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Advancing young citizens’ political literacy through social-sciences curricula

Philippa Hunter and Janina Rack

This article focuses on how Year 11 secondary students view themselves as political beings, voice political ideas, and think critically about political participation. The research was motivated by the public representation of young citizens disengaged from political processes such as voting, and the authors’ perception of a gap in students’ political ideas that apply to social relations in everyday life. Making sense of what political literacy and connected citizenship involves is explained. Classroom-based research sought students’ ideas about politics through e-questionnaire and focus-group conversations, and through dialogue with lead social-sciences teachers. Research findings present insights for social-sciences teachers and educators to advance students’ political literacy. Young citizens seek to understand explicit political concepts and language, engage with real-life issues that prompt political discussion and decision-making, and want their voices to be heard.

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