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DEMOCRATIC SCHOOLS WHY WE NEED THEM AND WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE Derry Hannam IDEC 2012, CAGUAS, PUERTO RICO March 2012
DEMOCRACY IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS • This is where the majority of students are – in the UK 93% – In Puerto Rico 75%? • In both countries elites educated in private schools tend to possess access to the best universities and to social, economic and political power out of proportion to their numbers. • Is this going to create a healthy sustainable democratic society?
‘PEOPLE LIKE US. . . ’ Carole Hahn’s research in the UK and elsewhere – • Private school students in the UK believe that ‘. . . people like us will be able to influence political decisions when we leave school. ’ • Public (state) school students in the UK do not believe that ‘people like us’ will be able to do this – but in Denmark where all students have a real say in how classes and schools are run they do!! • Hahn, C. L. (1998) Becoming Political: Comparative Perspectives on Citizenship Education. New York: SUNY Press • Puerto Rico?
Growing Social Inequality • Youth Unemployment in UK is at 21% and rising rapidly (Over 40% for black youth) • Growing boredom, alienation, failure and disinterest in school matching growing gap between rich and poor in the UK. • High Stakes testing doesn’t help – in fact it makes the problems worse in the UK. • Familiar story in Puerto Rico? NCLB/PPAA
Outcomes of NCLB/PPAA in Puerto Rico? • NCLB in Puerto Rico Medina-Rodriguez and Ramirez • Leaving Most Latino Children Behind. Rivera. Rodriguez • How PR identifies and supports Low-Performing Schools and Districts. Hergert, Gleason and Urbano • National Academy of Science Report to Congress on NCLB. ‘It’s a disaster!’ 2011 • The Arts in Education. Vital – But being driven from the curriculum by PPAA. Ana Helvia Quintero
PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEMS NEED TO CHANGE • It is useful to create democratic models in private schools that show the way to PASSION for learning and PARTICIPATION in democratic decision making. • BUT - the tough job has to be done in the public schools where most students are – including all the socially disadvantaged. • I believe it can be done • You have to start where you are.
School Improvement Programmes that I have heard about in Puerto Rico • • • Nuestra Escuela – Small (so far!) but effective ISTE – what happened to it? ASTE – what happened to that too! Sapientis and CECE – small but sound good The ‘Six Pillars’ of the Character Counts program of the Josephson Institute of Ethics – 200 high schools – the whole system? • Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship – sound good and. . .
I would like to add • PASSION – for learning • PARTICIPATION – in democratic decision making – - to educate young people who will not just fit in to the status quo but who will be able to cope with and control the pace of technological change to create a better world that is sustainable for all humanity.
AUTOGESTION!! • I am trying to learn Spanish – hard work but I think AUTOGESTION means – • People who can ask their own questions and identify their own purposes/goals for themselves and their communities • People who can figure out their own answers and be able to ejecutar (!!) their own and their communities purposes and goals • EXACTLY!! Democratic Education!!
COERCION NEEDS TO BE AVOIDED WHEREVER POSSIBLE IN SCHOOLS • Coercion causes fear and anxiety • Fear and anxiety inhibit learning and creativity • If it’s what you want to do to get to where you want to get you don’t need to be coerced to do it • ---though you may need a bit of encouragement sometimes!
A WORLD IN DANGER THE WORLD IS IN DANGER FROM - CLIMATE CHANGE - FUNDAMENTALIST INTOLERANT XENOPHOBIA - EXTREMIST VIOLENCE OF THE EXCLUDED - THE ABUSE OF POWER AND CONTEMPT FOR POLITICS AND POLITICIANS - DYSFUNCTIONAL CAPITALISM and THE GLORIFICATION OF GREED
WHAT IS DEMOCRACY IS THE SHARING OF POWER BETWEEN THE MEMBERS OF A NATION, COMMUNITY, GROUP OR SCHOOL!!!
THE GOOD OLD DAYS? • When I was at school learning about democracy and human rights was a bit like reading holiday brochures in prison – OK if you were about to escape or be released but otherwise rather depressing.
DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP • TO BE ABLE TO DISCERN WHEN TO LEAD AND WHEN TO FOLLOW AND WHEN TO GO YOUR OWN WAY – TO AVOID COMPULSIVE ASSERTION, FEARFUL PASSIVITY OR PETULANT INDEPENDENCE • TO BE ABLE TO NEGOTIATE ROLES • TO BE ABLE TO SHARE OR CO-OWN LEADERSHIP
DEMOCRACY NEEDS • OPEN ACCESS TO GOOD INFORMATION • DIRECT OR REPRESENTATIVE PARTICIPATION IN DECISION MAKING FOR ALL CITIZENS • MANY AND VARIED OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL TO SHOW LEADERSHIP SKILLS
DEMOCRACY IS NOT PERFECT • WINSTON CHURCHILL SAID THAT ‘DEMOCRACY IS THE WORST POSSIBLE POLITICAL SYSTEM – • EXCEPT FOR ALL THE OTHERS!!!!!’
DEMOCRATIC CITIZENS • ARE MORE LIKELY TO CONTROL THE ABUSE OF POWER BY PEOPLE WHO ENJOY CONTROLLING OTHERS • ARE MORE LIKELY TO ARGUE AND DEVELOP CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEMS OF THE WORLD
DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS • NEED EACH OTHER IN ORDER TO SURVIVE
DEMOCRATIC SCHOOLS • EDUCATE ALL STUDENTS TO BE DEMOCRATIC CITIZENS WHO HAVE THE COURAGE TO – – – – ASK SEARCHING QUESTIONS PERSIST IN SEEKING ANSWERS THINK CRITICALLY AND CREATIVELY PARTICIPATE IN DECISION MAKING TAKE INITIATIVES AND SHOW LEADERSHIP DO THINGS FOR THEMSELVES
AUTHORITARIAN SCHOOLS • TALK ABOUT DEMOCRACY SOMETIMES – BUT NOBODY LEARNS HOW TO DO IT • AUTHORITARIAN SCHOOLS TEACH OBEDIENCE (OR REBELLION) WHATEVER THEY SAY THEY DO • MODEL HIERARCHICAL POWER AND (SOMETIMES/USUALLY? ) ITS ABUSE
DEMOCRATIC PUBLIC SCHOOLS? • IT IS HARD FOR DISEMPOWERED TEACHERS TO EMPOWER STUDENTS • CENTRALISED CURRICULUM, OBSESSIVE TESTING (SATs and No Child Left Behind), TICK-BOX INSENSITIVE INSPECTION – NONE OF IT HELPS!
MY MOTIVES FOR TRYING IT • HUMAN RIGHTS – ARTICLE 12 OF UNCRC • SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT – BOTH PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENTS • MORE EFFECTIVE LEARNING – BENIGN CYCLE OF PARTICIPATION>CHOICE>OWNERSHIP>INTEREST ENGAGEMENT>SELF EVALUATION >RESILIENCE> SUCCESS>SELF-ESTEEM>MOTIVATION>DEEP LEARNING - UNDERSTANDING • To develop the 3 Cs of childhood – CURIOSITY, COMPETENCE AND COLLABORATION – NOT GRADE COMPETITION
MY MOTIVES - 2 • SOME THINGS CAN ONLY BE LEARNED EXPERIENTIALLY - SUPPORTED BY REFLECTION AND THEORY – – DEMOCRACY AND POLITICAL LITERACY JUSTICE AND THE RULE OF LAW MORALITY THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
ANOTHER IMPORTANT REASON? IT’S MORE FUN!!!!! – – FUN REDUCES STRESS AND ANXIETY – IMPROVES RELATIONSHIPS – FOSTERS WELL-BEING AND MENTAL HEALTH ALL OF WHICH ENHANCE LEARNING!!!!
MY OWN STORY The PHOENIX UNIT I worked in a democratic therapeutic community in a large psychiatric hospital before training as a teacher. It was very successful and I wondered why schools could not be more democratic too.
Teacher’s College Behaviourism/Skinner, Authority and Control v. Dewey, Summerhill/Neill, Democracy, Freedom and Love I chose the second way – I wanted to work with children not rats, dogs, or even chimpanzees!
