The Citizenship Education Assignment in Dutch Secondary Schools: A qualitative research regarding teachers’ perspectives on citizenship education programs and to what extent can Dreamocracy help teachers fulfil the citizenship education assignment.
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Since 2006 citizenship education is compulsory in Dutch education system. Through semi-structured interviews of nine social studies teachers of different levels of secondary education and one of Dreamocracy’s main program developers, the current study aimed to gain an insight into the extent in which Dreamocracy can support social studies teachers on the fulfillment of the citizenship education assignment. Dreamocracy makes use of Kolb’s experiential learning cycle to influence students’ agency, described in the current study as students’ active participation within society. The four steps within this cycle are: 1) concrete experience, 2) reflective observation, 3) abstract conceptualization and 4) active experimentation. Teachers were asked about their needs and perspectives regarding external citizenship education programs in general and about their perspectives on the working elements of Dreamocracy 1) simulation, 2) reflection and 3) storytelling by real world experts. Results show that the working elements of Dreamocracy are promising, however there is a mismatch between the implementation of Dreamocracy and the needs and perspectives of social studies teachers. It is expected that a match can be achieved if Dreamocracy give teachers an active role within their program, transform the program into a series of lessons that can be implemented structurally, and if they include the fourth step of Kolb’s experiential learning cycle in every version of the program by including activities where students apply the knowledge and skills gained during the program.