Main Aims

Democrat builds robust evidence base for redesigning curricula in support of democracy by advancing both knowledge and practice on education and responsible democratic citizenship, with a focus on students’ active<br>participation and engagement, adopting a multidisciplinary and participatory approach aimed at:

  • Building a sound conceptual approach encompassing democracy, political participation, sustainable development, responsible democratic citizenship (RDC) and education for democracy (Efd), based on the analysis of existing EfD concepts and related, strategies, curricula, learning approaches and pedagogical material, taking as reference the democratic values and principles of European identity.
  • Analysing the relation between education inequalities, socio-economic background and political participation, through statistical analysis of four major EU/transnational sources, enriched by complementary analysis of primary data on handling fake news and socio-economic bias in digital learning.
  • Developing a preliminary RDC competence framework based on a holistic approach of democratic behaviour, based on the review of adjacent competence frameworks and taking into account digitalization as one of the main societal structuring factors.
  • Designing a preliminary general EfD curricula based on the RDC competence framework and innovative learner-centred approaches such as transformative education, action learning, challenge/project-based learning, with a focus on 1) pupils (age groups 8-12 and 12-16 years) and 2) teachers and social educators. The general curricula will be flexible and open for adaptation to concrete learning environments and diverse formal national/regional curricula.<br>Democrat develops an innovative and comprehensive education toolbox by bridging theory and practice on EdF through wide participation of the education community in its broadest sense in the design, implementation and of EdF pilot projects and a thematic learning unit through:
  • Adapting the general EfD curricula for the design and implementation of six local pilot projects (LLPs), one per country. LPPs will take concrete democratic experiences as reference points, so that learners experience the relevance of their actions for the quality of democracy in situ to promote their positive democratic engagement. LLP will use learner-centred approaches, including those inspired in creative activities (such as theatre of the oppressed or game-based learning among other).
  • Adapting the general EfD curricula for the design and implementation of a learning unit (content and pedagogical material) in a specific knowledge field (Human Geography).
  • Developing and implementing a conceptual framework and tools for the assessment of RDC competences through LLPs; providing guidelines for monitoring and self-assessment of LLPs, conducting an external evaluation of LLPs; and fostering critical reflection on key lessons learned
  • Refining the main outcomes of the project (RDC competence framework, EfD general curricula; learning unit; LLP good practices) revised after evaluation and further critical reflection; developing a guide for implementing transformative LPPs and the use of the open transformative approaches inspired in creative activities.
  • Assembling a toolbox including the fine-tuned final outcomes of the project; translating the toolbox to all national languages covered by the project and piloting the toolbox structure and contents with practitioners from different national contexts to ensure effectiveness and feasibility DEMOCRAT adopts a participatory approach as a core methodological principle and supports strengthened democratic process in education through wide participation of the education community in its broadest sense (pupils, students, teachers, parents, school staff, NGOs, public authorities). This is implemented through: Establishing 6 national living labs (Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Poland) and 1 transnational living lab, structured in subsequent workshops combined with the setting up of an online interactive platform (Agora). Living labs will play a crucial role for co-developing the main project outcomes – RDC competence framework, EfD curricula, design and implementation of LPPs, learning unit, toolbox. They will run throughout the whole lifespan of the project.
  • Co-developing a strategy for EfD scaling up based on critical reflection within and across living labs, fostering democratic education processes, local embedding and increased impact on local/regional/national/international

Democrat’s outcomes and impacts can be shaped by different expectations. Expectations include:

1) outcomes are more likely to occur through inter-related actions which bridge knowledge and practice

2) bringing closer together diverse individuals (socio-economic and geographic background) in different roles (pupils, parents, teachers, school administrators, NGOs, policy makers..) as well as diverse geographical, thematic and disciplinary perspectives is more likely to ensure robust and context-sensitive outcomes;

3) participatory approach and support for embedding LLP projects in local democratic processes will foster achievement of RDC competences and enhance impact 4) engaging diverse target audiences from the start is effective for spreading ownership over results and attract more institutions / stakeholders.