Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Education, Citizenship and Social Justice (2016), 22 pp. doi: 10.1177/1746197915626082


Copyright © 2016 Theresa Catalano and Alison E Leonard. Published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


Engaging today’s youth in civil discussions of contentious issues remains both a crucial element in democratically oriented education and extremely challenging to facilitate. The purpose of this article, which documents and presents pilot study findings from a dance workshop that engaged practicing teachers surrounding the issue of immigration, is to understand how dance can be integrated into the curriculum to prepare students to engage in democratic deliberation. Data collection consisted of pre- and post-workshop interviews with participants and was analyzed based on common principles of democracy and democratic education found in the literature. Findings point to the important role that dance could have in developing the trust, empathy, and reflectiveness necessary to engage in civil dialogue that is the essential foundation of a democratic society.