Cultivating Active Citizenship Skills Among Youth

Last Updated:
Last Updated:

In Spain, France, and Greece, a civic education programme implemented through student-centred teaching methods cultivated students’ sense of altruism and tolerance towards others. The intervention also improved students’ academic achievement and school behaviour.

Key results

Students’ core civic values and attitudes became more aligned with democratic ideals; the programme also improved their ability to engage in democratic discourse at the end of the school year. The programme had a positive impact on students’ altruism and improved their perception of their own ability to engage in political processes. These effects are driven by students with highly involved teachers or higher initial civic skill levels.

Students who participated in the programme developed more diverse friend networks. The programme increased the diversity of students’ social interactions, driven by the higher likelihood of forming opposite-sex friendships in treated classes. Students’ ability to engage with people from different social backgrounds and geographical origins also improved as a result of the programme.

In France, the programme also had a positive impact on students’ behaviour and academic performance. Leveraging the availability of administrative data for participants in France, researchers found that students improved their school behaviour and average grades obtained during the last term of the school year.

Teachers played an important role in driving the programme’s impacts. In all three intervention countries, the teacher training shifted teaching practices away from traditional pedagogies towards less vertical, more student-centred approaches. The programme’s impacts on students' civic outcomes, friends network composition and behaviour were stronger in classes whose teachers were more involved in school life before the programme.