DERK - Democratic Education Research Kickstarter

informationEditable by registered visitors
As an exception, and for convenience reasons mostly, this page is editable by all registered users (otherwise the editing-rights are exclusive to EUDEC members).

Collection of ideas and questions that could be topics for research

(brainstorming during the EUDEC-Conference 2012; still mostly unsorted)

  • Recognition in schools
  • Which specific "skills" (or behaviours) do 'democratic education' kids develop?
  • Self-efficacy
  • "Balanced again?" What happens to children who dropped out of the traditional system and enter a democratic school? collect stroies and add new ones
  • "Satisfaction" with the pupils life (in the long run, e.g. less depressions, ...)
  • Happiness of kids and staff members
  • Big meta-topic: happiness in schools
  • Shift of focus
  • Importance of justice in schools
  • What is the goal of democratic education?
  • Democratic education and inklusion
  • "Aims" of schooling --> comparative studies
  • social facilities
  • How do we treat the "weakest" in our community?
  • Sourroundings which lessen the chance of people becoming outsiders
  • What can democratic education children teach us about the "culture/nature" of kids in general?
  • How is democratic education working regarding the age of the pupils?
  • Children with "special needs" (behaviour, learning, speaking, ...)
  • Democratic education/schools as a new research field for other scientific fields that deal with e.g. child development, first-language acqusition (as a chance to challenge/revise their findings)
  • Does it work?
  • is it possible to have democratic education in a traditional school? a case study
  • Critic of PISA
  • Financial comparison, how money is wasted (reasearch and function)
  • research with the input variable "coertion"
  • What does it mean to be a child, what does it mean to be a grown-up in a democratic school?
  • Relationship between children and adults
  • Relationship between children and children
  • Inter-personal conflict-resolution in a democratic school
  • Problems in school and solutions
  • Is democratic education good for every child? (Are there examples for “unsuccessful” pupils and why were they unsuccessful? How to improve...)
  • Do we have methods to avoid “dominating behavior” in our school life / decision making process?
  • Argumentative processes in a democratic school assembly
  • Democratic decision-making processes
  • Collection / documentation of the variety of individual learning and developing paths (Personal stories)
  • What surroundings help/support people to find their passions
  • Financial / entrepreneurial activities of democratic schools
  • How about democratic education on university level?
  • Material pedagógico y el desarrollo de la creatividad en ninos de 4 de 5 anos (idea a investigar)
  • Architecture for / of democratic education
  • What are the minimum material facilities in order to make democratic schools function?
  • Do we create a fear of failure? How to avoid it?
  • A “dry” statistic research about the graduated pupils of democratic schools (graduating test results, percentage, other valuable criteria)
  • Success in going to the chosen universities
  • What do ex-pupils of democratic schools do some years after finishing? Are there some who could not be “integrated” in “normal” society? (Out of the point of view of “conservative” people)
  • What are alumni doing in their future jobs? Are they employees? Are they entrepreneurs? Leaders? etc. Is the number different in comparison to state-school alumni?
  • What is the positive impact for pupils further professional way/life?
  • More case studies: Life after attending a democratic school
  • How do teachers decide what to teach in science, maths and language?
  • Balance between what's necessary to keep the school functioning (rules, functions) and individual/group developing
  • Compare grades of exams taken by democratic students with pupils from state schools means of assessing “success”
  • Some form of comparative study with children in traditional education (similar socio-background)
  • How “successful” are democratic pupils in life? (- personal view? - Societal view?)
  • How is the effect of democratic education on the circumstances of the teachers work? (compared to regular schools)
  • How effective is teaching
  • How stressful/unhealthy is work?
  • How much do teachers identify with their work?
  • Evaluation and self-evaluation of staff members
  • Is a teacher training program necessary?
  • Child researchers
  • Research with children
  • Democratic methodology (in research)
  • Ethical guidelines for research in democratic schools (not a reasearch-topic, but something that we need to discuss)
  • Continuity and ability to cope with challenges in learning processes at democratic schools
  • “World atlas” of democratic education
  • Documentation of various democratic schools (ethnographic research)
  • Opportunities to travel compared to state schools
  • How is the school connected with the “world around”
  • Opportunities to use what they are learning in school in reality at the time of learning
  • Different ways of working/learning in democratic schools
  • In-depth study of democratic education experiences so far
  • Structured overview of what research was carried out so far
  • es posible constituir una red de investigadores de educacion democratica (is it possible to create a network of researchers of democratic education)
  • History of democratic (free) education
  • What would democratic education as “mainstream” education be like?
  • Is democratic education as mainstream education an utopia?
  • Is democratic education applicable as “mainstream” form of education
  • What meaning will knowledge have in a society based on democratic education (no defined repertoire of common knowledge)
  • (why) choosing democratic education?
  • (are there/what are) the limits of democratic education
  • Do pupils of democratic schools “send” their children to d.s. As well? → next generation?
  • Cooperation with parents
  • Immersion into communities
  • Role of (surrounding) community
  • Role of parents

