For example, in the United

States, civics and political science both fall under social studies yet this was not the same in the

United Kingdom. Classes to teach citizenship and British values were more interdisciplinary than

they were in the United States. Additionally, some of the schools we studied were not required to

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use the National Curriculum. In the United Kingdom, private schools can opt to use their own

curriculum that they develop. Some schools use the National Curriculum as a guideline and that

is why they continue to teach citizenship or British values as a subject during PSHE or tutor

time.

We asked a question on our survey in order to better understand in which subject

participants believed global citizenship education would be best taught. Over a quarter of the

participants stated that they believed global citizenship would best be taught in subjects other

than their own or in every subject. There are two conclusions that we can draw from this

evidence: the responsibility for teaching global citizenship lies in every single subject teacher

including things like Physical Education and Science, or teachers do not feel individually

prepared to address global citizenship adequately on their own.

Since pupils are being taught citizenship in PSHE or tutor time, and some participants in

this study concluded that they did not want to or could not adequately teach global citizenship

education in their own classes, then we must conclude that pupils are learning global citizenship

skills outside of the classroom. According to our interview data, each of our participants

interviewed referred to something about pupils learning about global issues and citizenship skills

in extracurricular activities throughout their school experiences in their interview responses.

These extra-curriculars referred to include field trips, clubs, exchange programs, and volunteer

work. Many of these programs are simply allowing pupils to have real world experiences that

expand their perspectives on the world (Kaya, 2016; Leake, 2016; Saye and Bush, 2002).

Participants at schools D and E both stated that the schools take pupils on field trips throughout

Europe and Asia to give them a more global experience and participants at schools D, E, and F

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stated that the schools require pupils to do some kind of community volunteering. Volunteering

can be on both a local and global level, like raising money for disaster relief in third world

countries as one school did. The whole point of global citizenship education to these participants

seems to be community involvement on a global scale. It could be argued that global citizenship

education is much more than that but it is definitely an important tenet of global citizenship in

general.

Context of Current Events

To conclude, multiple participants remarked that the implementation of global citizenship

education was imperative in the understanding of national and world issues. When asked in the

survey, “I feel that recent terror attacks have caused a focus on global citizenship education,” the

mean of participants was 3.8, with 1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree. This

indicates that participants felt slightly more inclined to believe that current events have a direct

impact on why they might teach global citizenship education in their classroom. Being aware of

contemporary issues is arguably one of the most direct ways that teachers can help students to

become active global citizens (Camicia and Zhu, 2012; Ireland et al., 2006). A lack of knowing

what is happening in the world in which they live hinders students’ abilities to actively engage in

worldly events in the first place. We feel that especially in the current controversial global and

national climates - in the United States, the United Kingdom, and in countries across the globe -

it is necessary now more than ever for teachers to tackle the understanding of current

controversial issues and provide students a space to both learn about them and have an

understanding of how they can actively engage in resolving such issues. This idea is

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corroborated by the literature review which states that populism and the age of misinformation is

directly connected to the importance of having a population of citizens who are educated about

policy and can have an informed vote based on this information rather than fear or moral

arguments (Bonikowski 2016). In an age where one could reasonably make the claim that the

Brexit vote and 2016 U.S. presidential election are examples of an emotionally-based voting

pattern, teachers can directly provide a solution to this problem by helping students become more

informed citizens (Bonikowski 2016). The work that teachers can employ in their classrooms to

achieve this would be developing skill-sets in students directly related to the major skills defined

in our definition of global citizenship education.

