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Democratic Curriculum. Presented by Anna Arvanitis . Tony Knight and Art Pearl. General Principles A) authority=persuasion and negotiation B) inclusion Curriculum Organisers Define important knowledge Participation in decisions that affects one’s life - problem solving curriculum

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democratic curriculum

Democratic Curriculum

Presented by Anna Arvanitis

tony knight and art pearl
Tony Knight and Art Pearl
  • General Principles
  • A) authority=persuasion and negotiation
  • B) inclusion
  • Curriculum Organisers
  • Define important knowledge
  • Participation in decisions that affects one’s life - problem solving curriculum
  • Equal encouragement to classroom success-optimum environment for learning
  • Definition of available rights
  • An important goal of the democratic classroom is to graduate a person who knows how to be healthy and fit, and is capable of warm and wholesome relationships as neighbour, ally, mate, parent and friend. Who is capable of fulfilling the requirements of an informed, active, and responsible democratic citizen.
  • Emphasizes active participation, public works and collective action.
connect magazine
Connect Magazine
  • Eumemmerring College-Endeavour Hill
  • Students identified poverty, racism and human rights as areas of concern
  • Lots of fighting because of racism
  • Student developed the idea of constructing a large amphitheatre –to incorporate performances on the theme of racism
  • Incorporate community in building it
  • Competition to Design a multicultural flag to hang alongside the Indigenous, Australian
  • A parent with a background in construction assisted with the project, helping students draw up plans
  • Another group focused on the marketing and fundraising. Two students were interviewed by Triple R
  • Students sourced construction quotes
  • Although none of the project work formed part of the formal assessment the students were adamant that they have been able to apply what they have learnt to their school work.
authority persuasion and negotiation
Authority =persuasion and negotiation
  • Students need to experience warm, supportive and nurturing teachers who encourage all of them to learn.
  • The test of the persuasive teacher will be the ability to maintain a negotiating process, which at times will be confrontational and volatile.
  • Student’s motivation is the key to learning, and fostering intrinsic motivation is the key to teaching.
  • Students are motivated to learn if they believe that learning is in their or their community interest. If everything done in the class is done to please or impress some external authority, performance suffers.
  • In many ways schools decide who is going to be affluent and who is going to be poor, who is going to be included as functioning members of society, and who are going to me marginalised.
  • The democratic classroom is inclusive. It welcomes diversity, even diversity that has the potential of being anti-social.
  • It welcomes social and cultural diversity. Musical taste, weakly formed political views, diet, sports, cultures, recreational interests, dress, religious affiliation, and race, gender, or ethnic identity.
  • These are differences that schools should welcome and bring into classroom discussion.
  • It welcomes all students as equally valued members of the school community.
  • Bad students can be good students when they are working on their self chosen topics.
  • A democratic culture by definition welcomes diversity - it begins, however, with the recognition that diversity can only be welcomed when there is a centre to which all feel a positive sense of attachment.
  • That centre cannot be imposed. It cannot be forced down the throat of students. It will not be found in universal recognition of oppression. It must be negotiated.
  • Whether the centre grows and becomes more democratic largely depends on how persuasive a teacher is in encouraging students to bring to the centre for exploration and debate the important values of a democracy--persuasive and negotiable authority, inclusiveness, decisions made on the basis of knowledge and reason, universal participation, finite but inalienable rights, working together to produce an optimum learning environment, and equality. For the centre to grow the teacher helps student learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.
define important knowledge
Define Important Knowledge
  • Students learn citizenship skills by doing work of real importance. They identify real life issues significant to them, and society, form a team, design action projects that have a real impact and build a stronger community.
  • Students opinion is given serious consideration
  • Students discover principles of democracy and recognize why pluralism is central to democracy.
  • Students can learn without a curriculum
define important knowledge1
Define Important Knowledge
  • Democratic authority responds to students when they claim to be treated unjustly, or have been victimised by abusive power, by suggesting ways that the problems raised can be made part of the curriculum, or, when injustice or abusive power interferes with a problem solving project, suggests ways to remedy that situation.
  • Coaches that meet weekly, to discuss teams work, teachers can assume role of coach.
participation in decisions that affects one s life problem solving curriculum
Participation in Decisions that Affects one’s Life - Problem Solving Curriculum
  • Important knowledge in this case, is that knowledge that students believe can be used to solve important problems. While ultimately it is the student that can decide what is or is not important, it nevertheless falls to the teacher to make a persuasive case for school derived knowledge.
  • If no persuasive case is made for the importance of any school activity, students will resist, which of course is what is presently happening.
  • A democratic education helps students with the widest range of personal problems, which would necessarily include the use of control substances, school violence, the treatment of students who violate school rules, homophobia, race and gender relations, sexually transmitted disease....
participation in decisions that affects one s life problem solving curriculum1
Participation in Decisions that Affects one’s Life - Problem Solving Curriculum
  • Currently, all of these problems tend to be taken out of student’s hands and given to adult authority, whose decisions are increasingly draconian. In a democratic education, these problems are included in the curriculum for students to study and solve by developing understandings, and ways of living that are agreeable for self and others.
equal encouragement to classroom success optimum environment for learning
Equal Encouragement to Classroom Success-optimum environment for learning
  • Youth fascination with popular culture in its most simple terms reflects the deadliness of schooling. The remedy is to be found in the involvement of students in the creation of democratic culture.
  • Democratic culture begins with a very small centre, especially if the effort to create it, is during a time of crisis.
  • Humans are a gregarious species. If the school does not take pains to welcome all students as full-fledged members of centripetal learning community, students not so welcomed will search elsewhere to gratify a need for belonging.
equal encouragement
Equal Encouragement

