Citizenship Education in Italian Textbooks. How Much Space is There for Europe and Active Citizenship?
Purpose: In this article we investigated how the Italian school curricula incorporated European and national recommendations concerning European and Citizenship education, analysing how much and which kind of space is devoted to Europe and active citizenship in Italian high school textbooks.
Design/methodology/approach: We selected a sample of bestseller textbooks of different disciplines (History and English as a Second Language) for secondary (lyceum and technical) school students (18 years old), including books explicitly designed for citizenship education, and analysed them using a mixed methods approach (quantitative analysis, and thematic content analysis).
Findings: We argue that the current European recommendations on citizenship education are far from being incorporated in the architecture and the contents of textbooks used in Italian secondary schools. We identified some shortcomings which should be addressed to increase the capacity of textbooks to form young European citizen.
Practical implications: The opportunities that the EU offers to young people to practice active citizenship and supporting the acquisition of critical and reflective skills beyond formal knowledge deserve more attention.