Additionally, although participants of our research were questioned on this topic in the

survey in a statement concerning the influence of terrorism, some participants naturally brought

up the topic again in the interview setting without having any questions directly related to it. This

indicates that current events are a demanding factor in teachers’ beliefs concerning teaching

global citizenship education and that it directly impacts what they chose to do in their classrooms

because they believe that it should be addressed. A powerful anecdote from Participant 2’s

interview details that in a lesson discussing national poverty, “we watched a couple of clips

about children in the UK” and “by the end of the clip [a girl] was crying because that [was] the

impact it had on her; and she hadn’t really thought or taken much notice before that those kind of

problems.” Clearly, examples such as these where educators can use current events and

contemporary issues to both inform, create empathy, and inspire students to be more aware of the

world in which they live is a crucial aspect of how teachers can address global citizenship

education in their classrooms. Ultimately, the need for educators to address global issues in order

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to teach students about their place in the world as global citizens has arguably never been more

imperative than it is today.

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Future Implications

In addition to analyzing British teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding global

citizenship education, this study also aims to consider what our findings mean for the future of

global citizenship education. We will examine what future implications our findings may have

on global citizenship education including how educators define global citizenship education,

possibilities for British teacher education, and connections to the British National Curriculum.

Implications for Global Citizenship Education

Definition of Global Citizenship Education

One implication that this research has shown involves the defining of the phrase “global

citizenship education.” As stated in the previous discussion section, there is general confusion

amongst teachers over what global citizenship education should be defined as, which led to

differing interpretations of the term by our participants. The definition of the term provided to

the participants was created by the research team as there is no consensus within literature on

how to define this phrase. Even though participants interpreted the term differently, when asked

if the promotion of global citizenship education is an important value that they hold the mean

response of participants was 4.5, with 1 being strongly disagree and 5 being strongly agree. This

indicates that a significant majority of teachers hold global citizenship education as an important

value. In order to further validate global citizenship education and teacher implementation of this

idea in the classroom, there should be a clearer definition of the term. While a standardized

definition is not essential, ensuring that teachers are aware of how to incorporate digital source

evaluation, empathy, and community involvement into their teaching practices would greatly

benefit the field of global citizenship education. If teachers are given a definition that

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encapsulates these core practices of global citizenship education, there could be positive effects

on teacher’s practices, as well as positive effects on how to evaluate the success a teacher is

having in implementing global citizenship education into the classroom.

British Teacher Training Programs

In terms of teachers’ abilities to successfully implement global citizenship education in

the classroom, teacher preparation programs should place a larger emphasis on teachers’ ability

to carry out global citizenship education in order to help them feel comfortable in their practices.

These preparation programs (e.g. PGCE) should allow teachers to fully understand and unpack

this term which is interpreted in different ways. Although this research focused specifically on

humanities teachers, we believe that global citizenship education training would be beneficial to

teachers of all subjects. Professional development workshops would also be helpful for teachers

already in the field as practices for global citizenship education continue to change. If teacher

preparation programs are able to recommend teacher practices that help with the implementation

of global citizenship education, then teachers can better evaluate their own practices as well as

student understanding of these ideas.

Implications for the British National Curriculum

Global Citizenship Education in the British National Curriculum

Our findings identified how the pressures of the British National Curriculum affect

teachers’ ability to implement global citizenship education. The constraints of time and testing

present challenges to teachers causing them to prioritize content other than global citizenship

education. With that being said, our study found that a majority of participants believed that the

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British National Curriculum should incorporate more global citizenship education. When asked

the question “I feel that global citizenship education should be more emphasized in the British

National Curriculum”, the mean response of participants was 4.1, with 1 being strongly disagree

and 5 strongly agree. This data suggests a support by teachers for a stronger presence of global

citizenship education in the Curriculum.

In order to address teacher beliefs about the global citizenship education in the British

National Curriculum, the UK government may consider ways to incorporate the content and

skills of global citizenship into the Curriculum. There are several different strategies that the UK

government can implement to satisfy these needs. Humanities at Key Stage 3 could be reworked

to reflect a more a global perspective instead of one focused solely on British history. Global

citizenship education would also need to be incorporated into Key Stages 4 and 5, but this could

be quite challenging due to the emphasis on testing at these levels. The skills of global

citizenship such as empathy are difficult to quantify and could be hard to assess on a GCSE

exam. Participant 4 suggested that for global citizenship education to become more present in the

Curriculum, Ofsted, the UK government’s school inspection department, would have to take an

active role. Respondent 4 stated, “I think if [global citizenship education] was a box that [Ofsted]

had to tick for a school to get outstanding then I think every school would do it and they would

do it very well.” In order to satisfy the beliefs of British educators, there should be consideration

about how to rework the British National Curriculum so that it includes the content and skills of

global citizenship education in Key Stages 3, 4, and 5.

