07 SES 11 C, Citizenship and Democratic Education
Over the past few decades, a broad consensus has evolved that to actively and responsibly participate in democratic societies, individuals do not only need to be endowed with civic and citizenship knowledge (to understand how society and democracy works) but they also need to acquire non-cognitive skills, including attitudes, norms and behavioural intentions. Although identifying such skills is not free of normative elements, efforts have been taken to select consensus values and attitudes that education should foster in order to prepare young people for civic engagement (see e.g. Schulz, 2007; Torney-Purta and Vermeer, 2004; Eidhof et. al. 2016).
From the literature, two main strands and one weaker argument emerge providing an explanatory framework to describe the main educational approaches that can promote democratic attitudes among students. First, it is argued that formal learning of civic issues is itself a crucial way in shaping values and attitudes as an increased cognitive understanding is also related to more positive civic attitudes. Second, a democratic, open school environment that allows students to experience the right to have their say, where they can openly discuss sensitive issues and can experience the connections between an activity and its consequences, is expected to promote the development of democratic attitudes (De Groof et.al. 2008) (Alivernini & Manganelli, 2011; Claes et al., 2009; De Groof et al., 2008; Knowles & McCafferty-Wright, 2015; Manganelli et.al. 2012). Finally, students’ active community involvement that is, doing unpaid service activities for the wider community either voluntarily, or as an activity arranged by the school can also promote civic attitudes. Research evidence – predominantly from outside Europe – suggests that community work can indeed help to improve students’ civic outcomes (Schmidt et al. 2007; Galston, 2001; Claes et al., 2009).
Civic attitudes develop in close associations with civic and citizenship knowledge and also with civic self-efficacy and we can expect that both civic knowledge and civic self-efficacy fulfill a mediating role in the development of civic attitudes. Civic knowledge might promote a broader understanding of social processes and thus, it can lead to openness and tolerance, increased support for democratic values and also more willingness for political participation (Milner 2002, 2007 – cited by De Groof, et al., 2008; Galston, 2001). Civic self-efficacy refers to students’ self-confidence in their ability to handle different situations and take actions related to civic issues and civic participation (Bandura, 1997). It has been suggested that civic knowledge and self-efficacy mutually reinforce each other and they both contribute to the improvement of the various civic and citizenship attitudes albeit in different ways. (Knowles & McCafferty-Wright, 2015; Manganelli et al., 2014)
It is less clear however, how much schools can do to improve knowledge and efficacy and how in turn the different educational approaches will also shape students’ civic attitudes. Our paper will therefore explore this complex process of attitude-development of young people with a special emphasis on the role of school. In particular we will investigate the extent to- and the channels through which schools might promote the development of three selected civic attitudes: (1) students’ perception of personal responsibility for citizenship, (2) intended participation in electoral voting and (3) openness towards equal rights for immigrants. We will investigate how formal learning, school democracy and community work are associated with these attitudes either directly or indirectly, throughout their associations with students’ civic and citizenship knowledge and civic self-efficacy. Limitations of establishing causal relationships will be discussed together with the possible interpretations of the associations explored.
For the analysis, The International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) 2016 data from European Union Member States (EU MSs) is used. The ICCS 2016 collected data from 8th grade students, their teachers, and head-masters, including information on student’s socioeconomic background, civic and citizenship knowledge, attitudes and civic participation, teaching practices, and school resources. We will focus on the 12 EU MSs with reliable sample and without a large percentage of missing values. To identify the direct and the indirect associations between the educational approaches and civic dispositions, mediational analysis will be carried out with civic knowledge and civic self-efficacy as mediator variables. A series of ordinary least square (OLS) regression models, taking into account both the complex sample design of the survey, will be run by country with the three civic attitudes as dependent variables. All the models will control for a range of social background characteristics of the students as well as for some school-level contextual variables. The dependent variables measuring civic attitudes– students’ perception of personal responsibility based citizenship, expected electoral participation and attitudes toward equal rights for immigrants – will be measured by the relevant scales constructed by International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) applying Item Response Theory (IRT) models, based on a series of Likert-type items. The three educational approaches are proxied in the following way. For Formal learning, the scale on Students’ perception of civic learning in school will be used (aggregated on the class level). Democratic school environment was captured by three scales: Openness in classroom discussions; Students' participation at school and Principals’ perceptions of engagement of the school community. Finally, Students’ community involvement in organisations, clubs or groups we selected the ones that are related to activities which involve some (unpaid) activity. Civic and citizenship knowledge and skills is a scale based on student responses to the civic knowledge cognitive test created using IRT resulting in five plausible values for each student. Citizenship self-efficacy is also a constructed scale (by IEA) that reflects students’ self-confidence in active citizenship behavior.
