The Idea of Democratic Education

In just a few moments it’s to break into triads but we’d like to model that. We’re going to invite German, Heather and Daroun to come and model for us. If you all are here and you’d like to join us up in the circle, I think we had a switch. We had some last minute switches so we’re going to pose the question. Jonathan did you already pose this question?

Jonathan: I have it.

Jodi: The question for the day is why focus on equity and social justice in creating democratic learning environments and what we’d like to do is offer everybody a chance to answer that. In three minute rounds we’re going to frame the question in each group. Ask one person to respond at a time, the other two people will be listening and then we’ll move to the next person. After all three folks have had a chance … we’re not going to model this, this will actually happen in your groups.

All three will model answering the question but after all three people in your small groups have responded to the prompt we’re going to pass out some index cards and we’re going to ask you to jot down questions or provocations that came up in your group and Angelique, Javarius and Noel will collect those and those will come into the fish bowl.

What questions do you have about that process? Yes?

Jodi: Absolutely. I will be timing them, will let you know. I don’t have a chime so it might be a more obnoxious sound but we’ll give you a signal. Other questions about the process?

Jodi 2: Is it possible to write the question on the screen?

Jodi: What a great idea. Someone in charge of technology can you look into that? Where’s German? It looks like there are two other modelers in the circle; we’re going to ask the three of you, do you mind standing up? I’ll give you my microphone even though I’m very attached to it. The question is why focus on equity and social justice in creating democratic learning environments. Heather will you start?

Heather: Good morning everyone. Can you hear me? I believe we need to focus on equity and justice because they are the foundation principles of democratic education; it is built on equity and justice. If we examine those words we will find within those words what we are aiming to achieve through education. Non discrimination, support for the best interests of individuals, I believe the equity and justice are why we are here. This is what we want promoted in our schools; this is what we want our children to learn. This is the ethos of democratic education. That’s basically it. Is my time up?

Jodi: You have more time but you don’t have to use it. I would like to invite Han to join this conversation. Come on up, or you can stay where you are and use the microphone back there.

Jodi: … and in my school respect that aspect; that everybody has a different talent.


German: Hi everyone, good morning. I’m German, I’m from South America. I would like to start with a quote we have there that is something like this, I don’t know if I would be translate it well; as long as we have oppression in our communities, countries and the world, no one could be really truly free.

As long as there is someone that is oppressed none of us could be really free. I believe that this is the idea of democratic education and we need to find ourselves, we need to open up the doors of democratic schools and democratic education in order to solve the needs and the conflicts together with the communities. The idea of the democratic education is taking a look at the needs of the children, what they need, their interests and passions and that would be a really true change towards a democratic world and democratic education if we start to look at the needs and the interests of whole communities.

In South America this is the understanding of a true democratic education. Trying to make something from the communities, to the communities, in the communities, that’s the idea we have to keep in mind. We have to try to find other examples of democratic education outside their schools. For example in other fields, there are lots of people doing things democratically that are outside the doors of our schools like; free and open culture, sustainable culture, common base economies, collaborative economies, there are lots of examples and we have to get in touch with them.

We have to start building something that is bigger since we could be trying to free people in a world that is not truly free. That’s my idea of why we’re doing it, think why equity and social justice and democratic education. Thank you very much.

Jonathan: Thank you German.

Jodi: Then Stephanie would you like to respond as well?

Stephanie: Sure.

Jodi: Then it will be your turn.

Stephanie: Hi everyone. The question is; why focus on equity and social justice in true democratic learning environments. What I wrote down or what I immediately thought was in the society we have a lot of people who feel inferior and I just want to speak from my own personal experience. How I grew up in a non democratic education environment.

I never envisioned myself having a voice or believing that my voice was as equal and as valuable to everyone else’s because of my size, because of my coming from an immigrant family. I didn’t feel that I was supposed to participate in the society whether it was democratic or not. I think that’s why we do have to focus on equity, on social justice especially in this society, especially in America where we have students who are given less resources than other communities; more affluent communities.

I mentor at a school in an impoverished community and they ask me why do students at other schools get iPads while we don’t have enough to afford pencils or why is my little sister going to school in a warehouse when there’s other schools with escalators and pools and what not. In order for students to believe that they have a voice in society or a voice in their community, have the ability to change things, we have to let them know that their voice is just as valuable as other students in more affluent communities. That’s what I had to contribute. I’m sorry that I talk so fast, I never realized I did.

Jonathan: Thank you Stephanie.

Stephanie: Thank you.

Jodi: Our modelers without my having to tell them all kept within the time frames but I will let you know when it’s time to switch in your group. Heather only did one, she said what she needed, you can tell that we are, we were responsive in our facilitation. We’re going to ask you to find two other people sitting near you to have this conversation with. If you want to, do your best to form a triad, decide who would be the first, second and third Jodi and in a moment I will phrase the question again and begin your time.

All right is everybody settled? I have an exciting update. We’re going to compromise and instead of doing three minutes or one minute, we’re going to do two minutes. It will be two minutes per person to respond to the question, can you all see? Look at that they’ve put it up on the board.

Jonathan: Why focus on equity and social justice and true democratic learning environments.

Jodi: Your two minutes starts now.

Jonathan: Testing, testing. 30 second warning. All right, it’s time to rotate to the next person. Two minutes for the next person now, time to rotate. 30 second warning.

Jodi: Okay so if you all would switch and the third person will have an opportunity to respond, third person.

Jonathan: All right this is the final 30 second warning, start wrapping it up.

Jodi: All right.