Digital Source Evaluation in the British National Curriculum

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In order to prepare students for global citizenship, teachers must impart certain skills that

allow students to analyze and affect change on a global scale. Our literature review suggested

that one of these skills is the ability to evaluate digital sources. With the growing presence of

social media and online media sources, it is important that students have the skills to navigate the

digital age in a way that is conducive to our democratic way of life (Berson & Berson, 2004).

Although this aspect of global citizenship education was emphasized in the literature we read,

only 3 out of 12 participants alluded to digital source evaluation. The scarcity of data collected

regarding digital source evaluation suggests a lack of emphasis on this skill in schools’

curriculums. Digital source evaluation should be incorporated into the British National

Curriculum in order for teachers to prepare their students to become global citizens capable of

navigating the digital world. The inclusion of this skill into the British National Curriculum has

the potential to change the way that future generations interact with the rest of the world.

Implications for the United States’ Education System

We must consider the implications that a more interconnected world has on the United

States’ education system. Both the United States and the United Kingdom are facing the

complexities that have come about from the Information Age. As technology advances and our

ability to connect with the rest of the world increases, the skills that students need will continue

to evolve. Teacher training programs in the United States must equip educators with the tools to

teach students the skills such as empathy and digital source evaluation. Professional development

programs can recommend teacher practices that emphasize the importance of creating global

citizens.

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Potential Extensions for Further Research

Relating Research to the Whole of England

This study collected data solely from participants within the county of Nottinghamshire.

Due to the limitations of our study abroad program, assumptions were made on British teachers’

beliefs based solely on data collected from one county within England. In addition, 5 out of the

12 interviews came from one school, further narrowing our findings. For future research, it

would be beneficial to extend data collection across counties throughout England in order to get

a more holistic view of British teachers’ beliefs on global citizenship education and its

implementation in classrooms. Additionally, it might be beneficial to the study of global

citizenship education to factor in socioeconomic and ethnic/racial demographics into future

studies. Nottinghamshire is not reflective of England as a whole in relation to ethnic/racial and

socioeconomic makeup. With the nature of global citizenship education and its ties to diverse

communities and perspectives, it may be revealing to analyze how demographics affect

participants’ views on global citizenship education and its manifestation in their classrooms.

Relating Research to the United States

This study could be expanded through examining global citizenship education in the

United States. The research team designed survey and interview questions with this awareness of

audience, using phrasing and terminology that would be familiar to this population. In order to

extend this study to the United States, the instruments would need to be modified in order to be

accessible for American educators. If considering extending this study to the United States, the

research team could use the findings from this study to modify survey and interview questions

with the intentions of addressing frequently mentioned perceptions of global citizenship to

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discover whether commonalities exist between the two cultures in their perceptions of global

citizenship education. Using the findings from this study could also be used to design

thought-provoking survey and interview questions from participants. Once these instruments

were designed, surveys and interviews could be implemented to collect data. The codes used in

this study may serve as reference for the researchers studying the United States, however, the

research team must acknowledge emerging patterns in the data without letting it be influenced by

this study. After coding and interpreting data, the research team could compare the findings from

the respective countries to extract findings on different perceptions of global citizenship

education between the United States and England.

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Conclusion

The need for global citizens is at an all-time high in an ever increasing globalized society.

The field of global citizenship education is relatively new and there seems to be disagreement

over what the term actually entails and in what subject it can be best implemented. Teachers

overwhelmingly believe that global citizenship education is important and that it is their job to

give pupils the skills and values of a good global citizenry. This in turn will aid their pupils in

becoming individuals who are able to effectively enact change in their communities and in the

world.

