Transmitting democratic ideals to school

How can we transmit our attachment to democratic ideals when, ironically, the school has its share of rules to be respected and enforced? Here are three ideas for the classroom and the school.

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How can we transmit our attachment to democratic ideals when, ironically, the school has its share of rules to be respected and enforced? Here are three ideas for the classroom and the school.

Very few teachers do not adhere to the democratic values of our society. I am not basing myself on any data to affirm this, but I have been going about my reading of Quebec schools for about twenty years. What sometimes differs is the conception teachers have of what democracy is. 

So how can we transmit our attachment to democratic ideals when, ironically, the school has its share of rules to be respected and enforced? I basically see it in three ways:

1- Through educational activities where the student has choices to make, in a given setting. 

Remember that democracy is not about having total freedom, but about exercising this freedom within a given framework. There are rules to be observed everywhere, at school, at work or in society. However, the teacher can give his students some freedom in the educational activities offered. Approaches can be varied and control given to the student as much as possible at the appropriate times. Thus, we can aspire to make the student autonomous and develop his spirit of initiative rather than deciding everything for him, from the moment when the course begins until the moment when he feels the need to go to the bathroom, through the tools to use to perform the tasks given to them in class. To make our young people leaders, they must have the opportunity to make decisions and take responsibility for the consequences of those decisions, whether they are good or not. 

2- In extracurricular activities, through activities where young people can exercise their leadership by getting involved in ambitious social and community activities. 

Young people are critical of the world around them, so give them opportunities to get involved in making a difference and creating a world in their image. I think it is our responsibility to act as facilitators in this regard, but also to guide them in this school adventure by opening the doors necessary for them to achieve their goals. Moreover, these activities, although supervised by school personnel, must be held in "real life", therefore in authentic situations where young people get involved in real causes, with extracurricular partners who also have to. heart youth development.

3- Thanks to dialogical spaces within the class, where the student learns to develop his critical mind and to question what he is learning. 

If he learns to question what is true and founded, he will have the same reflex to verify what looks like questionable information. The truth can be discussed, explained and verified. So there is no doubt that young people question what they are learning. On the contrary, this is quite desirable!

If, to paraphrase Churchill, democracy is the least bad of bad systems, the fact remains that it is the one we want to continue. To do this, we must ensure that its fate rests in the hands of future citizens who not only recognize its foundations, but also see in it opportunities for personal and collective growth to protect and enhance and, above all, to renew for them. other.

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About the Author

Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard holds a bachelor's degree in humanities education (1999), a master's degree in history teaching (2003) and a master's degree in educational management (2013). He is currently a doctoral student in school administration. He specializes in change management in schools as well as in educational leadership. He is also interested in 21st century skills to be developed in education. He holds a managerial position in a public primary school and gives lectures on educational leadership, pedagogical approaches, change in the school environment as well as on the professionalization of teaching. He took part in educational expeditions to France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Morocco. In September 2014, he published the book “Le change en milieu scolaire québécois” with Éditions Reynald Goulet and, in 2019, he published a trilogy on the school of the 21st century with the same publisher. He frequently collaborates with L'École branchée on educational issues. He is very involved in everything that surrounds the professional development of teachers and school administrators as well as the integration of ICT in education. In March 2016, he received a CHAPO award from AQUOPS for his overall involvement.

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