Unshackle schools from test results to give children the chance to form opinions

phys.org | 9/4/2019 | Staff
ali11 (Posted by) Level 3
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If political headlines globally are anything to go by, it seems democracy is at risk. Totalitarian views are on the rise. Far-right parties and leaders have gained voters in many countries. And decisions are being made by law courts or by technical experts from international economic organizations. And people, particularly young people, feel they do not have a say. So it's not surprising then that governments are turning their attention to schools as a potential cure.

Promoting democracy has always been one of the tasks of schools within democratic systems. But this demand is now on the rise. Indeed, across the globe teachers in schools are expected to engage students as democratic citizens. It's hoped such lessons about democracy and what it is to be a good citizen will help to combat growing support for totalitarian and radical views.

Research - Articles - Education - Analysis - Shows

In my research, I have examined more than 370 academic articles about democratic education. My analysis shows there is much disagreement, even among academics, as to both what democracy means as well as how to educate children and young people into democratic values.

But even despite these disagreements, most researchers agree on something: when students discuss and evaluate viewpoints on topics such as as globalization or evolution not only do they learn more about geography or science but they also discover that their voice matters.

Topics - Patriotism - Conflicts - Ideas - Facts

Indeed, when topics such as patriotism or historical conflicts are presented as ideas to be debated rather than facts to be learned, students have time to form opinions and democracy benefits.

Schools can also help to promote democracy when students, parents and teachers are involved in making decisions. At some schools in Brazil, for example, members of the school community democratically agree on school rules, curriculum and procedures. But limited time and space for controversy and participatory decisions in schools restricts...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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