PDMU / Citizenship approaches

This section discusses some of the fundamental concepts and skills involved in investigating the decade of anniversaries from:

  • a personal development/mutual understanding perspective (primary schools)
  • a local and global citizenship perspective (primary schools).

The revised curriculum aims to empower young people to make informed and responsible choices and decisions throughout their lives as individuals and contributors to this society, both locally and globally.  The rationale for the inclusion of PDMU and citizenship education within the Northern Ireland Curriculum was to try to help young people arrive at a more shared concept of society based on the concept of equal rights and responsibilities within this contested space and that democratic politics offers the most viable means of resolving political differences and challenging sectarianism.  The resources on the website also offer opportunities for young people to investigate

  • a range of factors which influence individual and group identity
  • ways in which individuals and groups express their identity.
  • ways in which conflict including prejudice, stereotyping sectarianism may arise in a community and ways of managing conflict and promoting community relations and reconciliation.
  • why it is important to uphold human rights standards in modern democratic societies.
  • local and global scenarios where human rights have been infringed.
  • the basic characteristics of democracy
  • ways to participate in school and society.

The intention is to provide young people with opportunities to be involved in active enquiries and discussion, for example, about how we remember and commemorate the past  that help them see the relevance of mutual understanding and citizenship to their lives now and in the process to:

  • clarify their own values and attitudes and how they have been influenced by the past and the communities in which they live;
  • learn how to recognise, understand and manage the emotions and behaviours associated with these influences;
  •  be assertive in challenging prejudice and stereotyping; and
  • communicate and behave in a mutually-respecting manner that promotes the concept of a shared society.

Mutual Understanding

At primary level, education for mutual understanding in primary schools aims help young people feel comfortable with difference, (whether in terms of religious or political outlook, ethnic or racial identity, gender, disability, etc.) and to empathise with others, striking an appropriate balance between their own communities needs and aspirations and those of other communities.

Local and Global Citizenship

Local Global Citizenship in post-primary schools has a crucial role to play in developing young people’s knowledge and understanding of the inter-related concepts that underpin a fair and democratic society, including:

Human Rights and social responsibilities, as a set of globally accepted values documented in various international human rights charters, which outline the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups in democratic societies.

  • Diversity and Inclusion in local and global societies and identify the challenges and opportunities this presents.
  • Equality and Social Justice and the responsibilities that individuals, governments and society have to promote it at a local and global level.
  • Democracy and Active Participation as a basis for participating in democratic processes and the role a of some key democratic institutions in promoting inclusion, justice and democracy.

By investigating real life situations, such as how we commemorate the past in the present, young people should have opportunities to:

  • appreciate the diversity and interdependence of people, communities and the environment on this island and beyond;
  • explore how cultures have blended and become interwoven to influence our communities as they are now and in the past
  • examine different points of view and develop an appreciation of the needs and perspectives of others and weight evidence objectively;
  • clarify and express their own identity and its influences
  • consider choices for action that respect the equal rights of others, asking questions such as:
    • Is the balance right? For all? For now? For the future?
    • What can be done to get a better balance?
    • How can we play our part?
  • make reasoned value judgements about desirable action in particular situations, respecting the needs of future generations as well as the present;
  • arrive at informed and responsible decisions that acknowledge the depth and scale of current and future risk and aspirations;
  • demonstrate how action can help improve the quality of life for all;
  • be willing to negotiate and compromise and to use democratic means to influence change.