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Educating Competencies for Democracy


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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Part II: Educating Competencies


Part II Educating Competencies Matthias Scharlipp Experiencing Freedom and Democracy at School: Konstanz Method of Dilemma Dis- cussion1 Abstract: The ambitious ideas of freedom and democracy immediately raise questions about the moral and democratic competencies of society’s protagonists in everyday life, competencies that enable them to transfer their own perspectives of liberty and freedom (respect for human dignity, tolerance, justice and reason) into corresponding behavior. It is exactly this consistency and integrity of thinking, speaking, and acting that is the aim of the Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion. Keywords: freedom, democracy, democratic competencies, Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion Experiencing Freedom and Democracy A free and democratic society is not just a matter of elections and votes; it is also a matter of wide open space for conflicting perspec- tives and interests, vivid public deliberation and debate, and “gov- ernment by (and after) discussion.” Freedom and democracy are molded by constant mental dispute. Its essence is the conflict of ar- guments (Schmidt-Bleibtreu et al., 2008). ________________ 1 Opening statement at the symposium “Experiencing Freedom and Democracy at School: Konstanz Method of Dilemma Discussion”. At the international conference “Can Morality be Taught? Is it a Competence?”, 27–31 July, 2009 (University of Konstanz). 164 Matthias Scharlipp This understanding of freedom or liberty does not imply some kind of petty bourgeois liberty secured by night watchmen – “what matters most is our own undisturbed peace and quiet” – but a dy- namic and sometimes also straining liberty that includes the cost of practical tolerance. It imposes...

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