A semantic perspective on Global citizenship education: A systematic review





21st century learning skills, Active citizenship, Global Citizenship Education (GCE), Qualitative research


Based on a qualitative study on teaching strategies and classroom practices during a global citizenship oriented lesson, this article draws attention to the keyword “global citizenship education” through a systematic review of definitions of GCE over the past decade. Using the definitions of GCE as starting point, it clarifies its semantic ambiguity in the context of the education research, and examines how it could be recognized globally, nationally, and in schools. As the data set, 108 papers published between 2010 and 2019 were analyzed. The small number of definitions in literature proved the complexity in defining GCE. The analysis explores the discourses of scholars in order to identify the dominant themes that are investigated, and to apply the academic knowledge in the context of the classroom.

Author Biography

Federica Caccioppola, LUMSA Università di Roma – f.caccioppola@lumsa.it

PhD student, Dottorato Internazionale "Contemporary Humanism"


Andreotti, V. (2006). Soft versus critical global citizenship education. Policy & Practice (Centre for Global Education), 3, 40–51. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137324665_2

Andreotti, V. (2011). (Towards) decoloniality and diversality in global citizenship education. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9(3–4), 381–397. https://doi.org/10.1080/14767724.2011.605323

Andreotti V. (2021). Depth education and the possibility of GCE otherwise. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 19(4), 496–509.

Andreotti, V., & de Souza, L. M. T. M. (Eds.) (2012). Postcolonial perspectives on global citizenship education. New York, NY: Routledge.

Arthur, J. (2014). The longings and limits of global citizenship education: the moral pedagogy of schooling in a cosmopolitan age. By Jeffrey S. Dil. British Journal of Educational Studies, 62(1), 73–74. https://doi.org/10.1080/00071005.2013.877621

Bosio, E. A. & Torres, C. (2019). Global citizenship education: An educational theory of the common good? A conversation with Carlos Alberto Torres. Policy Futures in Education, 17(6), 745–760. https://doi.org/10.1177/1478210319825517

Calle Díaz, L. (2017). Citizenship Education and the EFL Standards: A Critical Reflection. Profile Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 19(1), 155–168. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://www.redalyc.org/journal/1692/169248921011/html/

Centro per la Cooperazione Internazionale (2022). Che cos’è l’Educazione alla Cittadinanza Globale. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.cci.tn.it/CCI/Servizi/Centro-insegnanti-globali/Che-cos-e-l-Educazione-alla-Cittadinanza-Globale

Cho, H., & Mosselson, J. (2018). Neoliberal practices amidst social justice orientations: Global citizenship education in South Korea. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 48(6), 861–878. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057925.2017.1364154

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2018). Research Methods in Education (8th ed.). New York: Routledge.

Consiglio Nazionale per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo (CNCS). (2018). Strategia Italiana per l’Educazione alla Cittadinanza Globale. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.info-cooperazione.it/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Strategia-ECG.pdf

Dale R. (2010). Globalization and curriculum. In P. Peterson, E. L. Baker, & B. McGaw (Eds), International encyclopedia of education (3rd ed.) (pp. 312–317). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Damiani V. (2016), Cittadinanza e identità. Educazione alla cittadinanza globale e identità multiple in studenti di terza media. Roma: Anicia.

Damiani, V. (2018). Introducing Global Citizenship Education into Classroom Practice: A Study on Italian 8th Grade Students. Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, 8(3), 165–186. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1192490

Davies, L. (2006). Global citizenship: Abstraction or framework for action?. Educational Review, 58(1), 5–25. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131910500352523

Davies, L., Evans, M. & Reid, A. (2005). Globalising citizenship education? A critique of ‘global education’ and ‘citizenship education.’ British Journal of Educational Studies, 53(1), 66–89. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/1556020

De Poorter, J. & Aguilar-Forero, N. (2020). The emergence of global citizenship education in Colombia: Lessons learned from existing education policy. Compare, 50(6), 865–883. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057925.2019.1574558

Dill, J. S. (2013). The Longings and Limits of Global Citizenship Education: The Moral Pedagogy of Schooling in a Cosmopolitan Age. New York,NY : Routledge.

