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Understanding Democracy in Dutch Curriculum Change through a Delphi Method

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Citizenship education is an important part of current debates about future education. In contrast, educational philosopher Gert Biesta calls for a shift “from teaching citizenship to learning democracy”. This study wants to contribute to this shift. A Delphi-method is applied on a Dutch case study, presenting a way to collect and analyze data from experts that can be applied in different political, cultural and geographical contexts. The Delphi panel consists of experts from three categories of expertise in the field of democracy and Dutch education. A thematic analysis of the data collected through two succeeding rounds showed four emerging themes when turning the scope from citizenship to democracy: the distribution of responsibility of teachers and school leaders, the questions revolving around the freedom of education secured by the Dutch constitution, the nature of citizenship education, and most importantly, the school as a playground to practice democracy. This final theme was singled out by the experts as a higher purpose of democracy in education. This study argues that the concept of the school as a playground to practice democracy should be the focus to make the shift from teaching citizenship to learning democracy.
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Keywords: Delphi method; citizenship education; democracy; expert analysis; responsibility

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2020

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  • Curriculum and Teaching is a bi-annual, refereed, international journal publishing original research. It uses a balanced and comparative perspective to consider curriculum design and development, evaluation, curriculum models, comparative studies in curriculum, innovation and policy, planning, and educational administration.
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