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Democracy, Political Literacy and Transformative Education: What issues and trends have emerged over the past ten years of this research project?



Throughout the past several years in our international research project, we have explored the linkages between the perceptions, experiences, and perspectives of democracy in relation to education and the potential for political literacy and transformative education. In addition to analyzing a number of samples of teacher-education students in Canada, the USA, Australia, and several other countries involving more than 5,000 participants, employing the same methodology and survey instruments, adapted for language and context, the research also surveyed teachers, education faculty, administrators and those in leadership positions, members of civil society and activists. Throughout the various studies, the main findings are relatively consistent across samples, regardless of language, geography, and other contextual factors. The studies highlight the constrained and often limited critical conscientization and conceptualization of democracy and social justice, on the part of teacher-education students, which, we believe, impacts the ability to orchestrate social change. Rather, the perspectives of democracy that develop from our analysis reflect passive and neutralized engagement at several levels, based, in part, on limited democratic experiences that participants have had while being a student. The research argues for more explicit as well as implicit connections to the experiences of students outside of the classroom in addition to the formal components of education.
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... Schools are a site where cultural reproduction happens and dominant social ideologies are transmitted through the hidden curriculum (Apple, 2000). Carr and Thésée (2017) argue that in order to "confront and reconcile hegemonic forms of dominance, privilege, neoliberalism, and inequitable power relations, education has to be considered a central educational and political focus" (p. 251). ...
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