ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Role of Teacher Education Programmes

Based on a study that explores the conceptions of citizenship among students of two popular teacher education programmes in Delhi, this article reveals how teacher education programmes are critical in influencing notions of citizenship, either by reinforcing the prevalent notions or in expanding the horizons within which citizenship is understood and practised. A strong empirical case is made for taking the curriculum and pedagogic processes of preparing teachers seriously, especially if educators hold the conviction that teachers can play a critical role in social transformation.

The 1990s witnessed an “explosion” of interest in citizenship studies globally, giving rise to new forms of citizenship (Kymlicka and Norman 1994). These new developments in citizenship studies captured the imagination of educationists as well. As the construct of citizenship is undergoing scrutiny and change, the need to develop a more active citizenry presents important challenges for teachers. In a classroom, which consists of children from diverse backgrounds, a teacher’s everyday interaction with the hidden and the official curriculum produces different meanings of exclusion and inclusion while defining citizenship. The teacher’s own frame of rationality comes to guide their interpretation of texts and other schooling processes, and it is their knowledge and beliefs which would influence what students would learn. It is, therefore, critical that we reflect on what assumptions these teachers carry when they enter a plural classroom.

Over the last one decade, a number of studies have focused on understanding conceptions of citizenship among pre-service teachers, in-service teachers and teacher educators (Banks 2001; Kennedy 2008). These studies indicate how the responsibility for empowering teachers lies with teacher educators. Batra (2005) asserts the need to address the education of teachers and that major responsibilities lie with teacher educators. They can provide opportunities to prospective teachers to develop as critical citizens. Pre-service teacher education programmes can play a critical role in shaping notions about citizenship, either by reinforcing popular notions or by enabling more nuanced conceptualisations.

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Updated On : 9th Oct, 2018

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