Education for global citizenship: teacher agency and curricular structure in Ontario schools

Schweisfurth, M. (2006) Education for global citizenship: teacher agency and curricular structure in Ontario schools. Educational Review, 58(1), pp. 41-50. (doi: 10.1080/00131910500352648)

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As a multicultural nation with aspirations to an international peacekeeping role, Canada makes an interesting context in which to study global citizenship education. This article is based on research conducted in Ontario schools. It examines how individual teachers have prioritized global citizenship issues in their teaching, in the context of other curricular demands. The methodology is based on a multiple case study approach, and methods included documentary analysis, classroom observation, and interviews. The research revealed that teachers who are determined to make global education a priority have found that the new Ontario curriculum guidelines have given them plenty of opportunities to do so. Civics Education as a compulsory subject offered possibilities. Both classroom‐based and extra‐curricular activities were seen to focus in dynamic and innovative ways on global issues, and there was considerable enthusiasm for these themes among learners. The teachers were able to ‘use’ the expectations of the curriculum creatively to justify their approaches, and did not see their priorities as being at odds with the recent emphasis on academic standards in education. They were supported in this by a network of like‐minded teachers, and by a programme geared to their interests at the University of Toronto. However, these teachers noted that while the tightening of curricular expectations did not reduce opportunities for incorporating global education priorities, they were unusual among their colleagues. Despite the potential, it was felt that many teachers were demoralized by public opinion and perceived themselves as restricted by the curriculum. The study suggests that where teachers are highly motivated and supported in pursuing goals which they consider important—global citizenship learning in particular—they had the agency to do so.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Schweisfurth, Professor Michele
Authors: Schweisfurth, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Educational Leadership & Policy
Journal Name:Educational Review
Published Online:16 August 2006

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