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The ‘Doing Democracy’ Project: An Overview of Scope & Findings Dr David Zyngier Monash University Dr Marc Pruyn Monash University Dr Paul R. Carr Lakehead.

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Presentation on theme: "The ‘Doing Democracy’ Project: An Overview of Scope & Findings Dr David Zyngier Monash University Dr Marc Pruyn Monash University Dr Paul R. Carr Lakehead."— Presentation transcript:

1 The ‘Doing Democracy’ Project: An Overview of Scope & Findings Dr David Zyngier Monash University Dr Marc Pruyn Monash University Dr Paul R. Carr Lakehead University

2 ‘Doing Democracy’: Today’s seminar Introduction –A brief overview –History of the Project –A chat with Dr Paul Carr Methodology –The URL & global partners –The survey & participants The literature –Discourses of ‘democracy’ Findings –Australian ‘democracy’ –US ‘democracy’ –Democracy & the classroom Next steps –Expansion of the Project

3 Intro: History of the project

4 Intro: The Doing Democracy Global Doing Research Project A comparative and contrasting study of education students, teachers and their educators in Australia, North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe. The research explores three themes: 1.Predisposition among teachers is to understand democracy and politics in a thin way 2.Potential for teachers to do thick democracy in education 3.Teachers understanding of the importance of power and difference in relation to democracy The focus of this research study is how education supports, cultivates and engages in/with democracy.

5 Method: The URL & global partners

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7 2011

8 Method: The survey & participants

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11 What do Pre-service Teachers, Teachers & Education Academics think about Democracy? Over 2000 respondents Australia, Malaysia, Canada, US, Argentina, Peru; so far... Future research results from Bosnia, Romania, Finland, Turkey, Greece, South Africa, Israel/Palestine, Pakistan...

12 The Literature: Discourses of ‘democracy’

13 Theoretical Framework Barber’s Strong Democracy (Barber, 2004), Westheimer and Kahne (2003) Kinds of Good Citizens - responsible, participatory and justice oriented Gandin and Apple (2002) Thin & Thick Democracy Carr (2010) Does your vote count? Critical pedagogy and democracy

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15 What is a Democratic society?

16 Your view: A Wordle or Beautiful CloudA Wordle or Beautiful Cloud

17 Is your country a Democratic society? Why? Why not?

18 Is the USA a Democratic society?

19 Are elections important to Democracy?

20 Should teachers strive to promote a sense of democracy in students?

21 Continuum of Democracy: Based on ideas from Nelson and Guerra (2007) and Kahne and Westheimer (2003) and Westheimer and Kahne (2004).

22 Thin democratic discourses Contributing food to a food drive Organising a food drive

23 Thick democratic discourses Explore why people are hungry and act to make decisions about and solve its root causes (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004)

24 Findings: Australian ‘democracy’

25 Is Australia a democratic society? AcademicsPre-service teachers Teachers Not verySomewhatVery

26 Is Australia a Democratic society? Students: The government listens to what the majority of people want; minority will always be dissatisfied; minority hold the power & the voice in major decisions; people don't have full freedom because of economic or social status especially the Indigenous Teachers: We are free to vote & speak out on issues that concern us; people have the right to vote, freedom of speech, a voice, ability to sit in parliament, council meetings... Academics: [We have] elected government, where participation does not depend on wealth; some groups of society are not treated equally; groups of Australian society that are invisible or discriminated against through policy & the attitudes; wealthy have disproportionate power...

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28 Findings: US ‘democracy’

29 Is the US Democratic? Academics Teachers Pre-service teachers Not verySomewhatVery

30 Is USA a Democratic society? Students: many people live in violence & poverty; wealth is poorly distributed; imbalances of power seem more pronounced in the US; great inconsistencies in approach to human rights; have so little sense of the value of their voice in the nation; they are not motivated to vote... Teachers: People elect those in power - they have a elections; they espouse themselves to be very democratic; they offer less support to unemployed; low income earners & do not provide universal health support... Academics: too much accumulation of power in the hands of one person; democracy has gone wrong; imbalance of power which distorts the actual outcomes of elections and decisions; large sections of society seriously disadvantaged & invisible; dictators were given red carpets...

31 Findings: ‘Democracy’ & the classroom

32 Academics Teachers Pre-service teachers Should teachers strive to promote a sense of democracy in students? Not at allSomewhat Most Definitely

33 Should teachers strive to inculcate a sense of democracy in students? Students: Should feel empowered to take their say & make a difference; teachers are capable of manufacturing or nurturing any value in students; it is very important for the students to feel they are a part of a democratic classroom; students should feel that they have a voice that will be heard... Teachers: I adopt a democratic approach; it's important to support students in developing an understanding of how country is run, how decisions are made; it is very important for students to understand that their opinions count; is imperative that teachers educate students about democracy, not only the words & voting system, but in educating them to be concerned, involved & contributing citizens of our country... Academics: It is the best gift I can give the students I teach; an essential role of all university teachers; teachers are in a perfect position to inculcate democratic values in students, despite being dictated to by less democratic forces; teachers have a responsibility to be ‘cultural connoisseurs’ & critics & should be prepared to facilitate the continuity of those traditions...

34 Next steps: Expansion of the project ‘Doing Democracy’

35 What would Thick Democracy look like?

36 Expansion... Extending more into... –The Americas –Asia –Africa –Oceania –Europe –Middle East –Indigenous communities Funding... –Monash –Foundation –ARC linkage –Canadian equivalents Team linguistic support... –English –French –Spanish –Hebrew –Urdu

37 Discussion 1) How do we understand the perceptions, experiences and perspectives of democracy and education? 2) What would a thick democracy look like in school education system for you and your students? 3) What are the implications of a thick democracy in schools?

38 Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Contact David:


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