Short Course: Learning for Democracy: Lessons in Power and Persuasion

Learning for Democracy: Lessons in Power and Persuasion

Titus Alexander
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Palais des congrés de Montréal, 516B

Humanity’s biggest and most difficult problems are political: conflict, discrimination, inequality, global heating, environment, trade policy, you name it. Yet there are few opportunities for people to develop practical political understanding, strategies and skills.

This short course covers a range of tried and tested methods for teaching non-partisan, practical politics across the curriculum, including how to
• make the most of ‘teachable moments’
• create learning communities in a class or lecture programme, using peer induction, electing class representatives and devils’ advocates; setting up study buddies, huddles, buzz groups and action learning sets;
• tackle controversial issues constructively
• make the most of invited activists, politicians and practitioners
• base assignments on real-life tasks, projects or community service
• explore issues of power and exclusion
• use Solutions Focus and Systems Thinking in political problem solving
• present theories as stories, pictures and diagrams
• teach Theories of Change and how to plan and develop a campaign
• evaluate the impact of your course
This course is participative and informative, drawing on ‘Practical Politics: Lessons in Power and Democracy’ (2016, UCL IoE/Trentham) about how to teach democratic politics as well as four decades of experience in civic education, engagement and advocacy at a local, national and international level, as well as research into the impact of social science and evaluation of education. The author is a regular contributor to the World Forum for Democracy, hosted by the Council of Europe, and has published widely on deepening democracy, including Family Learning: The Foundation of Effective Education (Demos 1997), Citizenship Schools: A practical guide (2001), and Unravelling Global Apartheid: An overview of world politics (Polity/Blackwell’s, 1996). He runs an advanced apprenticeship in campaigning and leadership for trade unions in the UK, and founded Democracy Matters, an alliance for learning practical politics.
Participants will receive practical templates for learning and teaching, course notes and slides.
This course was fully subscribed at the 2021 conference in Seattle.