The conference finished at 1.00pm and my flight back home isn't until 5.30. In response to my original question about
value for money I would have to say that it has been – it's given me a bit of space to play with some ideas; listen to others; meet new people and experience Belfast – you must visit!! – the final judgement will probably be more difficult to measure as you never really know how your thinking has been changed by the ideas and conversations you've had.
I'm speaking at a Citizenship Co-ordinators meeting on Tuesday in Edinburgh – I thought I'd use this time to jot down some ideas for my presentation which is entitled "Promoting a culture of Citizenship" The conference theme is embedding citizenship.
I think I'm going to explore the concept of citizenship from two perspectives – pupils as citizens and teacher as citizens.
I'll kick off with a bebo screen shot of my sons' BOBO spaces – they live in a connected community – despite the fact that we live in rural environment. How does school prepare them for this reality – or even take account of it?
From there to this website and the community of teachers who are sharing their experiences via blogs. We are citizens – in our own schools but – and this is what excites me – to a larger community outwith our schools – i we could just connect people.
I'll then link these two forms of citizenship and argue that citizenship comes through engagement – there's no way I'll be a voluntary citizen unless I feel something for my community – in this case the school. I'll then suggest that engagement comes through empowerment – I have to have a voice! I have to have some ownership of what's going on and even more importantly I need to be able to see that my voice is being heard.
Then to blogs and comments and the SELS data we have been generating via on-line questonnaires with all P7 and S2 pupils in East Lothian – and how these voices are shaping what we do.
From there I'll jump to vehicles for citizenship – I'll make reference to things such as the Dunbar trip to the WW1 battlefields cemetries for all their S3 pupils and the impact it makes on them as citizens; sport; performing arts; uniform; outdoor education; play; social events.
Then reference to Gretna football club and their chairman's Brookes Milseon's perspective on their role in the community – let's call it organisational citizenship – are schools citizens of their community? – or does their membership stop at the gates?
I''ll then talk a bit about "tranfersable citizenship" or perhaps that should read non-transferable citizenship" – there are kids in our schools who are model citizens but who in the local community can cause havoc – why? surely we should expect the "skills" of citizenship to be transferable?
Finally, I'll ask about citizenship for all. How easy is it for a pupil who comes from a disadvantaged background to feel the same about his community as another person who has a more supportive home environment – in all the forms that that support might come?
My final word will be about the hook for citzenship is much more likely to take place for both teachers and pupils if they are treated with unconditional positive regard? Any comments? What's missing? – or am I off beam?