|Teaching Civic Engagement Globally is the result of collaborative work spanning scholars from multiple disciplines, fields, and careers. Political scientists, educators, and students have joined to produce important, timely research.|
by Theodore Chadjipadelis and Georgia Panagiotidou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
This chapter presents an experiment of teaching “democracy”, where political science students at Aristotle university of Thessaloniki are trained and assigned to teach a civic education course to other students in high schools and universities. The research investigates the effect of this civic education intervention on the nature and extent of students’ political mobilization. Analysis of survey data from participants indicates that the course in democracy enhances students’ political engagement.
This chapter offers an example of a University-based civic engagement course that strengthens democracy, allowing students to simulate their role as future citizens in the implemented interactive workshops. The research presented in this chapter highlights the important role of civic education and its positive effect in the political behavior and engagement of the students. Analysis from the data shows that the students who were taught civic education course by the political science department students who had opted for the “teaching civic education” academic module managed to score higher in political behavior characteristics (political interest, knowledge and mobilization) in comparison to the control group (general student’s population). In addition to the above, the study shows that the distance learning course (spring semester 2020) had the same effect on the students for political engagement, as the in-classroom courses before the COVID-19 pandemic (spring semester 2019).
The intervention in the Aristotle University of the Thessaloniki, with students teaching civic education to other students in high schools and universities, shows the importance of teaching democracy, especially when this takes the form of interactive workshops where students can simulate their future role as citizens and be trained on special topics such as representation, deliberation, elections, and understanding the basic democratic institutions and functions. The Aristotle University experiment can serve as an example for other institutions and researchers. Applying the methodology, they can prepare their students to develop and deliver interactive civic education courses to other students, and they can also examine the effect on the political behavior of the young participants. Such intervention could enhance the content of civic education and promote the importance of the inclusion of civic education in the school curriculum, as well as in the university’s curriculum, with the aim of strengthening the role of the citizen in contemporary and strong democratic societies.
About Teaching Civic Engagement Globally
Educators around the globe are facing challenges in teaching politics in an era in which populist values are on the rise, authoritarian governance is legitimized, and core democratic tenets are regularly undermined. To combat anti-democratic outcomes and citizens’ apathy, Teaching Civic Engagement Globally provides a wide range of pedagogical tools to help the current generation learn to effectively navigate debates and lead changes in local, national, and global politics. Contributors discuss key theoretical discussions and challenges regarding global civic engagement education, highlight successful evidence-based pedagogical approaches, and review effective ways to reach across disciplines and the global education community.