Project Description:

This program will pilot and evaluate deliberative teaching sessions and develop a professional development resource for teachers and practitioners working to build capacity of all school children to listen, reason, communicate and collaborate, and thus to engage as citizens, now and in the future. The program, run by a team of practitioners and researchers with experience in education, will be co-designed with teachers and integrate with the curriculum. This is an investment in the future!

Advocating for Engagement:

This program will develop the capacities of ‘ordinary’ young people to engage in democratic decision-making, strengthening participation culture for all students, including those marginalised by their circumstances. This is in contrast to traditional student involvement in decision-making based on student representatives, which strengthens disengagement among those not selected. The program will enhance future citizens’ capacity to engage, as well as challenging assumptions about who can and should be responsible for decision-making in society. The project will thus advocate for public participation among future citizens and future decision-makers, by build capacity and cultural expectations in favour of engagement. The project will also advocate for public participation to a new audience: education professionals, promoting the value of democratic engagement to school communities (including teachers, parents, local residents and businesses).

Strengthening Engagement Networks:

The project will take up a common theme in conversations about the future of public participation: we should build the practice in the young. It will provide insights and resources to practitioners and teachers throughout Australia to build their practice in deliberation with children. This will potentially bring a new professional group into the existing public participation network (education professionals). We hope that a new sub-network will develop around this practice. Colleagues from the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance are interested in developing a research program about Deliberation in Schools, drawing on the pilot program. Additional funding will be sought for this research, which will strengthen the Deliberation in Schools program with empirical and theoretical insights, and assist in disseminating the program internationally. This research program will build a connection between practitioners and researchers that will strengthen the IAP2 network.

Advocating Professional Development:

The teacher/practitioner PD resource is aimed at providing professional development and resources to engagement practitioners who wish to work in the developing area of deliberation in schools, or who engage with young people as part of their public participation work. The resource will also provide professional development for teachers and other education professionals who wish to increase the civic engagement skills of their students or to use deliberation for problem-solving and decision-making within and beyond classrooms and schools. Partnership with IAP2 through this Pitch for Practice will ensure that the PD resource is made available to IAP2 members. Workshops/Master Classes will be available to IAP2 members at a discounted price. The Deliberation in Schools team will present the findings of the pilot in seminars in Canberra, which IAP2 members will be invited to attend. The findings can also be presented at national IAP2 events, if there is interest in hearing about the work.


Delivery of pilot (including co-design, preparation and debrief) $500 x 2 presenters x 5 sessions x 2 schools = $10,000

Teacher/practitioner Professional Development Resource (including guides, lesson plan templates, links to research) 6 days at $1000/day = $6000

Total $16,000