Tag Archives: democracy

Posted:
Aug 17, 2015
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Quote of the week

Posted: August 17, 2015

Why is it, in spite of the fact that teaching by pouring in, learning by passive absorption, are universally condemned, that they are still so entrenched in practice? That education is not an affair of “telling” and being told, but an active and constructive process, is a principle almost as generally violated in practice as conceded in theory.

John Dewey

 

Dewey, J. (2004). Democracy And Education New York, Dover Publications (originally published 1916) (page 38).

Posted:
Jun 8, 2015
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Quote of the week

Posted: June 8, 2015

Democratic schools, like democracy itself, do not happen by chance. They result from explicit attempts by educators to put in place arrangements and opportunities that will bring democracy to life … These opportunities and arrangements involve two lines of work. One is to create democratic structures and processes by which life in the school is carried out. The other is to create a curriculum that will give young people democratic experiences.

Michael Apple and James Beane

 

Apple, M. W. & Beane, J. A. (eds.) (1999). Democratic Schools: Lessons from the Chalk Face, Buckingham: Open University Press.

Posted:
Jan 29, 2015
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Less than 100 days to go

Posted: January 29, 2015

The General Election in the UK is now less than 100 days away.

 I am bracing myself for the onslaught of education policies. Free Schools are bound to get a huge amount of attention. Ofsted will get hauled over the coals. The words ‘standards, ‘quality’, ‘competition’, ‘choice’ and ‘teaching unions’ will be over-used. And yet, are the general public really able to tell the difference between one party and another. Are the policies all starting to blend together? Do politicians argue over the issues that are of interest to most voters or just to a small group of educationalists? If you are a parent who cares about the education of your child, will you know who to vote for?

 Here are three ideas that I would like to see the politicians discussing during the election campaign:

  1. Why, when there is a warehouse-full of evidence that ability grouping in schools is hugely damaging, academically and socially, does it continue? Why do politicians of all political parties feel so confident that they should make ability grouping mandatory? What evidence do they have and why are they not publishing this?

  1. Why do none of the political parties advocate for the closing of private schools, or at the very least, the removal of charitable status from all of them? Most politicians argue for the importance of social mobility and the entitlement of all children to a high quality education, and yet they are content to support a private education system that means some parents can always choose to opt out.

  1. Why are all the parties obsessed with grades and academic achievement in traditional subjects rather than considering the development of the whole child? Would it be possible for a politician to argue for the importance of developing self-esteem, confidence, happiness and a pleasure in learning? Could we consider that creativity and play is as important as academic grades?

I will be watching with interest. If any of the parties, large or small, engage with any of these issues, I might even consider voting for them.

 

Posted:
Jan 22, 2015
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Is one Democracy Day enough?

Posted: January 22, 2015

Happy Democracy Day!

On Tuesday, the BBC held its Democracy Day to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the first parliament of elected representatives at Westminster. There were many interesting programmes on radio and TV all day (some of which can still be heard on BBC iPlayer). For those of us committed to democracy, it was a fascinating mix of news, commentary and insight into the parliamentary process.

In a school in Columbia, I heard that they have a Participation Day where the children get to be actively involved in their learning, where they participate, where their voices are aired.

On March 8th every year, we have International Women’s Day, a fabulous opportunity to raise issues, to campaign, to celebrate, to be visible, to have our voices heard.

All of these events beg the question – is one day enough? Why can’t every day be a Democracy Day, a Participation Day, or a Women’s Day? By confining them to one day of the year, are we suggesting that the other 364 days can be justified for being non-democractic, non-participatory and male-centred?

Here’s to making every day a Democracy Day.