Ideas that came after the Conference (not sure whether it is neccessary to seperate them)

  • What is a Sudbury School

Our workplan

Transcript of the two planning sessions at EUDEC2012 for a concrete plan towards improved research in democratic eduation
(word by word, as written on the blackboard; in the order we worked on the sections)

1. our Vision - in 10 years (by 2022)

  • democratic uni established
  • some universities and research centers have dem.ed. as expertise
  • EUDEC functions as a knowledge pool (database) for all collected research + with very good abstracts, indexes ...
  • founded one or more institutes for dem.ed. (like IDE and better)
  • dem.ed. research becomes mainstream
  • found a way to make research helpful for daily life
  • new tools and vocabulary have been established
  • broadcast the practice (beyond anecdotes)
  • communication with other disciplines
  • dem.ed. has a place in teacher training
  • dem.ed. is standard
  • ministers and companies contacted

2. in 2 years (by August 2014)

  • researchers from outside visit the EUDEC conference
  • group working on starting an institute
  • coop with first few universities
  • system for documentation and dissemination is established
  • at least 1 bigger research team active already
  • vocabulary + tools proposed + being actively improved
  • ways of measuring + evaluating found
  • translations (from hebrew)
  • many people doing 'smaller' studies
  • group of editors
  • publishers contacted
  • research by school students
  • + more...

3. now

  • enthusiasm
  • lot of experience + knowledge
  • we are forced to do research
  • Wikipedia article is deplorable
  • past community research efforts have 'fizzled out' quickly
  • more and more interest from outside
  • chapters and articles in different books
  • looking for open source cooperation

4. our partners

  • publishers
  • young journal 'other education'
  • Prof. Ulrich Klemm (Augsburg)
  • Peter Gray (USA)
  • experts for funding research (Renate Eras etc.)
  • Sophia Tardosz (Statistics)
  • John Moravec (Minnesota)
  • IDE (Israel)
  • IDEA
  • Tokyo Shure
  • all the ...DECs
  • Uni Odensee Stefan Graf 'Democratic Citizenship'
  • Barbara Baum

5. our strengths

  • enthusiasm, strong motivation
  • great network
  • variety of expertise
  • cultural diversity
  • 'new' attractive topics
  • many examples of good practice
  • creativity
  • age diversity
  • humanity
  • relatively ressourceful
  • we do what we believe in

6. next 6 months (by February 2013)

  • Wikipedia improved and translated
  • many new partnerships established
  • big list of people to contact
  • internal communication structure established
  • funding plans looked into
  • live meeting happening
  • most of existing research collected
  • translations from hebrew started
  • research group in the making

7. in 2 months (by October 2012)

  • start/think about involving children in the research
  • plans + info put online for everybody to contribute
  • Wikipedia article being worked on by many
  • readymade list of people to contact
  • bi-monthly online meetings
  • list of contacts (active) for EUDEC2013
  • contacted IDE, IDEA etc. asking to share info
  • list of people to work on translation and found funding for it
  • first abstract drafts written
  • Chloe => Renate Eras => fundraising
  • discussion about vocabulary started

8. next steps

  • ✔ mailinglist established (Niklas)
  • contact people for translations from Hebrew? (Sabine)
  • started on Wikipedia (David)
  • work on coordinating group (Niklas)
  • translate to french (Elsa)
  • contact more partners (Monika, Christel)
  • look into founding of dem.ed.uni. (Barbara)
  • contact IDE, IDEA etc. (Niklas, Ina)
  • fundraising (Irene) => workshop + feedback
  • start discussion about vocabulary (Peter)
  • make plan how to involve children early on (Adrien)

Online communication tools

Fundraising issue

  • up to now no one thought about found raising for research
  • the council and the found raising group is informed on this need and they will ask advise to find money for this issue
  • if they find money they need a specific research topic so they ask us to work on it

Partners of EUDEC

Partners of EUDEC (Members of Eudec are in contact)

  • Professor Dr. Ulrich Klemm (social science faculty of Augsburg. He will carry out the scientific monitoring of the Sudbury school in Munich)
  • Peter Gray, PH, D., is a research professor of psychology at Boston College. Supported Sudbury Valley School.
  • Tanja Pütz, she carried out the scientific menitoring of the New School in Hamburg.

Potential Partners

  • Professor Christina Schenz (University Passau, Germany) (Monika Wernz gonna meet her)
  • Gerald Hüther (brain researcher, Germany)

Scientific journals

The Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning This journal seeks to bring together an international community of scholars exploring the topic of unschooling and alternative learning, which espouses learner centered democratic approaches to learning. JUAL is also a space to reveal the limitations of mainstream schooling. (from their hp)

Other Education