Watt, Paul, Gifford, Chris and Koster, S. (2008) Working with schools: active citizenship for undergraduate social science students. In: University life uncovered: making sense of the student experience. Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Social Policy and Social Work (SWAP), University of Southampton, Southampton, pp. 94-103. ISBN 9780854328901

This paper presents research findings from the ‘Working with Schools: Active Citizenship
for Undergraduate Social Science Students’ project. The project involved collaboration
between three new universities, two of which introduced citizenship modules incorporating
an ‘active citizenship’ component. The aim of the modules was to enrich the undergraduate
understanding and experience of citizenship through practical activities working in and with
schools and colleges, particularly those institutions serving disadvantaged communities. An
extensive evaluation of the project was undertaken and this paper focuses on the research
findings from one of the universities which introduced a first-year ‘Citizenship and Identity’
module. The module included an ‘active citizenship’ component involving students facilitating
school council conferences. The research findings illustrate issues around student engagement
with citizenship, both as an academic subject and in relation to students’ reflective capacities
and skills vis-à-vis citizenship in broader terms. The project represented an innovative
intervention in local communities that had many positive outcomes, but it also posed challenges
for staff and students.

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