In the UK, teachers have found that global citizenship education is best taught in

humanities classrooms, but teachers have disagreement over what specific subject it should be

emphasized within. British teachers also believe that global citizenship education is effectively

taught in out of classroom activities. While in class, teachers have successfully implemented

global citizenship education through modeling skills of empathy and giving pupils opportunities

to practice global citizenship skills through lessons. The digital age has prompted many teachers

to provide pupils with the necessary knowledge and abilities to successfully navigate through a

litany of source material and make their own judgments supported through evidence.

This study also found teachers are limited in implementing global citizenship education

in England. Teachers in America and elsewhere across the world should take note of English

teacher’s reservations on the topic. There is an exceptional amount of confusion over the

definition of what global citizenship education means amongst teachers and this can cause

disparity about teaching this topic. In addition, the UK educational system is focused on testing

and an emphasis on their own nation’s history. British-centric history and testing outlined in the

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British National Curriculum as well as in schools who developed their own humanities

curriculum causes English teachers to focus on prescribed topics and not global citizenship

education. Many teachers in England feel that global citizenship education should be more

emphasized in the National Curriculum, but it is also very difficult to quantify how this topic

could be assessed by teachers. Educators should be hard pressed to learn from England’s lesson

on this topic when designing curriculums that incorporate global citizenship. It would be

beneficial to write curriculums that emphasize skills of empathy and source analysis, and devise

ways in which students can interact with the world around them to prepare them to successfully

enact change around the globe in the future.

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Appendices

Appendix A: Glossary of Terms

Academy School: Academy schools are state funded schools in England which are directly
funded by central government (specifically, the Department for Education) and independent of
direct control by the local authority. The majority of academies are secondary schools.

Advanced Levels (A-Levels): A-Levels are the subject-based qualification exams offered by
schools and colleges for Sixth Form students.A-Level exams are generally studied in the final
two years of senior education in the England.

Community School: i​s a type of state-funded school in which the local authority employs the
school's staff, is responsible for the school's admissions and owns the school's estate.

Empathy: Empathy is defined as a skill that enables individuals to comprehend the experiences
of others.

Faith School: Faith schools are also required to follow the national curriculum however, they
have the freedom to choose what they teach in their religious studies courses. Admission varies
among schools, but anyone can apply.

Free School: A type of academy school.

Form Time: A daily period of the school day dedicated to learning that is not subject specific. A
teacher may instruct students in character development, socio-emotional growth, study skills, etc.
Groups may be horizontal, composed of students of the same year, or vertical, composed of
students of varying years.

General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE): Qualification exams for students in


secondary school before they move on to sixth form.

Global Citizenship Education​:​ is a practice in which pupils are given the necessary skills to
analyze, participate, and affect change on a global scale.

Ofsted: The National Government’s Office of Standards in Education, Children’s Services and
Skills. The organization responsible for inspecting and regulating schools and the quality of
education, services, and skills instruction provided.

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Private schools: Private or independent schools in England charge a tuition for pupils to attend.
These schools are not required to follow the national curriculum, but they all must register with
the national government and are inspected regularly to insure pupils are getting a well rounded
education, and that safety standards are maintained.

Personal, Social, Health, and Economic education (PSHE): PSHE is a government-initiated


program that aims to help pupils develop as individuals and as members of families and social
and economic communities.

Public School: A public school is an independent secondary school. Public schools in England
are not run by the government.

Sixth Form: Sometimes referred to as “Key Stage 5,” sixth form represents the final two years of
secondary education in England where students prepare for their A-Level examinations

State School: State schools are non fee-paying, funded from taxes and most are organised by
Local Authorities.

Technical schools: Technical schools provide pupils the opportunity to hone their skills in the
technological arts. They are funded by the central government and offer courses such as digital
design and computer science.

