Teaching democracy and human rights: A curriculum perspective
Taylor and Francis Ltd
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Education
Curriculum documents are open to multiple readings and despite attempts by bureaucracies to impose a preferred reading on the curriculum text, teachers, in the privacy of their own classrooms, interpret and implement these documents on the basis of their own experiences, discipline base, beliefs and philosophy of teaching and education. The attempt to control meaning may well be seen to be futile. Democracy and human rights are among the most significant concepts discussed in established and new democracies in recent times. The discussions are fuelled by conceptual and ideological controversies. The concept of democratic citizenship has developed over a historical and political continuum and is constantly being challenged and reproduced in various spheres of public and private life. There is a definite need for continuous exploration of complex but, nevertheless, essential questions concerning education for democratic citizenship. For example, how is the concept of 'good' and/or 'active' democratic citizenship understood and defined? Have recent citizenship education programs sought to control the construction of citizens in a particular way? In this paper, I will be drawing from and supporting the theory that concepts of democratic citizenship and human rights are social constructs. Thus, they are unstable categories that are subject to change as well as reproduction.