Civic Reasoning and Discourse: Advancing the Quality and Utilization of an Interdisciplinary Research Base

The National Academy of Education (NAEd) Civic Reasoning and Discourse initiative aims to advance high-quality research in civic reasoning and discourse for use in educational policy and practice. The goal of the project is to improve students’ learning in these areas by ensuring that the pedagogy, curriculum, and learning environments that they experience are informed by the best available evidence, and to expand the responsibility for such learning beyond traditional civics classes. Under the direction of an expert steering committee of researchers and other leaders in civic learning and student engagement, the project will include a workshop, commissioned papers, and summary report that provides a synthesis of findings as well as provide actionable guidance for policy makers, practitioners, and future researchers.

Based on the current state of research in the field and potential for new interdisciplinary linkages, working panels will each examine a specific theme, including: (1) psychological foundations (covering identity, human development, implicit bias); (2) history of education for democratic citizenship; (3) philosophical foundations and moral reasoning; (4) ecological context; (5) learning environment, school climate, and other supports for civic engagement; (6) pedagogical practices and how teachers learn; (7) digital literacy and the health of democratic practice; (8) agency and resilience in the face of challenge as civic action: lessons learned from across ethnic communities; and (9) summary of key findings.


  • James Banks
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Sarah Freedman
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Kris Gutiérrez
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Diana Hess
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Joseph Kahne
    University of California, Riverside
  • Carol Lee (Chair)
    Northwestern University
  • Peter Levine
    Tufts University
  • Na’ilah Suad Nasir
    Spencer Foundation
  • Walter Parker
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Judith Torney-Purta
    University of Maryland, College Park

Past Events

Civic Reasoning and Discourse Plenary Session

November 6, 2020, 10:50 am – 1:10 pm Eastern Time

Civic Reasoning and Discourse Workshop

March 10-11, 2020


Welcome & Project Goals


Panel 2: History of Education for Democratic Citizenship


Panel 4: Digital Literacy and the Health of Democratic Practice


Panel 6: Ecological Context of Civic Reasoning and Discourse


Panel 1: Philosophical Foundations and Moral Reasoning


Panel 3: Learning Environments and School/Classroom Climate


Panel 5: Disciplinary Underpinnings and Psychological Foundation


Panel 7: Pedagogical Practices and How Teachers Learn


Contact Greg White or Dian Dong for more information.


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