Democracy should enable citizens to play an informed role in determining how power is exercised for their common wellbeing, but this only works if people have the understanding, skills and confidence to engage effectively in public affairs. Otherwise, any voting system can be subverted to serve the interests of propagandists and demagogues.
This book brings together leading experts on learning for democracy to explore why and how the gap in civic competence should be bridged.
Drawing on research findings and case examples from the UK, the US and elsewhere, it will set out why change is necessary, what could be taught differently to ensure effective political engagement, and how a lasting impact in improving citizens’ learning for democratic participation can be made.
Henry Tam is a writer, educator and former Head for Civic Renewal under the last Labour government. He was previously a lecturer at the University of Cambridge.
1. Introduction: Citizens, We Have a Problem – Henry Tam
Part 1: Why Changes Are Needed
2. Political Education in an Unequal Society - Diane Reay
3. Classroom Conflict, ‘Divisive Concepts’ and Educating for Democracy - Barrett Smith and Sarah M. Stitzlein
4. The Contested Scope of Academic Freedom - Dina Kiwan
5. Rethinking Citizenship Education for Political Literacy - Tony Breslin
Part 2: What Could be Done Differently
6. Populism, Classrooms, and Shared Authority - Kathleen Sellers and Kathleen Knight Abowitz
7. Different Approaches to Teaching Civic and National Identity - Edda Sant
8. Active Learning of Marginalised Young People - Kalbir Shukra
9. Universities’ Role in Teaching Practical Politics - Titus Alexander
Part 3: How to Make a Lasting Impact
10. The Evidence on Educational Methods for Political Engagement - David Kerr and Bryony Hoskins
11. Citizenship Education: Building for the Future - Lee Jerome and Liz Moorse
12. Reversing Democratic Decline Through Political Education - Murray Print
13. Towards Civic Learning for All - Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg
14. Conclusion: Lessons for Democratic Health – Henry Tam