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inDEPTH


MAKING SENSE OF A COMPLEX WORLD


Brexit, Extinction Rebellion, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, transgender rights, nationalism, populism, globalisation and fake news – all things that increasingly define and drive our politically charged world. But what role do teachers and trainers have in helping learners make sense of the complexities of the political landscape, and in developing as informed and engaged citizens? Alan Thomson investigates.


hen the late Sir Bernard Crick recommended statutory citizenship education in his far-reaching 1998 report, The Teaching of Citizenship and Democracy in Schools, he spoke of the need to make


young people confident in finding new forms of involvement and action amid


“worrying levels of apathy, ignorance and cynicism about public life”.


Twenty years on, global


movements like XR and #MeToo show that large numbers of people, often the young, are far from apathetic and have indeed found new forms of involvement and action, thanks in large part to mobile technologies, the internet and social media. Yet, despite this,


approximately a third of the total UK electorate of some 45 million people tends not to vote in general elections – not all younger people by any means. Added to which


levels of ignorance


and cynicism in public life seem higher than ever: technology may have engaged and empowered us but it has, arguably, created space for a more belligerent and less tolerant public and political


12 ISSUE 38 • WINTER 2019 inTUITION


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