Teaching History and Citizenship in Schools in Northern Ireland

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This chapter considers the teaching of history and citizenship education in Northern Ireland, in a divided society, emerging from conflict, made all the more complicated because there is no consensus on nationality, nor a single narrative of the past. Rather the past is contested and indeed there are multiple narratives, many of which are intimately tied up with identity, nationality, politics and the conflict. The chapter first examines the teaching of history, focusing more on the period between 1990s to the present, as others, cited above, have extensively dealt with earlier periods. This period saw the introduction of the Northern Ireland Curriculum (NIC) and a common and prescribed curriculum for subjects such religious studies and history, which meant that schools for Protestants and Catholics were now teaching the same curriculum in these subject areas. The chapter then turns to citizenship education which was introduced to schools as part of the revised curriculum. In citizenship education, students examine a number of areas including diversity and inclusion, rights and responsibilities, equality and social justice, democracy and active participation. These areas were chosen as the ‘normal’ stuff of citizenship education – for example, the system of government, the symbols and rituals of nationhood – are contested in Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationActivist Pedagogy and Shared Education in Divided Societies. International Perspectives and Next Practices
EditorsTony Gallagher, Dafna Yitzhaki, Nimrod Aloni, Zehavit Gross
Place of PublicationLeiden
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-51274-0
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-51272-6, 978-90-04-51273-3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2022

Publication series

NameMoral Development and Citizenship Education


  • Education
  • Shared education
  • History
  • Citizenship
  • Divided societies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Education


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