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

Learning for Democracy: Lessons in Power and Persuasion

Titus Alexander
Half Day, 1:30 – 5:30 PM
Washington State Convention Center, Room 616

How can we teach non-partisan, practical political education across the curriculum? This short course covers a range of tried and tested methods for developing political understanding and skill 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;
  •  use reflection and feedback at the end of every lesson
  • tackle controversial issues constructively
  • make the most of invited activists, politicians and practitioners
  • base assignments on real-life tasks, projects or community service
  • twin with learners in the local community or other countries
  • explore issues of power and exclusion
  • use a Solutions Focus and Systems Thinking approach to 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 teaching democratic politics in civil society, schools and university as well as examples from four decades of experience in civic education, engagement and advocacy in the UK 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, and founded Democracy Matters, an alliance for learning practical politics. He created the Charter 99 for Global Democracy campaign and Uniting Humanity, a trainer of trainers’ programme in global citizenship.

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