London Metropolitan University Research Institutes
 

Training the teachers of tomorrow: European identity and Hungarian and Romanian students’ attitudes towards the European Union

Author(s) Szabó, E., Lőrinczi, J. & Secui, M.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2012  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell (eds.) Creating Communities: Local, National and Global  
Age group -  
Keywords/Abstract
The European Union (EU) was established based on several “group beliefs”, including that of a new sense of the self (Chryssochoou, 2000), its principles being, among others, to deepen the unity between countries and to establish a common citizenship. Within this context the EU could represent for its members a super-ordinate category, a more inclusive aggregate, transcending national identities. The future construction of the EU is based on the next generations’ representations and beliefs, and professionals from the field of education play a major role in the development of children’s attitudes toward EU in this regard. This paper focuses on the topic of European identity and the attitudes toward EU membership exhibited by students enrolled on teacher training programs in two universities from Hungary and Romania. The 132 participants were all nationals of their respective country and had both parents of the same origin and nationality. The emotional aspect of attitudes concerning European and national membership were investigated using the Semantic Selection Test (D’Escury, 2008; Szabó, 2010) and the cognitive and behavioural components of these attitudes were explored by using a questionnaire that focused on the perceived consequences of their country’s European integration. The questionnaire was designed by the authors based on the results of previous studies in the field (Bruter, 2005), but also encompasses items referring to the teachers’ role in citizenship education of the pupils and in shaping their European and national identities. Our findings suggest a positive relation between the attitudes toward the EU of future teachers and their beliefs regarding the active role they take in preparing their pupils for the process of EU integration. Keywords: European identity, attitudes toward European Union integration, teachers’ training, prospective teachers’ attitudes
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