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Democratic success in Scandinavian education? Perspectives of minority students

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Abstract:

Through the IEA Civic study, students from the Scandinavian countries Denmark, Norway and Sweden assert their democratic knowledge and skills, and are found to significantly surpass the international average. These optimistic results bode well for the development of future citizens in the democratic Scandinavian societies. Increasing demographic diversity in urban areas brings forth a query on how the educational system manages to promote democratic including respect for diversity and provision of equal opportunities for all. A hallmark for democratic schools involves structures and processes which create possibilities of participating in collaborative planning and decision making that affects the students’ lives. This paper intends to take a profound look at how students perceive the democratic values transmitted through educators’ practices. The data is collected through five focus group discussions with students in junior high schools in addition to 17 semi-structured interviews with 15 students in senior high schools, all students with an immigrant background. The information provided is then compared to previous interviews done with 64 educators in the same schools. Cultural, linguistic, religious, and political diversity among students create an educational environment where educators have to make more than usual endeavours to achieve the necessary training of future citizens. Additionally, these environments offer exceptional opportunities for teaching democracy and unity in diversity, highly regarded values, according to the European Commission. The study suggests that the students find that educators only to a limited extent manage to utilize the asset of diversity in citizenship education. Furthermore, in a societal and political hardening environment, these students are in the risk of marginalization as future citizens, something not to any considerable degree in the limelight of the custodians of democracy.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p485254_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Biseth, Heidi. "Democratic success in Scandinavian education? Perspectives of minority students" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Apr 30, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p485254_index.html>

APA Citation:

Biseth, H. , 2011-04-30 "Democratic success in Scandinavian education? Perspectives of minority students" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p485254_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Through the IEA Civic study, students from the Scandinavian countries Denmark, Norway and Sweden assert their democratic knowledge and skills, and are found to significantly surpass the international average. These optimistic results bode well for the development of future citizens in the democratic Scandinavian societies. Increasing demographic diversity in urban areas brings forth a query on how the educational system manages to promote democratic including respect for diversity and provision of equal opportunities for all. A hallmark for democratic schools involves structures and processes which create possibilities of participating in collaborative planning and decision making that affects the students’ lives. This paper intends to take a profound look at how students perceive the democratic values transmitted through educators’ practices. The data is collected through five focus group discussions with students in junior high schools in addition to 17 semi-structured interviews with 15 students in senior high schools, all students with an immigrant background. The information provided is then compared to previous interviews done with 64 educators in the same schools. Cultural, linguistic, religious, and political diversity among students create an educational environment where educators have to make more than usual endeavours to achieve the necessary training of future citizens. Additionally, these environments offer exceptional opportunities for teaching democracy and unity in diversity, highly regarded values, according to the European Commission. The study suggests that the students find that educators only to a limited extent manage to utilize the asset of diversity in citizenship education. Furthermore, in a societal and political hardening environment, these students are in the risk of marginalization as future citizens, something not to any considerable degree in the limelight of the custodians of democracy.


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