Tutor Time: A daily period of the school day dedicated to learning that is not subject specific. A
teacher may instruct students in character development, socio-emotional growth, study skills, etc.
Groups may be horizontal, composed of students of the same year, or vertical, composed of
students of varying years.

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Appendix B: Global Citizenship Education Research Survey with Consent Form

(* indicates necessary to answer)

Consent Form for Participation in a Research Study

Principal Investigators: Alan Marcus and Gary Mills


Student Investigators: Chelsea Constantino, Collin Andersen, Elaina Rampolla, Francisco
Ahumada, Joseph Smith, Julia Eldridge, Matthew DePalma, Matthew Franco, Rachel Forte,
Sarah Norman, and Sean Rogers
Study Title: Use of Global Citizenship Education in Secondary Schools

Introduction
You are invited to participate in a research study that explores the role of global citizenship
education in British secondary schools. You are being asked to participate because you are a
secondary teacher in England.

Why is this study being done?


The purpose of this research study is to explore teacher beliefs about global citizenship,
citizenship education and how teachers implement and achieve the goals they have for their
pupils regarding this topic. The study is being conducted by pre​service social studies teachers in
the teacher preparation program at the University of Connecticut under the guidance of Professor
Alan Marcus from the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut and Professor
Gary Mills of the University of Nottingham. This study is part of the students’ required master’s
research project.

What are the study procedures? What will I be asked to do?


If you agree to take part in this phase of the study you will be asked to participate in a short
survey that takes approximately 15 minutes. You then will be asked to participate in a voluntary
follow-up interview that will last approximately 45 minutes. On the survey you can indicate your
willingness or not to participate in the interview.

What are the risks or inconveniences of the study?


We believe there are no known risks associated with this research study; however, a possible
inconvenience may be the time it takes to complete the study.

What are the benefits of the study?


This study benefits participants as it allows for reflection on their beliefs and practices in relation
to global citizenship education. Furthermore, this study makes a contribution to teacher
education and education policy fields.

Will I receive payment for participation? Are there costs to participate?


There are no costs to participants. There are no payments for participation.

How will my personal information be protected?

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The following procedures will be used to protect the confidentiality of your data. The researchers
will keep all study records (including any codes to your data) on password protected computers.
Research records will be labeled with a code. All electronic files (e.g., database, spreadsheet,
etc.) containing potentially identifiable information will be password protected and will be
destroyed after seven years. Any computer hosting such files will also have password protection
to prevent access by unauthorized users. Only the members of the research team will have access
to the passwords. Data to be shared with others will be coded as described above to help protect
your identity and all identifying information removed (name of teacher, name of school/district).
At the conclusion of this study, the researchers may publish their findings. Information will be
presented in summary format and you and your school will not be identified in any publications
or presentations.

You should also know that the UConn Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Office of
Research Compliance may inspect study records as part of its auditing program, but these
reviews will only focus on the researchers and not on your responses or involvement. The IRB is
a group of people who review research studies to protect the rights and welfare of research
participants.

Can I stop being in the study and what are my rights?


You do not have to be in this study if you do not want to. If you agree to be in the study, but later
change your mind, you may drop out at any time. There are no penalties or consequences of any
kind if you decide that you do not want to participate. You do not have to answer any question
that you do not want to answer.

Whom do I contact if I have questions about the study?


Take as long as you like before you make a decision. We will be happy to answer any question
you have about this study. If you have further questions about this project or if you have a
research ​related problem, you may contact the principal investigators, Alan Marcus,
alan.marcus@uconn.edu or +1 860-486-0281, or Gary Mills, gary.mills@nottingham.ac.uk or
0115-951-4497. If you have any questions concerning your rights as a research subject, you may
contact the University of Connecticut Institutional Review Board (IRB) at 860-​486-​8802 or the
University of Nottingham School of Education Research Ethics Coordinator at
educationresearchethics@nottingham.ac.uk.

