ERIC Number: ED475582
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003
Fostering Democratic Discussions in the Classroom: An Examination of Tensions in Civic Education, Contemporary Schools, and Teacher Education.
Cornett, Jeffrey W.; Gaudelli, William
The rationale for public schools has been divergently articulated around various broad themes integrated with a democratic society: economic production, socialization, integration, stability, and equality. Though divergent with regard to purpose and function of schools, advocates of these different purposes generally agree on a civic purpose of schools, or more specifically, the democratic orientation therein, at least in the abstract. Despite this apparent consensus about the purpose of school, education for democracy remains more assertion than actuality. This paper explores a series of tensions that seem to undermine the efforts of teacher educators in moving from the sloganeering associated with civics into the engaged, meaningful, and educative processes of real classrooms. The role of deliberation and discussion in these civics classrooms are highlighted in the paper as one aspect of thoughtful civics pedagogy in a democracy. Through examination of these illustrative tensions embedded in discussions in civic education classrooms, the paper seeks to uncover and further problematize that which seems so agreeable; that schools should be places where democratic civics is enacted. Tensions the paper explores related to democratic schools are illustrative of some of the deep frictions that exist in U.S. society, ones that often remain implicit and underexamined. Tensions briefly examined in the paper include: content and process, objectivism and relativism, and national and global. (Contains 21 references and 4 figures.) (BT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Conference of the Education in Democracy for Social Studies Teachers: An Institute for Florida Teacher Educators (Gainesville, FL, April 10-12, 2003).