Democracy

We view democracy not as a ‘finished product’ but as a holistic process of becoming.

Four dimensions express our understanding of democracy-as-becoming. Below you can find these dimensions and some examples of what they can mean in practice in educational settings and the development of learning opportunities.

Power Sharing

Inclusive participation, mutual respect, having a say, and exercising autonomy

• Providing activities where responsibility is distributed among the learners (including educators).
• Creating situations for taking initiative and leading or co-leading processes related to study and social life.
• Creating a culture in which all (learners and educators) feel valued, value each other and recognise their contribution to the process of co-learning and co-working.
• Creating a culture in which everyone has a voice and gives voice to others in the educational context to enable socially-just processes and outcomes in decision-making.
• Balancing autonomy with group settings, where physical, emotional and cognitive autonomy for independent learning and problem-solving are alternated with collaborative and creative projects or activities with others.

Transforming dialogue

Open exchange of views to enhance mutual understanding and seek out the greater good

• Creating a culture which encourages openness to rethinking one’s own beliefs, feelings and embodied experiences.
• Creating a culture of open and free communication in which topical issues and points of view can be shared without fear of judgment.
• Creating a culture which encourages listening to diverse points of view, discussing them and trying to achieve mutual understanding and respect.
• Creating a culture which encourages being ready to receive the message and be open to the points of view of others.

Holistic learning

Growth in a broad range of capabilities, including aesthetic and embodied awareness and critical thinking

• Engaging learners in experiential learning practices where they learn by doing, creating and problem-solving, and developing critical thinking through engaging learners in hands-on experiences and reflection to enable them to connect knowledge acquired to real-world situations.
• Activating not only learners’ cognitive capabilities but also their emotional, aesthetic, spiritual and embodied capabilities for more effective and comprehensive learning and to help learners develop better engagement with peers, greater confidence and a stronger sense of responsibility of their actions.
• Using different types of content and arts-based and embodied learning methods, such as collage-creation, drama, photography, drawing, etc.

Relational well-being

Feelings of belonging and connectedness to others, nature and that which feeds the human spirit, in a community that also values thinking for oneself

• Establishing educational settings that enhance feelings of belonging and mutual acceptance.
• Organising events which empower connectedness to local communities, nature and the world.
• Carrying out projects with the active engagement of learners and others as appropriate to the context (such as administrators, educational leaders, community, family and policy actors) to promote a sense of community and well-being.
• Providing space and activities where learners are welcome to think independently for themselves to make their own judgments even if they differ from others’.

 

 

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