Contested Narratives and Controversial Issues in Citizenship Education

حول المشروع

ConCitizen addresses a key issue in citizenship education: how do we teach controversial issues particularly related to contested narratives in post-conflict and diverse societies? European education systems share a strong tradition of democratic formation, focusing on coexistence, critical stance and respect for diverse opinions and outlooks. However, new challenges for democracy have emerged such as populism, right-wing and Islamist extremism. In addition, digitalization of society has evoked a polarized debate culture on social media characterized by echo chambers and filter bubbles. ConCitizen explores how contested narratives and controversial issues are included – or avoided – in the school subjects of history, religious education, and citizenship education.

ConCitizen seeks to stimulate innovative learning and teaching practices by developing pedagogical models that encourage self-reflection, awareness of power relations, and critical thinking when teaching contested narratives. The aim is to strengthen the student teachers’ ability to create an inclusive learning environment by addressing stereotypes and highlighting common vulnerability. To promote digital readiness in education, ConCitizen will develop digital teaching materials and a virtual exchange format with student teachers as co-creators. An innovative element of the project is to explore the use of eTwinning as a platform for cooperation in higher education. eTwinning will be the primary tool to plan, implement and disseminate the project results.


Impact and Outcomes

  • Impact: New approaches to teaching contested narratives can become a key opportunity for students to critically review different discourses including their own community, to train themselves to accept new ideas, to accept difference of opinion, to accept others from different sects or political fractions as equal co-citizens and partners in the project of building their common country.
  • Outcome 1: To strengthen students’ democratic competences and to develop citizenship education through a transnational virtual exchange format and teaching tutorials in different national and democratic contexts and across participating institutions.
  • Outcome 2: To develop new pedagogical models for teaching contested and controversial narratives that will improve pupils’ ability to think critically, reflect on differences, and contribute to peaceful coexistence.
  • Outcome 3: To combine theoretical perspectives with pedagogical approaches, through an open access textbook, that strengthens student teachers’ and schoolteachers’ ability to facilitate inclusion, dialogue, and mutual understanding in classrooms, when topic are controversial, contested, and/or sensitive to some pupils.


Adyan Global Goal Goal 2: Citizenship and Peacebuilding
SDG SDG 4: Quality education

SDG 9: Reduced Inequalities

SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions



Direct Beneficiaries:

  • 20 BA and MA students in the field of education and NGO youth, schoolteachers, and 100 student teachers.

Indirect Beneficiaries:

  • Other teachers, trainers, and students who get access to the open-source textbook and the newly-developed pedagogical materials.



  • Concept-mapping of key controversial concepts and pedagogical issues related to them.
  • Curriculum mapping contributing information on the legal frame for teaching civics, history, and religion education in the partners’ national settings.
  • Semi-structured interviews with schoolteachers from each country focusing on their experiences on teaching contested narratives and controversial issues, and/or their experiences in avoiding such issues.
  • A comparative analysis of data collected leading to the development of new pedagogical models.
  • Teaching tutorials will be developed and used in virtual exchanges with student teachers and later for the virtual exchange format to be maintained after the project.
  • A two-session virtual exchange format will be developed, tested and revised to anchor the project in classroom teaching.
  • An open-source textbook will collect and disseminate the findings of the project and will combine theory with practical pedagogical models and examples from different national contexts.
  • An international conference with dissemination of project findings, feedback and presentations from scholars in the research field.

للتواصل معنا

Ana Maria Daou
E-Learning and Research Manager