What Future Teachers Believe about Democracy and Why It Is Important

Sep. 01, 2016

Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Volume 22, Issue 7, 2016, Pages 782-804

This article analyses pre-service education student perceptions and perspectives related to education for democracy in Australia.

 Using a critical pedagogical framework datum from an online survey, it presents both quantitative and qualitative responses of contrasting understandings of democracy.


The article begins by outlining the concepts of thick and thin democracy and why this is important in relation to contemporary debates about the state of civics and citizenship education, and then explains the conceptual framework of critical pedagogy and methodology. The datum analysed is discussed in relation to neoliberalism and indicates that the pre-service teachers in this study view democracy in a narrow or thin way that may impact on their classroom practice where they would be teaching about but not for democracy. A more critical and thicker understanding of democracy is suggested as essential if teacher educators desire their students to become active and transformative citizens.

Updated: Sep. 04, 2017