07 SES 03 A, Democratic Citizenship Education
There are enormous and rapid changes and transformations in every field in our time. Turkey is also changing and transforming to parallel this changes in the world. For the process of European Union membership, Turkey has been reforming its social, economic, political, and education systems. The basic promise of these reforms is to strength the foundation of living in a democracy as other contemporary nations do.
Because there are some things threatening democratic living such as economic relations, terrorism, insensivity to politics, widening gaps among social classes, and political developments, human rights and democratic citizenship education has been a priority of governments in last decade (Flowers, 2010). In this context, governments put human rights, citizenship, and democracy contents either into a standalone course or into social studies courses with an interdisciplinary understanding. Citizenship and democracy education related courses are offered in elementary and secondary schools in Turkey for the purpose of raising free and democratic citizens. We believe that educating individuals about human rights, citizenship and democracy in early years with the aim of having a democratic society is crucial.
When we talk about democracy we need to define it and we prefer Parker’s (2005) definition. According to him, democracy is “a system for living together freely but fairly with people whom we don’t particularly like and for solving the problems that inevitably arise” (p. 656).
Westheimer and Kahne (2004) talk about three kinds of citizen: the personally responsible citizen, the participatory citizen, and the justice oriented citizen. According to them, personally responsible citizen “acts responsibly in his/her community” (p. 240), the parcipiatory citizens “actively participate in the civic affairs and the social life of the community at local, state, and national levels” (p. 241), and the justice oriented citizen tries to understand social inequalities in the society and takes part in building a just society.
In this study, we have analyzed the citizenship and democracy education course for eight grade students and tried to find out what the course intends to do for the development of democracy in Turkey and what type of citizen is wanted to be raised by the course.
Flowers, N. (2010), Pusulacık Çocuklar İçin İnsan Hakları Eğitimi Kılavuzu, (Çev: Çulhaoğlu, M.), İstanbul: Bilgi İletişim Grubu Yayıncılık Merriam, S. B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. Parker, W. C. (2005). The education of citizens. Phi Delta Kappan, 86(9), 655-657. Talim Terbiye Kurulu (2010). Ilkogretim vatandaslik ve demokrasi egitim ders kitabi 8. Sinif [Citizenship and democracy education for 8th grade], Ankara, TR: Talim Terbiye Kurulu Baskanligi Yayinlari Westheimer, J., & Kahne, J. (2004). What kind of citizen? The politics of educating for democracy. American Educational Research Journal, 41(2), 237-269,
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