Teaching Practices 1. An Elementary School in a poor housing project – success! Children wanted to learn and loved democratic meetings 2. A High School in a rich middle class suburb – disaster! ‘Don’t experiment with dangerous democratic ideas here Mr Hannam!’ Nearly thrown out! 3. An Elementary School in a rich suburb – wonderful! 100% parental support
My First job as a teacher 1969/71 36 eleven year-old kids who had failed the test for grammar school. I taught these kids -English/History/Geography/Religion/ Social Studies – for half the school week Enough time for a democratic meeting, a class court, a curriculum negotiated with the students – it became a self governing democratic learning community My class scored much higher than eight other parallel classes on standardized tests after two years even though I refused absolutely to ‘teach to the test. ’
The kids said • ‘This isn’t like school – it’s more like real life’ • ‘Mr Hannam is a bit soft – if we did not have our own laws it would be chaos in here!’ • These ‘kids’ are now 52 years old and still say it! • I have found some of them after 41 years and others have found me. We are writing a book together about our memories of the class • Many of them say the class was ‘life defining’ after earlier failure in school • One is now an elementary school principal running a school democratically and teaching others to do so. Several are running successful businesses.
The trip to the SUN! A Murdoch newspaper wrote about the class democracy in 1971. The class went to London to watch the paper being printed with ‘their story’ and photographs. The editor signed the first copies off the press and gave them to the students. Several of them still have their copies after 41 years.
My Second Job Head of Humanities Department in a new school – 240 students aged 11 – 13 and ten teachers More democratic meetings - for teachers as well as students Developing a negotiated curriculum – projects such as ‘towns and villages’ – Students negotiated their own learning groups and the teachers they want to work with.
Community Education and Critical Pedagogy In our ‘Towns and Villages of the Future’ project we worked with the kids questions. These always included ‘why are some people rich and some people poor? ’ ‘why is there violence and crime? ’ ‘what would a society of justice and peace look like? ’
Students as Researchers Groups of students carried out research projects in the school and our local community – identified problems – created solutions. The PEA PATCH! – students, some from poor families, grew vegetables for poor old people in vacant land belonging to the school (The Kitchen Garden Project!)
My Third Job Head of a House (a school within a school) of 200 students aged 11 to 18. A democratic House Council A democratic House Teacher’s Meeting Moving towards a democratic negotiated curriculum. A House Assembly of all teachers and all students – one person one vote. Every teacher also a personal tutor to 25 children of mixed ages Students of different ages working and learning together
Deputy/Acting Director • The opportunity to extend the successful ideas from one ‘school within a school’ to the whole school. • The Creation of a student led Community Education Council – blurring the boundaries between school and community – students in the community – adults in classes • Combining the school and town libraries • The end of school uniform
A Community School • The school as a resource for the community • The community as resource for the school • A democratic School Board governing the school (required by law) with elected students, parents, teachers, and community representatives. • A Community Education Council (created by us!) to coordinate everything! Always chaired or vice-chaired by a student.
CARPETS and CHRISTIAN NAMES! Changing the atmosphere of the school by fitting carpets and using first names Community Newspaper run by students and adults Community Library run by students and adults Community Sports Clubs for all – the best sports hall in the region built in our school Community Orchestra and Jazz Band – youngest player 7 years old – oldest 86 years old Community Environment Groups Etc etc 78 community activities - Many activities as part of the school community curriculum
The bus over the hill – a criterion for success! More students coming into the school from other towns.
Facilitating Structures for a more democratic school - 1 • Simplify the timetable to create time and space for relationships to grow and students to engage – no bells!! • Teachers work in collaborative teams – teach more than one subject – also act as tutors responsible for overall welfare of some students • Students grouped into tutor groups and mixed-age school-within-school or House (UK term) • Student groups have their own home base and home tutor – tutor group and school-within-a-School/minischool (UK House)
Facilitating structures for a more democratic school - 2 • Scheduled time and space for tutor group democratic meetings, house democratic assemblies, house and whole school student council meetings • Scheduled time for teacher teams to meet • Each house has a house council responsible for its own part of the school building with its own office and house budget • Each house has a place where all the students can meet together • Students choose the teachers they want to work with as much as possible – needs delicate handling!!