An optimal learning environment primary features are:

  • Encouraging risks
  • Eliminating humiliation, loneliness and boredom
  • Having high expectations
  • Making learning applied and useful
  • Ensuring that all students are important contributors
  • Fostering a sense of excitement that comes with discovery and creativity
  • Building a sense of ownership, that is working for self and community
definition of available rights
Definition of available rights
  • Students are guaranteed a number of very specific rights, that must be defined and understood. Everyone is protected by these rights and they cannot be taken away by an adult whim.

Definition of available rights-

  • the right of freedom of expression
  • the right of privacy
  • the right to a due process
  • the right to freedom of movement
definition of available rights1
Definition of Available Rights
  • The learning environment must be safe and secure.
  • Humans are, by nature, a creative species. Each generation creates a new world. In a democratic class all students are encouraged to be constructively creative and to use creativity for community building, i.e., to make the class a far more interesting, exciting and creative place than is currently the case; and, far more interesting, exciting and creative than any of the proposed highly advertised "reforms."
summerhill school
Summerhill School
  • Summerhill School based in Suffolk, England, is the oldest democratic school on record.
  • Its primary focus is ‘free education’ in which students are in an atmosphere with teachers that is inclusive, and allows for votes, open debate and discussion, literally making kids own their education.
  • The responsibility is placed on students
  • Staff do not use adult authority to impose values and solve problems; these are solved by the individual with the help of friends teachers or by the community in meetings.
summerhill school1
Summerhill School
  • “ If society were to treat any other group of people the way it treats its children, it would be considered a violation of human rights. …”

democratic schooling in victoria
Democratic Schooling in Victoria
  • Fitzroy Community School-primary, 55 students
  • Northland Secondary College
  • Preshil Secondary- kew
northland secondary college
Northland Secondary College
  • An example of the importance of the ‘local’ is described in a case study of teacher, parents and students resistance to state authority ordering school closure, and the loss of what the community defined as important cultural knowledge.
  • This community (Northland Secondary College - Melbourne), struggled to maintain itself through legal process , court appeals, media campaign and community defiance over a two year period.
  • Northland had long defined itself as a Community School, with a strong commitment to, and success in meeting the needs of Aboriginal (Koori) students.
  • The school community fiercely challenged the increasing trend toward centralising curriculum, and what they interpreted as the State Department of Education ignoring the needs of Northlands’ large indigenous population. The present corporate model of ‘managerialism’ directing State schooling, proved inadequate in dealing with the plurality and hybridity of a modern community, especially one inhabited with urban Aboriginal cultures (Knight, 1998, 295-308).
  • The three core strands of VELS which are necessary to enable students to meet the demands of a modern, globalised world are:
  • the processes of physical, personal and social development and growth
  • the branches of learning reflected in the traditional disciplines;
  • the interdisciplinary capacities needed for effective functioning within and beyond school.
  • Democracy is not just the vote, but more importantly the debate, which includes problem solving, leading to the real social issues. It does require teacher leadership.
  • Ultimately, we as teachers should support democratic education because it enlists and prepares students for informed participation in efforts to solve problems critical to our survival as a species. Our students are the future.
  • I believe that the debate can transform and allows one to change their perception.