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Diana Hess & Patricia G. Avery

In: The SAGE Handbook of Education for Citizenship and Democracy

Chapter 39: Discussion of Controversial Issues as a Form and Goal of Democratic Education

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Discussion of Controversial Issues as a Form and Goal of Democratic Education
Discussion of controversial issues as a form and goal of democratic education
DianaHess and Patricia G.Avery

In democratic societies, discussion in schools is viewed as a critical component of citizenship education. This should not be surprising given both the theoretical and practical links between discussion and democracy and the tremendous growth of democracy in the past 20 years. A larger percentage of the world's people live in democratic nations now than during any previous time in history (Puddington, 2007).

Support for engaging young people in classroom discussions as part of democratic education comes from various quarters. The governments of France, Northern Ireland, and Britain, for example, have adopted formal curriculum documents that promote discussions of political ...

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