Political simulations are considered promising tools to instigate democratic learning in schools. This article reports a qualitative inquiry into student involvement in the organization of the 2012 mock elections—the shadow elections that schools can organize in conjunction with the official elections—in eight high schools in the Netherlands. The objective of this inquiry is twofold: to evaluate student involvement in mock elections in these schools and to lay the theoretical groundwork for further quantitative inquiries into student participation in political events. For the deductive analysis of student roles in organizing the mock election, I adapted Fielding and Moss’s (2012) “patterns of partnership” typology using a critical democratic citizenship education lens. The analysis of interviews with teachers suggests that students were rarely envisioned as sources of data or as active respondents; they were not invited to deviate from existing planning protocols; and student-staff collaboration was not framed as a political project in its own right. Based on the empirical findings and the typology constructed for this study, I conclude with several recommendations for furthering meaningful student participation in mock elections and related events and for improving the quality of political spaces in schools.
de Groot, I.
Political Simulations: An Opportunity for Meaningful Democratic Participation in Schools.
Democracy and Education,
(2), Article 3.
Available at: https://democracyeducationjournal.org/home/vol26/iss2/3