Facilitating structures for a more democratic school - 3 • School rules/laws made AND enforced by students and staff together • Older students (14 -18) decide what examinations to work for and how to work for them • Electives programme for at least 1 day per week where students learn and teachers teach what interests them – students and teachers can exchange roles sometimes
BECOMING A SCHOOL INSPECTOR I inspected hundreds of secondary schools (students aged from 11 to 18) Most were not at all democratic A few were trying to become more democratic in many different ways
SOME SCHOOLS ARE MORE DEMOCRATIC THAN OTHERS • THROUGH FORMAL STRUCTURES OF STUDENT PARTICIPATION – – CLASS, YEAR, HOUSE, SCHOOL COUNCILS IN THE SCHOOL – REPRESENTATION ON TOWN, COUNTY, NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL STUDENT ORGANISATIONS – ESSA/OBESSU/HEYC
SOME ARE MORE DEMOCRATIC THAN OTHERS - 2 • • • • STUDENT INVOLVEMENT IN SCHOOL GOVERNANCE STUDENT PARTICIPATION IN CURRICULUM DECISION MAKING WITH SENIOR TEACHERS AND DEPARTMENT COMMITTEES JOINT STUDENT/TEACHER LED ELECTIVE PROGRAMMES STUDENTS AS RESEARCHERS PEER MENTORING, TEACHING, COUNSELLING STUDENTS INVOLVED IN APPOINTING STAFF STUDENT ENTERPRISES STUDENT LED COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS – CHANGEMAKERS STUDENT EVALUATION OF TEACHING STUDENT LED COURSES FOR NEW TEACHERS STUDENT LED ECO/ENVIRONMENT GROUPS STUDENT RADIO, TV, NEWSPAPERS NUMEROUS OTHER STUDENT LED PROJECTS PHILOSOPHY FOR CHILDREN – P 4 C RIGHTS RESPECTING SCHOOLS
THE SUMMERHILL CASE • My best (and nearly my last!!) work as a school inspector? I work for Summerhil School against the school inspection department in the successful court case against closure • The 2000 Inspection – The school must close!! • The appeal in the High Court – Victory for the school • The 2011 Inspection – ‘Wonderful school’ • Something has changed – and it isn’t the school!!
INFLUENCING POLICY • As an adviser to the Council of Europe ‘Education for Democratic Citizenship’ (EDC) Project – writing the Budapest Ministerial Declaration in 1999 requiring student participation in decision making in all European schools • The Malta project • Running courses in Budapest and Strasbourg for school students’ organisations and teachers how to create more democratic schools • As an adviser to the UK Government ‘Citizenship Curriculum Project. ’ Establishing the principle that to learn about democracy students have to participate in doing it. Incorporating that into the UK national curriculum as ‘Participation and Responsible Action’ • The Hannam Report – research to prove the efficacy of the policy • As an adviser to UK NGOs - CSV SCUK etc.
National School Student Organisations • Strong tradition in the Nordic Countries • Supported and consulted by government • Norway - the school students secure an effective law to ban bullying– school ombuds • Finland – PISA success yet drive to be more democratic NOT more testing and inspecting. I advised an 8 school project in Helsinki linking primary and secondary schools that was partly organised by school students themselves.
‘I WAS A TEENAGE GOVERNOR’ • Persuading the minister to go part of the way. The 2002 English Education Act allows school students to be elected to school boards known as Governing Bodies in the UK. Every school has one – the students can speak but cannot vote • The research – the ‘case of the girls showers!!’ Listening to student governors leads to better decisions. It’s obvious!! • Google ‘I WAS A TEENAGE GOVERNOR’ Derry Hannam for the two reports on the project.
