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Education is often seen as the key agency in international development and poverty reduction. Frequently the emphasis is on the economic and social role of .
Table of contents



Kent Jennings. Bu, Liping. Westport, CT: Praeger. Google Scholar. Feldman, Kenneth A. Hochschild, Arlie Russell.

1. Introduction

Berkeley: University of California Press. Institute of International Education. Accessed September Jennings, M. Mannheim, Karl.

Learning Democracy: International Education and Political Socialization | SpringerLink

Miller, Arthur H. Nye, Joseph S. New York: Public Affairs. Sigel, Roberta.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Stone, Diane. Torney-Purta, Judith. Vigdor, Jacob L. Ye, Weili. Stanford: Stanford University Press. This is especially true in societies with emergent or so called "fragile" democracies, where democratic processes are not easily witnessed in the everyday media or public practices of a number of social institutions. In such societies, children and adolescents are not routinely exposed to these processes.

Citizenship in global perspective

People in societies that want to prepare citizens to believe in and think and behave like democratic citizens must commit to the explicit and purposeful process of teaching and promoting the development of democratic knowledge, skills, values and attitudes. An effective program of education for democracy teaches and promotes the development of specific knowledge, skills, and values or attitudes that are necessary to live in a democracy.

Democratic citizens must develop what John Patrick, a leading educator for democracy in the United States, calls the development of intellectual capital, and what South African educator Brenda Leibowitz calls civic literacy.

Open issues

That is, they must learn about what democracy is, how societies and governments are organized, how governments function, and about the history of their society. They must also have basic knowledge of economic, political, legal and social structures and systems, of how they work and function. They must know about the constitutions of their countries, and about universal human rights.

In this time of international and global awareness, citizens must also know and understand international relations. They must learn how democracy and democratic processes and structures are created; how democracy works and how it is sustainable. Also, they must understand why societies choose democratic principles and organizations.

Social Responsibility and Higher Education: A Call for Chapter Proposals

Finally, they must learn and understand that in democracy, everyone's voice must be listened to, that decisions are made by majority vote, and that the rights of the minority are to be respected and protected. Individuals can only function effectively as democratic citizens when they have the skillsthat allow them to participate actively in society.

They must know how to read and write, so that they can gather complex information, understand it, and participate in arguments and high-level decision-making processes effectively. Only with these skills well developed they will be able to participate in what Stotsky calls civic participatory writing.

Meet the Penn Kemble Forum on Democracy Fellows

They must also know how to engage in true dialogue and processes of conflict resolution and negotiation—what D. Hess calls "discussions of controversial public issues" "Teaching students to discuss controversial public issues. They must learn how to cooperate, think critically and independently, and know how to evaluate pros and cons of alternative solutions to problems. The values of democracy, those of respect and tolerance both individual and political , responsibility, integrity, self-discipline, justice, freedom, and human rights, among others, are not innate human values.

They are learned and must be taught as explicitly and clearly as democratic knowledge and skills are taught. This element of education for democracy is possibly the most controversial and difficult to plan and implement, as many fear that teaching values should not be part of school curriculum, but of family instruction and practices.


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However, democracy is founded on specific values that must be explicitly labeled, identified, practiced, and promoted in group-settings, not just in the family so that children learn that values are not just private and personal choices, but also choices that have public and social consequences. It is inspiring to see the efforts that many emergent democracies, such as countries of the former Soviet Union and South Africa, have made in the past decade to educate their citizens about how to live in democracy. These societies have not only reorganized themselves and their institutional structures and processes to reflect working democracies.

They have also developed and implemented strong curricula of education for democracy beginning in elementary schools, as they have realized that younger generations need to be taught how to live in this new system of governance. Many countries in Latin America have also supported the development of curricula at the elementary level that emphasizes education for democracy. Colombia, Paraguay and Mexico, among others, are good examples of such efforts. Even in societies with traditionally strong democracies such as the United States, the tragic events of September 11, have pointed to the importance of supporting and promoting the explicit education of the younger generations to promote their understanding and knowledge of democratic practices.

A strong curriculum that approaches democracy from the cognitive, behavioral and emotional point of view, and that is planned and implemented in developmentally appropriate ways is possibly the most effective way of preparing the next generation of democratic citizens and leaders. These are some suggestions for action: The content of the curriculum must be carefully examined to include concepts and information necessary to understand democracy.

Does democracy equate to economic growth ?

It is not enough to ask children and adolescents to memorize concepts and other pieces of information out of a meaningful context. The curriculum must present an integrated and very practical perspective on democracy, what it is, how it is organized, its history, politics, etc. Principles of human development should guide the development and implementation of the curriculum so that all activities are planned and implemented in developmentally-appropriate ways. For example, democratic principles are very abstract concepts, something that only older children might be able to understand well.

However, they can be taught in very concrete ways so that even young children begin to grasp basic concepts and ideas that can then increase in complexity as the children move on within the educational system. Teaching methods and practices should reflect democratic processes rather than authoritarian styles.


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  5. Teachers should emphasize debates, dialogue, conversations, and projects that require group and individual work. According to recent scholarly studies, some of the most successful strategies and methods to teach education for democracy include the use of case studies, service learning, experiential learning, and cooperative learning. All these techniques respond to individual needs and yet teach the individual to work in groups, to negotiate, advocate, listen to others, and to explain his or her point of view.

    The school organization should be reflective of democratic structures. Students should learn about democratic structures in schools, the first institution with which they develop a relationship outside of their families. The structure of the schools should be such that students' voices are listened to and taken into account in meaningful discussions and decisions that affect all members of the community.