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Teachers’ concepts of good citizenship and associations with their teaching styles

Pages 433-450 | Received 24 Apr 2020, Accepted 01 Dec 2020, Published online: 12 Jan 2021


Teachers are key agents in the political socialisation of adolescents. Therefore, knowledge about teachers’ beliefs concerning citizenship is essential, as these beliefs likely relate to how educators socialise young people via preferred modes of teaching. Studying the link between teachers’ citizenship norms and associated teaching styles can inform us about how to improve citizenship education in schools. The authors use the 2016 International Civic and Citizenship Education Study data, relying on the unique Teacher Survey conducted in Flanders (n = 1983) using multilevel latent class analysis. They identify five profiles of teachers’ concepts of good citizenship. These profiles are further correlated with goals of citizenship education emphasised by teachers as well as the sources and activities used to teach civics in the classroom. The results suggest that teachers can be seen as instructional gatekeepers, with teachers supporting more engaged and all-around norms of citizenship more frequently implementing active teaching styles.

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.


1. Teacher’s age was measured in six categories (less than 25 years, 25–29 years, 30–39 years, 40–49 years, 50–59 years, 60 years or over).

2. In this analysis, we use a more parsimonious two-category coding and differentiate between behaviours that teachers said are not important and behaviours that they considered necessary for being a good citizen. This coding yields easily interpretable results, it avoids difficulties in the model estimation, and it enables us to compare our results with previous research that proposed the same coding decision (see, for example, Hooghe & Oser, Citation2015).

3. In addition, more complex parametric and non-parametric multilevel latent class models were performed (data not shown); however, these fit the data less well than the respective models with only one latent class at the school level shown in .

Additional information


This research was supported by a visiting fellowship at the KU Leuven, a postdoctoral fellowship from the U.S. National Academy of Education, and the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong.

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