This study examines young people's (ages 13–18) perceptions of their own opportunities to influence the development of their own environment through an experiment aimed at developing civic democracy in Finland in 2020–2021. The purpose of the experiment was to try out new ways of participating and influencing meaningfully for young people at school, to encourage young people to bring up grievances, and to support them in finding solutions that end up in decision-making. The experiment involved young people from different educational institutions (secondary school, upper secondary school, and vocational schools), teachers, and local decision-makers. Data was gathered with ethnographic methods by observation, video-taping, and keeping a field diary in the workshops and other events organized during the experiment. Inclusion and participation is examined through the experiences, activities, and interactions of young people and other actors participating in the experiment. Findings suggest that being able to focus on team discussions, creating a safe atmosphere, and providing suitable information during the tasks strengthened participation and experiences of inclusion during the experiment’s lifetime. In addition, it was crucial to connect the activities to the development of existing decision-making structures, as well as to develop school routines, to enable more processual teaching needed in democracy education.
Places for Young People to Influence Decision-Making: Developing Means for Democracy Education in Finland.
Democracy and Education,
(2), Article 2.
Available at: https://democracyeducationjournal.org/home/vol31/iss2/2