|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 Catherine Shea Sanger, Yale-NUS College, Singapore, and Wei Lit Yew, Hong Kong Baptist University
Civic engagement education has often been associated with promoting and protecting liberal democracy. What does civic engagement education entail in less liberal or illiberal political contexts? In our contributions, we describe ways that broader political-legal contexts of the state and nation, organizational contexts of universities or colleges, and localized settings within the college, e.g., residential halls and classrooms (microclimates) combine to facilitate or stymie civic engagement education. Using Singapore as an illustration, we describe formal legal restrictions and implicit norms that constitute barriers to certain types of civic engagement.
To foster productive microclimates for civic education in this context, we encourage educators to emphasize community engagement in addition to political activism, inquiry and service over confrontational change-making, and communitarian/ collectivist over exclusively liberal/individualized political approaches. To develop these claims, we introduce a case study of Yale-NUS College in Singapore.
Our case study indicates that, through the provision of a facilitative campus climate, there are robust opportunities for civic engagement education in less liberal contexts. Our findings indicate that that the liberal arts and sciences common curriculum, active learning pedagogies, intimacy and multinationalism of the college community, support for student initiatives, and can-do culture of Yale-NUS have combined to nourish vibrant spaces for student civic engagement. However, there remain barriers to civic engagement. These include students’ workload and major selection, perceived liberal bias in the college, national political regulations, and the intimacy of the college community, which can be a double-edged sword. relations to empower the voices of many.
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.