Developing the LOMLOE Key Competence of Citizenship at Primary

The new Education Law outlines eight key competences to be developed across subject areas as part of its ‘perfil de salida’ (leaver profile). These are general competences that school leavers will need to get on in life and be effective members of society. One of these key competences is Citizenship and in this blog post we are going to look at how it is defined according to the LOMLOE and consider some activities we can do with our primary pupils to develop the competence.

The leaver profile includes a definition of citizenship and four descriptors for what pupils should be able to do at the end of primary and four more for what they should be able to do at the end of compulsory secondary education (aged 16). What does the law say?

The Citizenship competence is considered to be ‘the ability to act as responsible citizens and to fully participate in social and civic life.’ For me the key words here are ‘participate fully’ – citizenship isn’t just about being responsible, respectful and understanding of others; it’s about being active, going out and making a difference, making the world a better place. Let’s look at the four descriptors:

  • Understands the most relevant historical and social facts relative to their identity and culture, reflects on norms for living together and applies them to any context in way that is constructive, inclusive and through dialogue.
  • Takes part in community activities and contributes to conflict resolution through dialogue and in way that respects democratic procedures, human rights, cultural diversity, gender equality, social cohesion and sustainable development.
  • Reflects on and discusses values and current ethical issues and respects differences between cultures and ideologies, cares for their surroundings, rejects prejudices and stereotypes and is opposed to any kind of discrimination and violence.
  • Understands the systemic relationships between human actions and our surroundings and begins to adopts sustainable habits to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity from a local and global perspective.

There’s a lot there! Let us now consider some activities which we can use with our primary students to develop some of these sub-competences.

  1. Adopting sustainable habits with zero-waste snacks:

What kinds of snacks do your pupils bring to school? Processed / industrial doughnuts in layers of packaging and a chocolate milkshake in a tetra pack or apples and bananas with water in a reusable bottle? The latter are better for the environment and of course for our students’ health (this is part of the ‘self management’ key competence in the LOMOE!). Of course, improvement in this area involves educating our pupils…and their parents. But if we get our pupils on-side then they can help do the job of educating their parents for us: I know this from first-hand experience, my son got angry with me when he found aluminum foil in the house!

In the example above, pupils’ snacks are categorised into zero waste / recyclable and non-recyclable. Every day a chart is completed to show the proportion of each. Depending on the proportion of the three types of waste at the end of the week the class gets either a gold / silver / bronze or no award. And the beauty of this is that in my son’s school there are two classes in competition with each other…and not only the pupils, but the parents too: the WhatsApp parents groups of both classes get the results every week: my son is in 2A and they have won more medals than 2B  😉

So what we have here are gamification elements at work: competition and rewards. It is certainly working, although not all pupils bring in zero waste snacks every day, the proportion of zero-waste snacks is increasing.

2. Sustainability and values through donating toys

As part of the new curriculum, situaciones de aprendizaje or ‘Learning Experiences’ are presented as opportunities for pupils to put into practice the specific competences and basic knowledge they are developing in their subject areas. They are great opportunities for the key competences, like citizenship, to be integrated. Here is an example:

Rise and Shine, level 1

Learning Experiences, as defined by the LOMLOE, allow students to take what they’ve learned in class and use it to achieve a real world task and then reflect on the experience (for a more detailed look, go here).

The task above is real world because recycling toys is something the pupils can actually do. It is also relevant to sustainability, as we are reusing rather than buying new, creating less waste. And there is a strong sense of developing community values, by helping other children.

3. A Kindness Wall to show actions in the community

Rise and Shine, level 5

A Kindness Wall is a beautiful visual display of ways in which pupils have helped the community – taking part in community activities being part of the first descriptor for the citizenship competence in the LOMLOE, remember.

In the lesson above, the language points that the students have been working on previously in the unit are talking about actions in the past and vocabulary to talk about helping people. They put this together at the end of the unit on their Kindness Wall – represented as a tree, with stories of kindness on each of the leaves. In groups they present the ways they have helped the community and members of the audience then ask follow up questions: it’s good language practice. But furthermore, they can also inspire one another with their stories on how they’ve been helpful.

So, in this blog post we’ve looked at what the citizenship competence is according to the LOMLOE and considered three activities to build up the sub-competences it includes. But there’s more! Why not check out these links:

For a more in-depth look at inclusion in the LOMLOE, click here.

For a more in-depth look at sustainability in the LOMLOE, click here.

For a more in-depth look at learning experiences in the LOMLOE, click here.

To find out more about Rise and Shine, Pearson’s brand new 6-level primary course developed in complete alignment with the LOMLOE, click here.


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