Eidoo, S., Ingram, L., MacDonald, A., Nabavi, M., Pashby, K. & Stille, S. (2011). “Through the Kaleidoscope”: Intersections Between Theoretical Perspectives and Classroom Implications in Critical Global Citizenship Education. Canadian Journal of Education, 34(4), 59–84. https://journals.sfu.ca/cje/index.php/cje-rce/article/view/686

Gardner-Mctaggart, A. & Palmer, N. (2018). Global citizenship education, technology, and being. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 16(2), 268–281. https://doi.org/10.1080/14767724.2017.1405342

Goren, H. & Yemini, M. (2016). Global citizenship education in context: Teacher perceptions at an international school and a local Israeli school. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 46(5), 832–853. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057925.2015.1111752

Goren, H. & Yemini, M. (2017). Global Citizenship Education Redefined - A Systematic Review of Empirical Studies on Global Citizenship Education. International Journal of Educational Research, 82, 170–183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2017.02.004

Guo, L. (2014). Preparing Teachers to Educate for 21st Century Global Citizenship: Envisioning and Enacting. Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education, 4(1), 1–23. https://journals.sfu.ca/jgcee/index.php/jgcee/article/view/121

Handler, R. (2013). Disciplinary adaptation and undergraduate desire: Anthropology and global development studies in the liberal arts curriculum. Cultural Anthropology, 28(2), 181–203. https://doi.org/10.1111/cuan.12000

Hartman, E. & Kiely R. (2014). A Critical Global Citizenship. In P. Green, & M. Johnson (Eds.), Crossing boundaries: Tension and transformation in international service-learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Holden, C. (2006). Concerned Citizens: Children and the Future. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 1(3), 231–247. https://doi.org/10.1177/1746197906068122

Howard, A. Dickert, P., Owusu, G. & Riley, D. (2018). In service of the western World: Global citizenship education within a Ghanaian elite context. British Journal of Educational Studies, 66(4), 497–514. https://doi.org/10.1080/00071005.2018.1533100

Howard, A. & Maxwell, C. (2018). From conscientization to imagining redistributive strategies: social justice collaborations in elite schools. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 16(4), 526–540. https://doi.org/10.1080/14767724.2018.1512048

Jeffress, D. (2008). Global citizenship and the cultural politics of benevolence. Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices, 2(1), 27–36. Retrieved September, 30, 2022, from http://criticalliteracy.freehostia.com/index.php?journal=criticalliteracy&page=article&op=viewArticle&path%5B%5D=5

Jeffress, D. (2012). The “Me to We” social enterprise: global education as lifestyle brand. Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices, 6(1), 18–30. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from http://criticalliteracy.freehostia.com/index.php?journal=criticalliteracy&page=article&op=viewArticle&path%5B%5D=101

Kerr, D. (2002). Citizenship education: an international comparison across sixteen countries. International Journal of Social Education, 17(1), 1–15. https://www.seameo.org/img/Programmes_Projects/Competition/SEAMEOJapanESD_Award/2013_SEAMEOJapanESD_Award/pub/citizenship_no_intro.pdf

Leek, J. (2016). Global Citizenship Education in School Curricula. A Polish Perspective. Journal of Social Studies Education Research, 7(2), 51–74. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1121634

Mravcová, A. (2016). Practical Implementation of Global Citizenship Education at the Slovak University of Agriculture. International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning, 8(1), 57–77. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1167828

Myers, J. P. (2016). Charting a democratic course for global citizenship education: Research directions and current challenges. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.24.2174

Noh, J.-E. (2019). The legitimacy of development nongovernmental organizations as global citizenship education providers in Korea. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 14(3), 241–259. https://doi.org/10.1177/1746197918799972

Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l’Educazione, la Scienza e la Cultura. (UNESCO) (2014). Global citizenship education: Preparing learners for the challenges of the 21st century. Paris: UNESCO.

Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l’Educazione, la Scienza e la Cultura (UNESCO). (2017). Educazione agli obiettivi per lo sviluppo sostenibile. Obiettivi di apprendimento. Paris: UNESCO.

Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l’Educazione, la Scienza e la Cultura (UNESCO). (2018). Educazione alla Cittadinanza Globale: Temi e obiettivi di apprendimento. Paris: UNESCO.

Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (OXFAM). (2014). Quadro di riferimento per l’Educazione alla Cittadinanza Globale. Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://www.sfyouth.eu/images/toolkit/global_citizenship_education/GlobalCitizenshipEducationFramework_it.pdf

Oxley, L. & Morris, P. (2013). Global citizenship: A typology for distinguishing its multiple conceptions. British Journal of Educational Studies, 61(2), 301–325. https://doi.org/10.1080/00071005.2013.798393

Palmer, N. (2018). Emergent constellations: Global citizenship education and outrospective fluency. Journal of Research in International Education, 17(2), 134–147. https://doi.org/10.1177/1475240918793963

Parmenter, L. (2011). Power and place in the discourse of global citizenship education. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9(3–4), 367–380. https://doi.org/10.1080/14767724.2011.605322

