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Promoting Democracy in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Teachers

Discover how teachers can promote a culture of democracy in the classroom.

401 enrolled on this course

Teacher smiling at a group of primary age students with their hands up

Improve the democratic competences in your teaching practice

Teachers can play a vital role in guiding and inspiring their students, especially when it comes to instilling democratic values in young citizens.

On this course, you’ll learn how to educate your pupils in the values of democracy, exploring what democratic education means and how you can put it into practice in your classroom.

Understand the fundamentals of a democratic culture

You’ll delve into how you can transfer democratic values and model attitudes for your learners, and identify ideas and policies that relate to a culture of democracy.

You’ll also discuss the differences and key debates around the “education for democracy” and “education through democracy” approaches.

Identify practical ways to promote democracy in education

Alongside pedagogy experts at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), you’ll gain access to key resources and practical ideas to promote democracy through your teaching practice.

Ultimately you’ll come away with real-world teaching and assessment methods that can facilitate the promotion of democracy within your classrooms.

EU and CofE logo

This E-course was produced with the financial support of the European Union and the Council of Europe. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of either party.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds Democracy has to be born anew every generation and education is the midwife. John Dewey, American Philosopher

Skip to 0 minutes and 25 seconds What kind of society do we want our children to live in? For many of us, democracy mirrors some of the ideals of a society and we are all in an equal position to have a say. But in recent times we have seen how democracy is in crisis. There are growing inequalities, a rise of xenophobic and racist attitudes. Increasing distribution of fake news and hate speech on social media, and high levels of frustration and alienation, particularly among marginalised groups and young people. It doesn’t matter what age or subject you teach. This course is addressed to teachers and student teachers, why interested in promoting democracy.

Skip to 1 minute and 10 seconds The course considers how we all as teachers can respond to the challenges and promote democracy through our practises. Indeed, we are convinced that when we educate we do much more than teach knowledge and skills. As teachers, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to facilitate that new generations embrace democratic ways of life. The question for many of us is, how do we go about this? This course has been designed by educational experts at Manchester Metropolitan University with the support of more than 50 teachers, student teachers and international academics from 10 different countries. We have designed the course as a democratic space of collaboration and co-learning. You will learn from us and from others.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds But we also hope to learn much from you. Join us in the journey. We need you. We can only promote democracy if we do it all together.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    What is democracy and why does it matter in education?

    • Introductions

      You will know who your educators are and you will introduce yourself

    • What is democracy?

      In this activity, you will discuss with others your previous experiences and perspectives on democracy.

    • Why democracy matters in education?

      In this activity, you will start thinking about the relation between education and democracy. You will also start exploring the Council of Europe’s framework of Competences for Democratic Culture

  • Week 2

    How can teachers promote democracy?

    • The promotion of democracy in the school curricula

      In this activity, you will explore different ways in which the school curricula can promote democracy.

    • Democratising classroom practices

      In this activity, you will learn about different teaching and assessment methods that can contribute to the promotion of democracy.

    • Democratising school practices

      This activity will allow you to consider how different whole-school approaches can contribute to promoting democracy.

  • Week 3

    What are the practical challenges of promoting democracy?

    • Challenges

      In this activity, you will explore questions such as what are the challenges teachers face when promoting democracy? Do teachers need to be impartial? How to address anti-democratic views?

    • Teaching as a reflective practice

      Teachers can use reflective practice to reflect on their previous experiences. This activity will encourage you to reflect on your previous practices and consider what you could do differently next time.

    • Ready to promote democracy?

      This final activity will allow you to familiarise yourself with further resources to promote democracy and to consider your existing and future learning as a democratic teacher.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify ideas, policies and competences related to democratic education and democratic culture
  • Discuss the differences between different approaches to democratic education
  • Identify relevant teaching and assessment methods that can facilitate the promotion of democracy within classrooms
  • Reflect on whether you are promoting democracy through your teaching practices
  • Evaluate a range of resources available to incorporate competences for a democratic culture in your practices

Who is the course for?

This course could would benefit teachers of all subject matters who are interested in integrating and promoting competencies for democratic culture in their teaching.

Who will you learn with?

A former history, geographer and citizenship teacher, I am currently a Reader in Education at Manchester Metropolitan University. I spend most of my free time with my son and my husband.

I'm a lecturer in Education at Manchester Metropolitan University. I am mainly interested in philosophy, democratic education, and arts education.

Who developed the course?

Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester Met University has a driving ambition to discover and disseminate knowledge and make higher education as accessible and beneficial to all those with the passion and ability to succeed.

Lisbon School of Education

Lisbon School of Education is dedicated to teaching, research and community service in the areas of education and social and cultural involvement. It works in collaboration with national and foreign entities that have similar educational projects. Lisbon School of Education has fostered a flexible, evolving educational approach, with a diversity of learning options as one of its core features.

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona is a leading university that provides quality and excellence teaching which is diverse, multidisciplinary and flexible, adapted to the needs of society and to the new models the Europe of knowledge. The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona is internationally recognised for its quality and the innovative character of its research.

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  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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