P1.5 Sustainable Development and Citizenship
Sustainable development and citizenship are two educational dimensions to which science has much to contribute. This article provides guidance in both statutory and non-statutory aspects for provision in primary and secondary schools. The development of childrens' perspectives is outlined and suggestions provided as to how some science content and investigations can be used to support learning objectives relating to citizenship and sustainability. A number of downloads are provided that provide access to a range of resources and suggestions for links into the science curriculum.
A wide range of standards can be exemplified through work within this unit but the particular focus would be on Q5, 18, 21 and 30-33.
Keywords: Citizenship, Sustainability, Themes, Responsibility, Co-operation.
There are statutory requirements to include citizenship in secondary schools as part of the National Curriculum and non-statutory guidance in primary schools. In all phases, there are great advantages in making links between science and citizenship as this demonstrates that science knowledge is relevant and useful in society.
The best general resource to support citizenship is the new Professional Resource Network (PRN). Try putting 'science' into their search engine and you will find a good range of articles that your student teachers may find useful to stimulate discussion or support their work in the classroom.
This unit gives examples of how citizenship and sustainability can be incorporated within science in primary and secondary schools. Support material of good publications as well as online material are suggested.
The 4 non-statutory areas
There is Non-Statutory Guidance for PHSE and Citizenship for Key Stage 1 and 2. Many of the PHSE / Citizenship skills and knowledge suggested can be addressed through science. The guidance material for Key Stage 1 and 2 emphasises the key concepts of the development of the self in relation to others and the wider community. The shift in developing ideas through children's experience is subtle but noteworthy.
At Key Stage 1 children's learning about Citizenship is concerned with use of their own experiences to learn about themselves as developing individuals and members of their communities.
At Key Stage 2 children's learning about Citizenship is concerned with the link between their development as individuals and as members of interdependent communities which are a part of the wider world.
The Non-Statutory Guidance suggests coverage of the first three of the 4 areas listed below for Key Stage 1 and all four for Key Stage 2. The four areas are given below with aspects particularly relevant to science indicated.
- Developing confidence and responsibility and making the most of their abilities includes helping pupils to learn to recognise what is fair and unfair, and what is right and wrong as well as being enabled to share opinions on things that matter to them and explain their views.
- Preparing to play an active role as citizens includes teaching pupils to take part in discussions with others, to realise that people and other living things have needs, and that they have responsibilities to meet them. Pupils can also be taught what improves and harms their local, natural and built environments and about some of the ways people look after these environments.
- Developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people includes helping pupils to listen to other people as well as to play and work co-operatively. Teaching pupils to identify and respect the differences and similarities between people is an important part of this.
- Developing a healthy, safer lifestyle includes teaching pupils how to make simple choices that improve their health and wellbeing, how to maintain personal hygiene and how some diseases spread and can be controlled with appropriate use of medicine. The Non-Statutory guidance also suggests teaching pupils about finding out about the process of growing from young to old and how people's needs change with age.
Developing Citizenship alongside Science Investigations and Content
Not all the content of science topics can be related easily to citizenship. However all investigations provide opportunities for more than science skill development. Enabling children to work co-operatively to carry out investigations provides many opportunities to consider and practice Citizenship skills.
Some science topics lend themselves more easily to raising citizenship issues such as:
- Care of living things and the environment
- Developing a healthy life style
- Considering differences and similarities between people
The Statutory areas required in the National Curriculum
The National Curriculum for Citizenship requires secondary schools to cover three main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding about becoming informed citizens
- Developing skills of enquiry and communication
- Developing skills of participation and responsible action
Only some of the statements within each of these areas are particularly relevant to science. With regard to science these relevant statements are very similar for Key 3 and Key Stage 4 Stages. However the content or issues will depend on the science topic being taught.
- Knowledge and understanding about becoming informed citizens includes teaching pupils about the world as a global community, and the political, economic, environmental and social implications of this. In science this can be addressed when studying ways in which living things and the environment can be protected, and the importance of sustainable development.
- Developing skills of enquiry and communication includes enabling pupils to think about and research topical political, spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues, problems and events by analysing information and its sources. Key Stage 4 pupils should be helped to show an awareness of the use and abuse of statistics. Pupils in both Key Stages should be taught to justify orally and in writing personal opinions about these issues, problems or events; as well as to contribute to group and class discussions and debates.
- Developing skills of participation and responsible action includes teaching pupils to consider other people's experiences. They should also be enabled to think about, express and explain views that are not their own and negotiate, decide and take part responsibly in both school and community-based activities.
Publications and online resources can be used to give ideas for both primary and secondary teachers. Attachment 3 suggests:
- Teachers' resource and handbooks
- Children's fiction and non-fiction for Key Stage 1 -3 on environmental issues
- Organisations providing support on Citizenship & Sustainability
The list is not definitive and the authors of this section would be pleased to hear from readers of any resources that they have found particularly valuable so we can add these.
Section Developed by:
Tina Jarvis University of Leicesterand Farhana Zaman, Nottingham Trent University
Published: 23 Mar 2005, Last Updated: 25 Mar 2008