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What is Democratic Education?
Why Democratic Education?
"Within democratic education systems young people show responsibility, concern for others, imagination and good judgement - qualities that are inhibited when values are imposed by adults"
At the Berlin IDEC in 2005 the participants agreed on the following statement:
Here are some other attempts at definition:
"The diverse participants in Democratic Education are united in upholding the spirit of the Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and implementing this as the primary framework for the day-to-day practices in all learning environments."
IDEC in New Zealand
"The proponents of democratic education believe that effective education must include personal self-determination and the opportunity for meaningful participation in democratic processes in each student's day to day life."
"Democratic education is education in which teachers and learners work together as equals."
"Democratic Education is based on respect, tolerance and love."
"[Democratic education stems from] a free and expressive dialogue with no rules, no conventions, just honesty and sometimes bluntness."
IDEN stands for International Democratic Education Network.
Members are self-selected. Their names and addresses and a minimal description appear in a data-base on the web site, and they receive two or three newsletters a year, mainly giving information about recent and future IDECs.
IDEC stands for International Democratic Education Conference. It is not the name of an organisation or a group. Every year since 1993 a school or other organisation has volunteered to run the conference for the next year. The length of the conferences has varied between two days for the first one to a fortnight in 1997. Recently most have attracted around three hundred participants from all over the world. Students from both the host organisation and visiting schools have nearly always played a large part; the conference in 1997 at Sands School in the UK and the Tokyo conference in 2000 were in fact run almost entirely by students.
There are differing views as to the purpose of the IDECs. Some see them as an opportunity to discuss shared problems in a supportive atmosphere. Others hope to spread the idea of democratic education by inviting possible converts and attracting favourable publicity. The purpose of any given conference is decided by the organisers.