London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

The Notion of Political Representation in Primary School Children and Teaching Implications

Author(s) Maria Latzaki, Sarantis Chelmis  
Publisher CiCe Publications  
Year 2005  
Editor A. Ross, Teaching Citizenship  
Language English  
Age group -  
This paper explores the implications for teaching that arise from the concept of political representation, a fundamental political concept of modern democracies. The first part of the paper places the notion of representation within the larger framework of democratic institutions, and defines interconnections with other major political concepts of democracy (such as political equality, dialogue, justice, and decision making). The second part examines the way primary school children realise the idea of representation, the criteria they employ in electing representatives and their idea of the ideal representative. The paper’s findings indicate the emphasis primary school children place on particular characteristics in a candidate, such as honesty, respect for others, school achievement, rule following, social or ethnic background and interpersonal communication abilities. Finally, an interdisciplinary teaching programme is presented for fostering a responsible stance in electing representatives. The programme draws on various subjects such as Byzantine history, language, social and political education and mathematics, and uses a variety of teaching methods such as role play, group discussion, drama and counselling.

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