University of Edinburgh
 

Target Setting with Deaf Pupils

Presented in November, 2002

Priority 5 Citizenship

Citizenship presents a special challenge to national priorities Iecause it addresses fundamental questions about the purpose of schools, the nature of learning and the place of target setting. Citizenship is unlike most 'subjects' in a number of respects. It is difficult to define. It cannot easily be 'taught' and it rests on a set of premises which are essentially contested.

It is contested because there is no consensus on what kind of society we want or even on what our society 'is', and there is no simple consensus on what the role of children and young people is or ought to be in that society. We recognise that any prescriptions in these areas are specific to different contexts and cultures and their histories.

There is, however, broad agreement on a baseline of what what behaviours are desirable and undesirable, what knowledge is necessary for successful social life and what skills will most help young people to survive and prosper when they leave school. Even in the most contested area, that of values, there is a body of consensus on values which promote the interests of society, the individual and their inter-relationship.

One definition of a democracy to which teachers, parents and policy makers could equally subscribe is:

"A democratic society, or a participative democracy.., is one in which its members are empowered to make decisions and policies concerning
themselves and their society but where such decisions are constrained by principles of nonrepression and nondiscrimination."(Pearson, 1992, p.84).

It is incumbent on us. therefore, to know to what extent our schools are providing the context for that essential baseline to be promoted and to what extent we can gain evidence of children and young people possessing that awareness and exercising the skills and values implict in that statement

...For example, we might reasonably expect a school serious about citizenship to have information (data? targets?) on how it invests and evaluates citizenship which is developed through the following avenues:

  • taught specifically through citizenship, PSE and other customised courses
  • embedded across the curriculum
  • planned into the day-to-day ethos of the school
  • realised through formal structures such as pupil councils
  • included within out-of-hours programmes such as study support
  • built systematically into residential experiences
  • dealt with through community activities and programmes
  • developed through home-school, teacher-parent collabortaive activities

Schools may, together with teachers and students, set targets in these individual areas and may monitor and evaluate the extent to which these do, in their own ways, contribute to specific kinds of citizenhip development. The school which is highly effective will be one which is able to knit these together into a coherent whole and be able to provide evidence of student achievement, rejittive to goals. That will necessarily be underwritten by a conceptual framework such as the following, for example:

  Understanding Competencies Values
Knowing

Acquiring knowledge which is processed in ways that lead to understanding

Knowing what skills and competencies are valued in different contexts and by different people (eg; by employers)

Recognising what
values are important
and less important for
the welfare of self and
others
Feeling Feeling that knowledge
acquired is important
to you
Having confidence in
your own skills and a
belief that they can be
put to use
Internalising values
and making them your own
Doing Using knowledge to
act, to initiate, to make
decisions
Practising and testing
competencies in real-
life situations
Acting on and staying
faithful to values, even
in challenging social
situations