Norwegian version

Democracy, Equality, Learning and Mobilisation for Future Citizens (DEMOCIT)

How does Norwegian youths develop political efficacy and belief in their own participation in democratic society? The aim of DEMOCIT is to partake in reducing a growing civic empowerment gap within Norwegian democracy.

There is a need for more knowledge and new didactics in order to incorporate and improve democratic learning.

The ICCS 2016-survey (udir.no) revealed that young citizens’ belief in their future participation in democracy is influenced by gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic background. Additionally, the Norwegian national curricular reform (udir.no), emphasizes civic and citizenship education as one of three cross-curricular themes in all school subjects. There is a need for more knowledge and new didactics in order to incorporate and improve democratic learning.

Objective

DEMOCIT will develop teacher education utilizing new research on how youths conceptualize democracy and political participation, to ensure that all pupils can believe that their opinions matter regardless of their gender, minority background or socioeconomic status. The project is a collaboration between teacher education in Social science and NOVA research institute at Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway. DEMOCIT unites academia and teaching practice through research on didactics, teaching, youth and school.

Background

The International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS 2016) revealed that although Norwegian pupils have high levels of democratic knowledge, systematic differences in results between pupils of different sociodemographic characteristics are maintained. The survey also shows that a sense of political efficacy is crucial for pupils who see themselves as future democratic citizens.

Research questions and methodology

DEMOCIT will study teaching practices in schools that have demonstrated to raise the level of democratic knowledge among pupils regardless of sociodemographic background between the ICCS surveys in 2009 and 2016. Studies will combine classroom observation and interviews with teachers, school management and pupils. The study focuses pupils' everyday experiences of influence and co-determination. Data are supplemented by expert interviews with teacher educators in other Nordic countries, and by additional data from the project Youth in Change [lenke]), a qualitative study of youths’ life and transitions during adolescence.

Relevance

Social science in Norwegian schools place greatest emphasis on disseminating knowledge about political institutions and electoral schemes. DEMOCIT will make teacher education in social science reflect pupils' everyday conceptualizations of democracy and citizenship. DEMOCIT is being carried out in parallel with the introduction of the curriculum reform Fagfornyelsen, making Democracy and citizenship one of three inter-subjective themes. DEMOCIT will provide valuable information on how this topic can be developed in teaching across different school subjects.

Implementation

Research findings will be implemented through teacher education at OsloMet, continued education for teachers, cooperation with OsloMet’s University Schools and practice schools and international NGOs as partners Save the Children (reddbarna.no) and European Wergeland Centre (nor.theewc.org).

  • Members from OsloMet

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