After controlling for the individual- and school level factors, education has a moderate but non-negligible impact on students’ civic attitudes – expected electoral participation can better be predicted than the other two attitudes. Across the three educational approaches open classroom climate - a form of democratic schooling – presents the strongest positive association with all the three civic outcomes. The role that maintaining an open classroom climate has in civic education is rather complex as it both contributes to the level of civic knowledge and to civic self-efficacy and it is further related to civic outcomes through both of these channels and also indirectly. Further, formal learning is positively related both to expected electoral participation and responsibility for citizenship albeit in a few countries only. Tolerance for the immigrants remains largely independent of the amount of civic and citizenship education. Interestingly, civic knowledge plays little role in mediating the association between formal learning and any of the attitudes. Finally, students’ community involvement exhibits sporadic, mostly direct positive associations with the different outcomes in a few countries only. The analyses confirm that civic and citizenship knowledge and civic-efficacy both have crucial but different roles in the attitude-shaping process. Efficacy is more consistently positively related to the outcomes across all the countries, for civic knowledge this is only true for some attitudes and they are driven by different educational approaches. Cross-country comparison reveals that certain approaches work better in one social and cultural setting than in the other – possibly because the educational approach itself is of different content in the different countries. For example, students seem to benefit more from community involvement in Denmark than in other countries, whereas an open classroom climate is associated with less positive outcomes in Latvia and Bulgaria than elsewhere.
Alivernini, F., & Manganelli, S. (2011). Is there a relationship between openness in classroom discussion and students’ knowledge in civic and citizenship education? Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 3441–3445. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.04.315 Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: the exercise of control. New York: W H Freeman/Times Books/ Henry Holt & Co.Claes, E., Hooghe, M., & Stolle, D. (2009). The Political Socialization of Adolescents in Canada: Differential Effects of Civic Education on Visible Minorities. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 42(03), 613. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0008423909990400 De Groof, S., Elchardus, M., Franck, E., & Kavadias, D. (2008). The Influence of Civic Knowledge versus Democratic School Experiences on Ethnic Tolerance of Adolescents A multilevel analysis. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/download/3457867/Paper_Brugge_DK_EF_SDG_ME.pdf Eidhof, B. B., ten Dam, G. T., Dijkstra, A. B., & van de Werfhorst, H. G. (2016). Consensus and contested citizenship education goals in Western Europe. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 11(2), 114–129. Galston, W. A. (2001). Political knowledge, political engagement, and civic education. Annual Review of Political Science, 4(1), 217–234. Isac, M. M., Maslowski, R., Creemers, B., & van der Werf, G. (2014). The contribution of schooling to secondary-school students’ citizenship outcomes across countries. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 25(1), 29–63. https://doi.org/10.1080/09243453.2012.751035 Isac, M. M., Maslowski, R., & van der Werf, G. (2011). Effective civic education: an educational effectiveness model for explaining students’ civic knowledge. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 22(3), 313–333. https://doi.org/10.1080/09243453.2011.571542 Knowles, R. T., & McCafferty-Wright, J. (2015). Connecting an open classroom climate to social movement citizenship: A study of 8th graders in Europe using IEA ICCS data. The Journal of Social Studies Research, 39(4), 255–269. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jssr.2015.03.002 Manganelli, S., Alivernini, F., Lucidi, F., & Di Leo, I. (2012). Expected Political Participation in Italy: a Study based on Italian ICCS Data. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46, 1476–1481. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.05.324 Schulz, W., Ainley, J., Fraillon, J., Losito, B., Agrusti, G., & Friedman, T. (2017). Becoming Citizens in a Changing World IEA International Civic and Citizenship Education Study 2016 International Report. IEA. Retrieved from http://iccs.iea.nl/fileadmin/user_upload/Editor_Group/Downloads/ICCS_2016_International_report.pdf Schmidt, J. A., Shumow, L., & Kackar, H. (2007). Adolescents’ Participation in Service Activities and Its Impact on Academic, Behavioral, and Civic Outcomes. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36(2), 127–140. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-006-9119-5
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