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Political Science in Europe

Teachers’ Participation in Political and Community Organizations and the Effects on Student Engagement: A Person-Centered Approach

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Political Participation
Political Psychology
Southern Europe
Frank Reichert
University of Bamberg
Frank Reichert
University of Bamberg

Political socialization in schools is a significant component of the cultivation of young citizens who are capable of promoting and sustaining democracy. Citizenship education is a more direct way of promoting citizenship, but teachers also act as role models for adolescents; their collaboration can have a positive flow-on effect on students’ perceptions of school and classroom context (Author et al., in press) and thereby have an indirect effect on the political socialization of young people. Consequently, teachers matter to students’ political learning, their understanding of citizenship and their intentions to participate in the political process. However, little is known about how teachers vary in their participation and how distinct participation profiles are associated with openness of the classroom and student learning. The present research examines the differences in teachers’ participation in political and community organizations (e.g. trade unions, political parties, environmental organizations) and the potential effects on the class climate and students’ intentions to participate in the public realm. This study utilizes large-scale data from ten countries in Europe and Asia and employs a teacher-centered statistical approach that accounts for the different societal backgrounds. The distinct participation profiles that result from this analysis are examined in relation to teachers’ background and student learning to understand the effect of differential teacher participation. The results of this study are discussed in relation to the effects of being socialized by different teacher role models and the implications for students’ civic learning and participation in decision-making processes in their communities and beyond.
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