M.phil. Heidi Biseths avhandling for graden ph.d.
Avhandlingens tittel er:
EDUCATORS AS CUSTODIANS OF DEMOCRACY. A comparative investigation of democracy in multicultural school environments in the Scandinavian capitals.
This study is conducted within the field of comparative and multicultural education and explores how educators perceive their task as guardians and advocates of democratic values in our societies. Furthermore, the focus is to investigate and determine how democratic values are implemented in everyday practices in multicultural school environments, through the perspectives of educators and students. The underlying assumption is that the cultural, linguistic, religious, and political diversity among students create an educational environment where educators have to make more than usual endeavours to achieve the necessary training of future citizens. Additionally, these environments offer exceptional opportunities for teaching democracy.
The research material is provided by 64 educators and 23 students in three junior high schools and eleven senior high schools in the Scandinavian capitals; Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm. To unravel the democratic mandate assigned to the educational sector, educational legislation and legislative regulations have been examined. The results have informed the subsequent in-depth interviews conducted. A comparative and multilevel research design is chosen as it enables to examine the multiple ways in which societal factors, educational policies, and practices may vary and interact.
Education for and through democracy is mostly limited to social studies, not permeating all activities as prescribed in the mandate. The major finding emanating from the interviews in this study is that education for and through democracy appears arbitrary in other school subjects in the schools studied. The diversity present in the school population is rarely linked to democracy, and hence diversity is made an aberration rather than a natural consequence of democracy.