I have read this form and decided that I will participate in the project described above. Its general
purposes, the particulars of involvement and possible hazards and inconveniences have been
explained to my satisfaction. I understand that I can withdraw at any time. Checking the “I agree
to participate” box and pressing the submit button below indicates that I have received a copy of
this information sheet.

1. Do you agree to participate? *


a. I agree to participate.
b. I do not agree to participate [If selected sends respondent to end page “Thank you
for your time…”]

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Demographic Questions

2. How many years have you been teaching? Check one.*


a. 1-3
b. 4-6
c. 7-9
d. 10+

3. At which school do you currently work? *


(Fill in)

4. What is your gender? Check one. *


a. Male
b. Female
c. Neither
d. Prefer not to answer

5. What is your age? *


a. 20-29 years
b. 30-39 years
c. 40-49 years
d. 50+ years

5. What is your ethnicity? Check all that apply. *


a. White (English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish, British)
b. White Irish
c. White Gypsy or Irish Traveller
d. Any other white background
e. Black Caribbean
f. Black African
g. Indian
h. Pakistani
i. Bangladeshi
j. Chinese
k. Any other Asian background
l. Arab
m. Other:

6. What is your role in the school? Check one. *


a. Full-time teacher
b. Full-time teacher + TLR
c. Part-time teacher
d. Part-time teacher + TLR
e. SLT

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7. If you hold a TLR or SLT what is your title?

8. Which subjects do you teach? Check all that apply. *


● History
● Geography
● Religious Studies
● Health and Social Care
● Psychology
● Philosophy
● Politics
● Other:

9. What years do you currently teach? Check all that apply. *


a. Year 7
b. Year 8
c. Year 9
d. Year 10
e. Year 11
f. Year 12
g. Year 13

11. Does your school require you to use the National Curriculum? *
a. Yes
b. No

Scaled Response Questions

Instructions: How much do you agree with the following statements?

With regard to the term "global citizenship education," please use the following definition:
global citizenship education​ is a practice in which pupils are given the necessary skills to
analyze, participate, and affect change on a global scale.

12. Promoting global citizenship education is an important value that I hold as a teacher. *
○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral
○ Disagree
○ Strongly Disagree

13. Promoting empathy in students is an important element of global citizenship education.*


○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral

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○ Disagree
○ Strongly Disagree

14. I feel that recent terror attacks have caused a focus on global citizenship education. *
○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral
○ Disagree
○ Strongly Disagree

15. I feel properly trained in teaching global citizenship education. *


○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral
○ Disagree
○ Strongly Disagree

16. My classroom has posters, images and decorations that encourage students to work together.
*
○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral
○ Disagree
○ Strongly Disagree

17. Creating global citizens is just as important as creating British citizens.*


○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral
○ Disagree
○ Strongly Disagree

18. The British National Curriculum leaves a lot of room for teachers to implement global
citizenship education.*
○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral
○ Disagree
○ Strongly Disagree

19. Creating globalized citizens has become more important for pupils in the digital age.*
○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral
○ Disagree

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○ Strongly Disagree

20. I feel prepared as a teacher to use digital technology and online resources in my classroom.*
○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral
○ Disagree
○ Strongly Disagree

21. I successfully teach my pupils the importance of becoming global citizens.*


○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral
○ Disagree
○ Strongly Disagree

22. I feel comfortable and confident as a teacher to address the concept of global citizenship
education.*
○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral
○ Disagree
○ Strongly Disagree

23. I feel that global citizenship education should be more emphasized in the British National
Curriculum.*
○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral
○ Disagree
○ Strongly Disagree

24. I feel that my colleagues teach about global citizenship education. *


○ Strongly Agree
○ Agree
○ Neutral
○ Disagree
○ Strongly Disagree

Scaled Response Questions

Instructions: How much do you agree with the following statements?

With regard to the term "global citizenship education," please use the following definition:
global citizenship education​ is a practice in which pupils are given the necessary skills to

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analyze, participate, and affect change on a global scale.

