Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Educating Future Citizens for a More Just, Humane and Peaceful World

Dr Matthew Hirshberg.

This paper takes the position that the principle aim of social studies education should be to encourage students to become empathetic, generous, cooperative and critically tolerant citizens who will help build a more inclusive, just and harmonious world. With these ends in mind, the paper stresses the importance of global education and makes a number of suggestions on how social studies ought to be taught. It is argued that educators must distance themselves from the dispassionate, removed, amoral and impersonal perspective that typifies established social science, and instead take a participant’s perspective on the social world, paying passionate attention to human joy and sorrow, and to ethics. Students should be encouraged to think critically and to discuss multiple perspectives on contestable issues. There should be attention to honouring human differences, and students should be given the opportunity to see the world through others’ eyes and to help others. Teachers should model compassionate behaviour and use cooperative learning methods. Finally, students should be encouraged to actively use the Internet as a window on their world through Web-based assignments. In these ways, educators can help produce young citizens who will help make the world a more just, humane and peaceful place.


Dr Matthew Hirshberg  (New Zealand)
Senior Lecturer
School of Political Science and Communication
University of Canterbury

MATT HIRSHBERG teaches political science at the University of Canterbury, and has published work on social studies pedagogy and citizenship education in New Zealand. A former secretary of the New Zealand Political Studies Association, he is author of Perpetuating Patriotic Perceptions and serves on the editorial board of Political Psychology.

  • Social studies
  • Citizenship education
  • Political socialization
  • Values education
  • Global education
  • Peace studies
  • Critical thinking
  • Altruism
  • Cooperative learning
  • Internet-based learning

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)