ERIC Identifier: ED474300
Publication Date: 2003-03-00
Author: Hamot, Gregory E.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse for
Social Studies/Social Science Education Bloomington IN.
Developing Curriculum for Democracy through International
Partnerships. ERIC Digest.
The fall of communism in Eastern and Central Europe inspired the call for
curriculum development in citizenship education throughout the growing
democratic world. Many programs between American institutions and newly
developing democracies continue to produce curricula for democratic citizenship
suited to local needs. This Digest discusses (1) examples and outcomes of such
partnerships, (2) four practical guidelines taken from these partnerships that
support successful international curriculum development, and (3) resources for
understanding existing programs or launching similar ones.
Exemplary partnership programs between
U.S. institutions and educators from newly emerging democracies include the
Civitas International Exchange Program conducted by the Center for Civic
Education and its associates across the globe, The University of Iowa
citizenship education programs in Eastern and Central Europe, The Ohio State
University program with Poland, and the civic education exchange programs
organized by the American Councils for International Education. Each of these
programs requires the development of curricular materials for use in the home
The international civic education teacher programs included in these
partnerships also have implications for U.S. curriculum development. For
instance, the Civitas International Exchange Program produced a book of
comparative lessons for democracy through a collaboration between teachers from
five post-communist countries and the United States. Translations and
adaptations of successful U.S. programs for civic education worldwide, such as
"We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution and Project Citizen," also
distinguish the Civitas International Exchange Program.
Efforts by The University of Iowa, The Ohio State University, and the
American Councils for International Education include unique curricular
materials that originate within each program and are exclusive to their partner
countries. The Ohio State University program with Poland developed a curriculum
for elementary students and The University of Iowa's programs with Bulgaria, the
Czech Republic, Armenia, Moldova, and Georgia resulted in civic education
curricula for use at varying levels of compulsory education (Hamot 1999; Remy
1994). Similarly, the American Councils for International Education secured
funding to help build teacher professional development programs for civic
education throughout the post-communist world.
Four practical guidelines
distinguish successful international partnerships in the development of
curricula for citizenship education reform. These guidelines were constructed
based on the interactions between U.S. and international participants as they
worked together in both the United States and abroad (Hamot 1999). The essential
similarity between these successful partnerships was the development of useable
curricula for schools in the target countries. The following practical
guidelines brought about these successful outcomes.
Guideline 1: "Provide a common understanding of democracy and the educational
purposes implied by this understanding to form the foundation on which
successful citizenship education reform programs will take place." Each
successful program required that both partners understood the shared, common
elements of democracy that could work as the basis for discussion and subsequent
curriculum development. By following this guideline, the partners shared common
ground on which to build the content and pedagogical practices needed to support
a reformed curriculum, an instrument in the process of democratization. Each
partnership embraced common elements of education for citizenship in a
democracy. These common elements include the knowledge, intellectual and
participatory skills, and dispositions required of citizenship in a
constitutional democracy (Patrick and Vontz 2001, 41).
Guideline 2: "Combine established theories on democratic citizenship
education with their practical application to offer new experiences in civic
learning to educators in emerging democracies." This second guideline for
successful projects pertains to the new educational experiences offered to the
international partners by their U.S. counterparts and the usefulness of these
experiences in attaining the objectives of curriculum reform. The activities of
each partnership moved the participants from their initial conceptions of
citizenship education to new understandings and applications within the American
educational context. This was done by matching each international participant
with a local teacher, having them attend educational conferences, and meeting
with them at weekly seminars on the content and pedagogy most suitable for
developing democratic citizens (Hamot 1997; Remy 1996). The possibility of going
beyond the limits of the international participants' local contexts, however,
led to the third guideline.
Guideline 3: "Do not exceed the boundaries of the national context for which
the reformed curricula are intended." When developing new programs in education
for democracy, educators from post-communist countries must avoid possible
clashes between proposed curricular reforms derived from their experience in
established democracies like the United States and local educational limits in
their home country. The application of a reform from an American context to the
national context of a post-communist country may result in educational
experiences that will not work as intended. Service learning is a case in point.
This pedagogical practice, recommended by 47 U.S. state departments of
education, has been viewed by education authorities in some post-communist
countries as too similar to the forced public service commonly enacted under
totalitarian communist regimes. Thus, its inclusion in the new civic education
curricula in several of these programs had to be reconsidered.
Guideline 4: "Design and carry out a systematic formative evaluation of the
new curriculum to monitor its cultural adaptability and effectiveness." The U.S.
directors of the successful programs noted above traveled to the developing
democracies to meet with ministry officials, members of leading non-governmental
educational organizations, pedagogical scholars, and teachers. Participants in
these meetings set objectives for each partnership. These objectives varied from
program to program due to the differences in each country's new democratic
context. However, these predetermined objectives offered criteria for formative
evaluation of the curricular outcomes of each program. These objectives offered
benchmarks for determining whether or not each reformed curriculum achieved its
educational purposes in its intended national setting. Constant monitoring of
the curriculum development process as well as rigorous field-testing of the
products worked to secure curricular suitability for these transitional
democracies. An example of this guideline in practice is the particularly well
developed evaluation of "Project Citizen" as adapted for the Latvian and
Lithuanian contexts and conducted by the Social Studies Development Center at
Indiana University during its participation in the Civitas International
Exchange Program (Vontz, Metcalf, and Patrick 2000).