25. I implement lesson plans that emphasize global citizenship education in my classroom. *
○ ​Always
○ Frequently
○ Sometimes
○ Rarely
○ Never

26. I spend time teaching my students about evaluating and examining different sources.*
○ ​Always
○ Frequently
○ Sometimes
○ Rarely
○ Never

27. My students spend time in the classroom using digital media and online resources. *
○ ​Always
○ Frequently
○ Sometimes
○ Rarely
○ Never

28. In my opinion, global citizenship education is best taught through…… [choose one]
History
○ Geography
○ Religious Studies
○ Health and Social Care
○ Psychology
○ Philosophy
○ Politics
○ Other:

Short Response Question

Please respond to the following question briefly in the space provided.

29. To what degree does preparing students to become global citizens factor into your everyday
teaching? *

End of Survey - Optional Interview

30. This survey is anonymous, but we would like to give a short follow up interview to some

111
 
 
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participants. If you are willing to participate in an interview, leave your email below. Your
responses will be confidential, your name will not be used, and your email will only be shared
with the researchers participating in this project.

Stop filling out this form.

Thank you for your time.

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Appendix C: Global Citizenship Education Research Interview with Consent Form

Consent Form for Participation in a Research Study

Principal Investigators:​ Alan Marcus and Gary Mills


Student Researcher:​ Francisco Ahumada, Collin Andersen, Chelsea Constantino, Matthew
Depalma, Julia Eldridge, Rachel Forte, Matthew Franco, Sarah Norman, Elaina Rampolla, Sean
Rogers, and Joseph Smith
Study Title:​ Use of Global Citizenship Education in Secondary Schools

Introduction
You are invited to participate in a research study that explores the role of global citizenship
education in British secondary schools. You are being asked to participate because you are a
secondary teacher in England.

Why is this study being done?


The purpose of this research study is to explore teacher beliefs about global citizenship,
citizenship education and how teachers implement and achieve the goals they have for their
pupils regarding this topic. The study is being conducted by pre​service social studies teachers in
the teacher preparation program at the University of Connecticut under the guidance of Professor
Alan Marcus from the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut and Professor
Gary Mills of the University of Nottingham. This study is part of the students’ required master’s
research project.

What are the study procedures? What will I be asked to do?


If you agree to take part in this phase of the study you will be asked to participate in a voluntary
follow-up interview that will last approximately 20 to 40 minutes.

What are the risks or inconveniences of the study?


We believe there are no known risks associated with this research study; however, a
possible inconvenience may be the time it takes to complete the study.

113
 
 
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What are the benefits of the study?


This study benefits participants as it allows for reflection on their beliefs and practices in relation
to global citizenship education. Furthermore, this study makes a contribution to teacher
education and education policy fields.

Will I receive payment for participation? Are there costs to participate?


There are no costs to participants. There are no payments for participation.

How will my personal information be protected?


The following procedures will be used to protect the confidentiality of your data. The researchers
will keep all study records (including any codes to your data) on password protected computers.
Research records will be labeled with a code. All electronic files (e.g., database, spreadsheet,
audio files, etc.) containing potentially identifiable information will be password protected and
will be destroyed after seven years. Any computer hosting such files will also have password
protection to prevent access by unauthorized users. Only the members of the research team will
have access to the passwords. Data to be shared with others will be coded as described above to
help protect your identity and all identifying information removed (name of teacher, name of
school/district). At the conclusion of this study, the researchers may publish their findings.
Information will be presented in summary format and you and your school will not be identified
in any publications or presentations.

You should also know that the UConn Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the Office of
Research Compliance may inspect study records as part of its auditing program, but these
reviews will only focus on the researchers and not on your responses or involvement. The IRB is
a group of people who review research studies to protect the rights and welfare of research
participants.

Can I stop being in the study and what are my rights?


You do not have to be in this study if you do not want to. If you agree to be in the study, but later
change your mind, you may drop out at any time. There are no penalties or consequences of any
kind if you decide that you do not want to participate. You do not have to answer any question
that you do not want to answer.

