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Educating Competencies for Democracy

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Edited By Ewa Nowak, Dawn Schrader and Boris Zizek

While democratic ideals are cherished by many worldwide, practice and competence in democratic procedures and behaviors are fading. Educating for democracy involves teaching skills that contribute to the democratic ideals, such as fairness, due process, and respect for the dignity, rights, and autonomy of others. In this volume, researchers from throughout the world draw from the Dual-Aspect Theory, the Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion, and the Moral Judgment Test, developed by German psychologist Georg Lind to advance democratic competencies. Grounded in Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral judgment, contributors report research at various levels of social engagement, such as schools, workplaces, governments, prisons, and communities, to describe how people can, and do, develop democratic competencies that hold promise for creating interactions and institutions that are just and fair.

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Editorial Preface - Can Democracy Be Taught?

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Editorial Preface Can Democracy Be Taught? Developing mental skills for participation in democracy has a long tradition dating back to the works of ancient Greeks. In both Plato’s Meno as well as in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, a set of cognitive skills need to be practiced and strengthened if an individual is to be a successful and virtuous citizen in the politeia as well as in a specific profession. Today, democratic pluralism and cultural diversity re- quire moral discoursive efforts from every person, because by defini- tion, no one should be excluded from democratic processes and legit- imate participation in self-governance. To reach this democratic ideal of full and equal participation, it is imperative to foster moral and democratic skills in every individual through effective education. The focus of this book is on the development of moral judgment competence, discourse, and democratic behavior of the modern sub- ject confronted with diverse and demanding social, institutional, and political contexts. Specifically, the book builds upon the work of Georg Lind, a contemporary German developmental psychologist, who joins the history of philosophers and psychologists who assert that education is the single most powerful factor in promoting moral- democratic behavior and competencies. Drawing from Lawrence Kohlberg’s Just Community Approach (JCA) to moral education in USA and Europe in the 1970–80’s, Lind developed what is known as the Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion (KMDD); a method of discourse and reasoning that is applied to various types of moral di- lemmas, encouraging the moral reasoners to...

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