Teaching Community Organizing and the Practice of Democracy

Teaching Community Organizing and the Practice of Democracy

by Jyl Josephson, Rutgers University–Newark

This article builds on the political science literature on the pedagogy of civic engagement by discussing a recent pedagogical experiment that treats community partners as leaders and full participants in the design and implementation of community-engaged learning. The courses discussed here combine democratic theory, community organizing and leadership development, and partnership between students and a community organization in carrying out research and action projects on affordable housing.

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This Educate-JPSE collaboration brings together articles published in the Journal of Political Science Education that discuss classroom approaches related to teaching about race, racism, social justice and civic action. Our reading list offers a range of materials – from syllabi, reading lists to active learning assignments – that discuss classroom practices through the lens of identity, gender and power relations. It includes a model for professors who are interested in partnering with local community activists to design civically engaged courses, with specific examples covering research and organizing around affordable housing issues. 

The Journal of Political Science Education is an intellectually rigorous, path-breaking, agenda-setting journal that publishes the highest quality scholarship on teaching and pedagogical issues in political science. The journal aims to represent the full range of questions, issues and approaches regarding political science education, including teaching-related issues, methods and techniques, learning/teaching activities and devices, educational assessment in political science, graduate education, and curriculum development.

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