274.3 Sense of justice as a hidden curriculum: Indicator of school democracy that affect democratic attitudes

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 11:01 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Nura RESH , School of Education, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
Clara SABBAGH , Faculty of Education, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Sense of Justice as a Hidden Curriculum: Indicator of School Democracy that Affect Democratic Attitudes

Nura Resh, School of Education, Hebrew university

Clara Sabbagh, Faculty of Education, the University of Haifa

Early adolescence is a crucial period in the formation of civic identity, the shaping of one’s philosophy of life”, and the gradual growth of independence and social responsibility that are essential conditions for becoming an active member in complex and stable democracies. We contend that justice experiences in school can be seen as a hidden curriculum: The sense of a 'just school', where instrumental and relational goods are justly distributed and where the procedures of their distribution are perceived to be 'fair', is in itself an indicator of a democratic milieu. Moreover, sense of justice in school will contribute to the development of social and institutional trust and to the formation of a democratic orientation.

Adopting a multidisciplinary – psychological and sociological – approach, we have developed a theoretical framework for the investigation of the relationship between students' sense of justice at school and different facets of civic attitudes and behaviour - i.e., social and institutional trust, democratic attitudes, civic engagement in school and social orientations.    

  Figure 1. General framework for the study of school-specific justice evaluations and civic socialization


Justice sesitivity

Personal background



Academic image

School-specific justice evaluations


  • Grades
  • Interpersonal treatment 

Civic attitudes

  • Institutional trust
  • Social trust
  • Democratic orientation

Civic behaviour

  • School involvement
    • Truancy/ absence
    • Deviant behaviour
Rule-oriented behaviour


Class context

Procedural justice

National/ethnic context

Jews - Arabs

   The model was tested empirically in Israel in a national sample of 48 middle schools (about 5000 8th and 9th grades students). Our presentation of findings will focus on the attitudinal outcomes (measures of trust and democratic attitudes). Implications for school organizational pedagogy will be discussed.