Pashby, K. (2011). Cultivating Global Citizens: Planting New Seeds or Pruning the Perennials? Looking for the Citizen-Subject in Global Citizenship Education Theory. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9(3–4), 427–442. https://doi.org/10.1080/14767724.2011.605326

Pashby, K. (2015). Conflations, possibilities, and foreclosures: Global citizenship education in a multicultural context. Curriculum Inquiry, 45(4), 345–366. https://doi.org/10.1080/03626784.2015.1064304

Peters, M., Blee, H., & Britton, A. (2008). Global citizenship education: Philosophy, theory and pedagogy. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Pike, G. (2008). Global education. In J. Arthur, I. Davies, & C. Hahn (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of education for citizenship and democracy (pp. 468–480). London: Sage.

Quaynor, L. (2018). Remembering West African Indigenous Knowledges and Practices in Citizenship Education Research. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 48(3), 362–378. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057925.2018.1444468

Rapoport, A. (2010). We cannot teach what we don’t know: Indiana teachers talk about global citizenship education. Education. Citizenship and Social Justice, 5(3), 179–190. https://doi.org/10.1177/1746197910382256

Rapoport, A. (2015). Facing the challenge: Obstacles to global and global citizenship education in US schools. In J. Zajda, (Ed.), Nation-Building and History Education in a Global Culture (1st ed.) (pp. 155–170). New York; London: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9729-0_10

Reilly, J., & Niens, U. (2014). Global citizenship as education for peacebuilding in a divided society: Structural and contextual constraints on the development of critical dialogic discourse in schools. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 44(1), 53–76. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057925.2013.859894

Shultz, L. (2007). Educating for global citizenship: Conflicting agendas and understandings. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 53(3), 248–258. https://doi.org/10.11575/ajer.v53i3.55291

Standish, A. (2014). What is global education and where is it taking us?. Curriculum Journal, 25(2), 166–186. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585176.2013.870081

Starkey, H. (2018). Fundamental British Values and citizenship education: Tensions between national and global perspectives. Geografiska Annaler Series B-Human Geography, 100(2), 149–162. https://doi.org/10.1080/04353684.2018.1434420

Tarozzi, M. & Torres, A. C. (2016). Global Citizenship Education and the Crises of Multiculturalism. Comparative Perspectives. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Torres, C.A. & Bosio, E. (2020). Riflessioni critiche sul concetto di educazione alla cittadinanza globale. Dialogo con Carlos Alberto Torres sulla formazione universitaria negli Stati Uniti. Encyclopaideia – Journal of Phenomenology and Education, 24(56), 107–117. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.1825-8670/10742

Veugelers, W. (2011) The moral and the political in global citizenship: appreciating differences in education. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 9(3–4), 473–485. https://doi.org/10.1080/14767724.2011.605329

Waldron, F., Ruane, B., Oberman, R. & Morris, S. (2016). Geographical process or global injustice? Contrasting educational perspectives on climate change. Environmental Education Research, 25(6), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2016.1255876

Wang, C. & Hoffman, D. M. (2016). Are WE the world? A critical reflection on selfhood and global citizenship education. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 56. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.24.2152

Wintersteiner W. (2018). Citizens of “Homeland Earth.” UNESCO on the Road to “Global Citizenship Education”: The Refugee Example. In H. Kur e S. Redo (Ed.), Refugees and Migrants in Law and Policy, (pp. 835–862). Cham: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-72159-0_35

Yemini, M. (2018). Global/local nexus: Between global citizenship and nationalism in a superdiverse London school. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 27(2–3), 271–287. https://doi.org/10.1080/09620214.2018.1429946

Yemini, M, Tibbitts, F., & Goren, H. (2019). Trends and caveats: Review of literature on global citizenship education in teacher training. Teaching and Teacher Education, 77, 77–89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2018.09.014

Yeoh, M. P. (2017). Global Citizenship Education in Secondary Science: A Survey on ASEAN Educators. Journal of Science and Mathematics Education in Southeast Asia, 40(1), 63–82. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1177154

Zahabioun, S., Yousefy, A., Yarmohammadian, M. & Keshtiaray, N. (2013). Global Citizenship Education and Its Implications for Curriculum Goals at the Age of Globalization. International Education Studies, 6, 195–206. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1067167



How to Cite

Caccioppola, F. (2022). A semantic perspective on Global citizenship education: A systematic review . Formazione & Insegnamento, 20(3), 103–121. https://doi.org/10.7346/-fei-XX-03-22_09



Quality of Life