Different Pedagogy, Different Politics: High School Learning Opportunities and Youth Political Engagement

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Abstract

Using data from an original two-wave panel survey of California high school students and a two-wave panel survey of high school students in Chicago, we find that different pedagogical approaches influence different forms of civic and political engagement. Specifically, controlling for prior levels of engagement and demographic factors, we find that open discussion of societal issues promotes engagement with political issues and elections. In contrast, service learning opportunities increase community-based and expressive actions. Both kinds of opportunities promoted commitments to participatory citizenship. These patterns can teach us about the kinds of opportunities (both in school and out) that can shape adolescents' civic and political development.

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