THE PORTSMOUTH PROJECT • STUDENT COUNCILS IN EVERY SCHOOL • STUDENT RESEARCH PROJECTS IN MANY SCHOOLS – WITH UNIVERSITY SUPPORT • CLUSTERS OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENT COUNCILS • STUDENTS SITTING ON SCHOOL BOARDS • A CITYWIDE STUDENTS COUNCIL MEETING WITH CITY ADMINISTRATORS • INTERNATIONAL LINKS – SINGAPORE NORWAY
MY ADVICE IS SIMPLE!! • If you want school students to learn about democracy they have to DO IT – and not just listen to teachers talk about it!! • ‘You can’t learn to swim if you are not allowed into the water. ’
DOES IT WORK? ‘. . . that when compared with similar schools these (more democratic) schools are performing consistently better than expected. ’ (Official Inspection Statistical Department – Ofsted) State secondary schools that are ‘more democratic than others’ do better academically, have fewer exclusions and have better attendance than those that are ‘less democratic than others’ – given comparable social environments. The Hannam Report to the English minister of education 2001 (available online)
HOW FAR CAN WE GO? CAN SCHOOLS BE FULLY DEMOCRATIC? • THEY ARE TO BE FOUND ALL OVER THE WORLD – occasionally public but usually private • THE FREI GYMNASIUM, COPENHAGEN – THE FORSOKSGYM, OSLO – HADERA SCHOOL, ISRAEL – SUDBURY VALLEY SCHOOL, USA – THE POLYTEKNIKUM, BUDAPEST – SANDS AND SUMMERHILL SCHOOLS, UK – TAMARIKI SCHOOL, NEW ZEALAND – ETC ETC ETC!
WHAT DEMOCRATIC SCHOOLS LOOK LIKE • THEY ARE SOCIALLY INCLUSIVE BUT NOT TOO BIG SO THAT ALL SCHOOL CITIZENS OF ALL AGES CAN MEET COMFORTABLY IN ONE PLACE AND KNOW WHO EVERYONE ELSE IS • 100? 200? 300?
WHAT DEMOCRATIC SCHOOLS LOOK LIKE • AUTHORITY IS DEMOCRATIC BASED ON NEGOTIATION NOT COMPULSION • DECISION MAKING IS DEMOCRATIC BASED ON ONE PERSON ONE VOTE IN SCHOOL PARLIAMENTS OR ASSEMBLIES OR COMMITTEES AND GOOD INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE
A DEMOCRATIC CURRICULUM • NO LEARNER IS FORCED TO LEARN ANYTHING THEY DO NOT WANT TO • THERE IS A DEMOCRATIC APPROACH TO WHAT IS ‘IMPORTANT KNOWLEDGE’ • THE SCHOOL IS AN ‘ALADDIN’S CAVE’ BUT IT ALSO KNOWS HOW TO NETWORK INFORMATION FROM THE WIDER WORLD • LEARNERS CHOOSE WHERE, HOW, WHAT, WHEN, AND WITH WHOM THEY LEARN
LEARNING • LEARNERS MAY LEARN – ON THEIR OWN – WITH OTHERS OF ANY AGE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN THE SAME THINGS – IN CLASSES THEY CHOOSE TO ATTEND – IN SPECIALIST AREAS IN THE SCHOOL – OUTSIDE THE SCHOOL – FROM EXPERTS OF ANY AGE WHO ARE PREPARED TO HELP THEM
DEMOCRATIC ASSESSMENT • LEARNERS CHOOSE WHAT KIND OF ASSESSMENT THEY NEED AND WHEN THEY NEED IT • LEARNERS ARE NOT FORCED TO TAKE TESTS OR EXAMINATIONS AGAINST THEIR WILL
EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL • ALL SCHOOL CITIZENS HAVE THE – RIGHT TO FREE EXPRESSION – THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY – THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT – THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY
RIGHTS NEED TO BE PROTECTED • SCHOOL LAWS ARE MADE DEMOCRATICALLY • THE LAWS ARE ENFORCED IN A JUDICIAL COMMITTEE OR TRIBUNAL OR COURT WHICH REPRESENTS ALL SCHOOL CITIZEN GROUPS
What’s happening in the UK? Ministers have learned the rhetoric – But are wary of implementing the reality! Some schools are becoming more democratic than most The Citizenship Education Longitudinal Study - Final Report Rights Respecting Schools research My recent Cf. BT research in 12 schools on school student community projects
HOW TO START? • You have to start where you are • There is always something that can be done • Gather friends around you – two are four times more powerful than one • If you are a director insist on appointing your staff and build strength maybe in one part of the school at first. The new kids? • Nothing succeeds like success!!
PASSION AND PARTICIPATION FOR ALL Thank You for listening Derry Hannam derry. [email protected] com