The following Web sites contain
examples of a curriculum for civic education developed through international
* Civnet (www.civnet.org) is the Civitas International Web site. It details
the many programs conducted by the Center for Civic Education under its Civitas
* Education for Democracy/International: A Project of the Educational
Foundation of the American Federation of Teachers
(www.aft.org/international/EDI/index.html) began in 1989 with the goal of
promoting teacher training and curriculum development, democratic skills and
leadership training, and publications on democracy and education worldwide.
* The Partners in Education (PiE) Program of the American Councils for
together post-communist educators with U.S. institutions to learn about
citizenship education and to observe and contribute to academic life at the host
institutions. Participants are expected to provide a training conference in
civics curriculum development and evaluation upon their return home.
REFERENCES AND ERIC RESOURCES.
The following list of
resources includes references used to prepare this Digest. The items followed by
an ED number are available in microfiche, paper, or electronic full text from
the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS). For information about prices,
contact EDRS, 7420 Fullerton Road, Suite 110, Springfield, Virginia 22153-2852;
World Wide Web (edrs.com); telephone numbers are (703) 440-1400 and (800)
443-3742. Entries followed by an EJ number, annotated monthly in CURRENT INDEX
TO JOURNALS IN EDUCATION (CIJE), are not available through EDRS. However, they
can be located in the journal section of most larger libraries by using the
bibliographic information provided, requested through Interlibrary Loan, or
ordered from commercial reprint services.
Brzakalik, Krystayna, and Others. LIFE IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY: A PRIMARY
SCHOOL CIVICS COURSE FOR POLAND. Columbus, OH: Mershon Center, 1993. ED 369 683.
Center for Civic Education. WE THE PEOPLE: "PROJECT CITIZEN:" A CIVIC
EDUCATION PROJECT FOR GRADES 6 THROUGH 9. Calabasas, CA: Center for Civic
Education, 1996. ED 405 281.
Center for Civic Education. WE THE PEOPLE. A SECONDARY LEVEL STUDENT TEXT.
Calabasas, CA: Center for Civic Education, 1990. ED 339 644.
Fischer, John M., and Dawn M. Shinew, eds. COMPARATIVE LESSONS FOR DEMOCRACY:
A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT OF EDUCATORS FROM THE CZECH REPUBLIC, HUNGARY, LATVIA,
POLAND, RUSSIA, AND THE UNITED STATES. Calabasas, CA: Center for Civic
Education, 1997. ED 422 200.
Hamot, Gregory E. CIVIC EDUCATION IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC: CURRICULUM REFORM
FOR DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP. Bloomington, IN: ERIC Clearinghouse for Social
Studies/Social Science Education, 1997. ED 410 178.
Hamot, Gregory E. "Guiding Principles for Cross-Cultural Curriculum Projects
in Citizenship Education Reform." In PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES OF EDUCATION FOR
DEMOCRATIC CITIZENSHIP: INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES AND PROJECTS, edited by
Charles F. Bahmueller and John J. Patrick. Bloomington, IN: ERIC Clearinghouse
for Social Studies/Social Science Education, 1999. ED 434 866.
Hlebowitsh, Peter S., and Gregory E. Hamot. "Pragmatism and Civic Education
Reform in the Czech Republic." EDUCATIONAL FORUM 63 (Spring 1999): 260-70. EJ
Patrick, John J. CIVIC EDUCATION FOR CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY: AN
INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE. Bloomington, IN: ERIC Clearinghouse for Social
Studies/Social Science Education, 1995. ED 390 781.
Patrick, John J. GLOBAL TRENDS IN CIVIC EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRACY. Bloomington,
IN: ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education, 1997. ED 410
Patrick, John J., and Thomas S. Vontz. "Components of Education for
Democratic Citizenship in the Preparation of Social Studies Teachers." In
PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES OF DEMOCRACY IN THE EDUCATION OF SOCIAL STUDIES
TEACHERS, edited by John J. Patrick and Robert S. Leming. Bloomington, IN: ERIC
Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education, 2001. ED 460 064.
Remy, Richard C. TEACHING DEMOCRACY IN EAST CENTRAL EUROPE: THE CASE OF
POLAND. Bloomington, IN: ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science
Education, 1994. ED 377 120.
Remy, Richard C. "The Curriculum Seminar: A Strategy for Developing
Instructional Materials." In BUILDING CIVIC EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRACY IN POLAND,
edited by Richard C. Remy and Jacek Strzemieczny. Washington, DC: National
Council for the Social Studies, 1996. ED 396 986.
Vontz, Thomas S., Kim K. Metcalf, and John J. Patrick. PROJECT CITIZEN AND
THE CIVIC DEVELOPMENT OF ADOLESCENT STUDENTS IN INDIANA, LATVIA, AND LITHUANIA.
Bloomington, IN: ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education,
2000. ED 447 047.