Whom do I contact if I have questions about the study?


Take as long as you like before you make a decision. We will be happy to answer any question
you have about this study. If you have further questions about this project or if you have a
research ​related problem, you may contact the principal investigators, Alan Marcus,
alan.marcus@uconn.edu or +1 860-486-0281, or Gary Mills, gary.mills@nottingham.ac.uk or

114
 
 
GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION 

0115-951-4497. If you have any questions concerning your rights as a research subject, you may
contact the University of Connecticut Institutional Review Board (IRB) at 860-​486-​8802 or the
University of Nottingham School of Education Research Ethics Coordinator at
educationresearchethics@nottingham.ac.uk.

Documentation of Consent:
I have read this form and decided that I will participate in the project described above. Its
general purposes, the particulars of involvement and possible risks and inconveniences have
been explained to my satisfaction. I understand that I can withdraw at any time. My signature
also indicates that I have received a copy of this consent form.

____________________ ____________________ __________


Participant Signature: Print Name: Date:

____________________ ____________________ __________


Signature of Person Print Name: Date:
Obtaining Consent

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Global Citizenship Education Research Interview Protocol

Initial Protocol
● Introduce Self & Program
● Explain and Promise Confidentiality (name will not be used)
● Consent Form (signatures needed)
● Questions before we begin?
● Share overarching research question (see below)

Overarching Research Question:


What are British teachers’ perceptions of global citizenship education? How do those beliefs
manifest in their classroom practices?

Working Definition of Global Citizenship Education:


Global Citizenship Education​ is a practice in which pupils are given the necessary skills to
analyze, participate, and affect change on a global scale.

INTRO QUESTIONS
1. What is your name and at which school do you currently teach?
2. What subjects do you currently teach? What subjects have you taught in the past?
3. Based on the definition of ‘global citizenship education’ provided, do you believe that
global citizenship education had anything to do with you becoming a teacher?

TEACHER BELIEFS
4. How important do you feel global citizenship education is in your classroom? Why?

TEACHER PRACTICES
5. What classroom routines and norms have you established to promote the importance of your
students becoming global citizens?
a. Posted decorations or rules?
b. Behavior management?
c. Class norms?

6. Can you give some examples of activities that you’ve done in your classroom that promote
global citizenship education?
a. Do you feel that any activities are more effective than others?
b. How do you believe sources should be used to teach global citizenship education?
c. Do you feel that there are any factors that have hindered your implementation of global
citizenship education?

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SCHOOL WIDE LEVEL


7. What subject within humanities is global citizenship education best taught through? Why?

8. Do you feel that your school promotes programs or promotes an environment that fosters
global citizenship education? If so, what resources do they use?

NATIONWIDE LEVEL
9. Do you feel that your country promotes programs whose focus is on global citizenship
education? If your school uses the National Curriculum, do you feel that the National Curriculum
should place more emphasis on global citizenship education?

10. Do you have any other thoughts on global citizenship education not yet addressed in this
interview?

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Appendix D: Follow-Up Email

Subject: Global Education Interview Follow-Up

Dear Teacher,

Thank you for your interest in our research! As indicated in the survey you just completed, our
research team is interested in learning more about teacher beliefs about global citizenship
education and how those beliefs manifest in the classroom. Now that you have indicated interest,
we would like to have our researchers sit down with you in-person for an interview that would
last 20-40 minutes.

If you are still interested in participating, please contact your school representatives at [person’s
email at school placement] or schedule a meeting in person. We would be happy to answer any
further questions you may have and, ultimately, schedule a time to meet with you.

Thank you again for your support in our educational research!

Sincerely,

Social Studies Masters Students Team 2018


University of Connecticut

Note: This research is conducted under the direction of Alan Marcus in the Curriculum and
Instruction Department at the University of Connecticut and Gary Mills in the Education
Department at the University of Nottingham.

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Appendix E: Conceptual Framework

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