on developing a curriculum for democracy

Education for Democracy Model.jpeg

Presentation given at the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference of the Community of Democracies, January 2013, Jawaharlal Newru Bhawan, New Delhi. The so-called hidden curriculum, what I refer to as the (mis)educative context, is far more powerful than teacher talk and textbooks. If the medium is the message, then the context definitely trumps the content in political education.

The tacit side of teaching and learning is rarely discussed, and the dirty little secret of mainstream schooling is that the way it's implemented often sabotages its fundamental goals. The focus on testing and accountability has become an end in itself in many education systems. In other systems, it's a utilitarian focus on content learning in technical areas to feed into the job market and fuel economic growth. Back to basics in education should not mean the three Rs, and should not mean a retreat to outdated teaching methods. It should mean getting back to first principles. Why are we doing this in the first place? What are the goods, private and public, individual and collective, that education is supposed to be delivering, that justify (or compel) funding it as a public institution?

Matthew Hiebert 2013-01-22