Civics Teaching in ‘Young’ and ‘Old’ Democracies and Student Learning Outcomes
Frank Reichert

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Hong Kong

Primary Discipline

Social Studies
It is undisputed that civics education is required to cultivate citizens who are capable of promoting and sustaining democracy. Educating the young for their lives in a democratic society is a persistent challenge, and teachers that are well-prepared and feel confident in teaching civics are pivotal to the persistence of democratic societies. Therefore, studying teachers’ beliefs and their teaching styles is essential, because this affects the cultivation of democrats and the anchoring of democracy. Yet despite the centrality of teachers’ roles, little profound research has been undertaken to look deeply at the profiles of civics teachers. The present research takes the view that what civics teachers know and believe concerning their subject matter and how they teach in their classrooms matter significantly to the quality of students’ learning. This study furthermore argues that cultural context matters, thus internationally comparative research is required. As a consequence, this project will examine the approaches of civics teachers in cross-cultural analyses across regions that reflect different cultural and democratic traditions (Asia, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia). Specifically, the study addresses three inter-related research questions: (1) What kinds of civics teachers exist? (2) What are the personal characteristics of these teachers, and what is the relationship between the kinds of teachers and student outcomes in civics? (3) How do the kinds of teachers and their related teaching outcomes vary across societies with different cultural and democratic traditions? To answer these questions, this study will utilize internationally comparative data and combine a teacher-centered statistical approach with variable-centered analysis, accounting for the different regions and levels of analysis. As a result of this study, we will understand better the distinct influences of different teaching styles on civics learning outcomes apart from the role that students’ perceived classroom climate may or may not have. These results are suitable to inform curriculum development and teacher training through the new knowledge about teacher profiles in societies with different democratic traditions.
About Frank Reichert
Frank Reichert studied educational science, political science and psychology in Germany, where he received his doctorate (Dr. Phil.) in 2012. Among his positions as a student assistant was a three-year commitment as a tutor in statistics, facilitating his specialization in quantitative research and large-scale surveys. He also contributed to a teacher survey on civic education in the German federal state of Saxony, which filled a gap in the evaluation of formal civic education and was discussed with public audiences. Later, Frank worked in the German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) and was an operational manager in its successor’s central coordination unit, the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi). He was a visiting fellow and a postdoctoral research associate at the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney, where he conducted research on civics and citizenship education in Australia. Since June 2016, he is a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong.

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