International Democratic Education Conference
30th July - 7th August 2005
The tradition of the annual international conferences of democratic education will be continued in Berlin in 2005. After Japan, Israel, New Zealand, the USA and India the conference is taking place once again, after a considerable interval, in Europe.
Two Berlin associations - Krätzä (the Spiel/Kultur Network's children's rights project) and the Schule für Erwachsenenbildung (School for Adult Education) - began their preparations in the spring of 2004. We hope to make the conference into a wonderful place to meet people. We want to strengthen connections between students and staff working in democratic education. As hosts we also want to make a contribution to the modernisation of our German school system. The goal of the Berlin IDEC is to pass on experience and, in addition, self-critically to investigate any problems and objections. We want to advertise the successes and the principles of democratic education and to develop them further.
It is no longer an impractical, Utopian notion that children and young people should decide for themselves what and how they learn, and participate in democratic decision-making about how their school should function.
Up until the actual opening of the IDEC in the summer of 2005 we will welcome suggestions or advice, and support in any form. We hope that our website, www.idec2005.org, which from now on will be kept up to date, will contribute to the success of the IDEC.
We send greetings to the world, and look forward to receiving guests from every continent.
The Steering Group
English version translated by David Gribble.
The network has its roots in the '80s. Under the headings "City as playground" and "Equal rights instead of division by age" it offers children many opportunities to play, to become involved and to learn.
Since the beginning of the '90s KRÄTZÄ, the children's rights group, has belonged to the Spielkultur network. It stands for equal rights between children and adults, and justifies this by appealing to human rights, which are valid for every human being, regardless of age. Since its foundation KRÄTZÄ has been working for changes in the school system. Its criticism of German schools has led the young people to many schools which can be taken as models for change: the SchülerInnenschule in Vienna, various schools in Denmark, Summerhill and Sands School in England and most recently Hadera, Kanaf and Keshet schools in Israel. In 2003 the group even visited Sudbury Valley School in the USA, in conjunction with their attendance at the 2003 IDEC. When we have come back to Germany we have always reported on our impressions.
For years we have been particularly familiar with schools of the Sudbury type from sources which our fellow-campaigner Martin Wilke has translated into German.
Since 1990 the association has been promoting the foundation of the first East Berlin alternative school, and is now supporting a steering group for a Sudbury School in Berlin.
We have experience in public relations and in working with the press. For years we have been tried and tested in fund-raising. In 1996 we organised a conference on the theme of "Equal Rights Regardless of Age" with participants from Nicaragua and Honduras.
Since 1996 we have managed a steadily growing website on which, among other things, you can find pages in six languages: → http://www.kraetzae.de/. On the German pages there is a long historical account of our work.
The Schule für Erwachsenenbildung (SfE) is an independent, non-hierarchical school of adult education that prepares its mature (18+) secondary-school pupils for the externally administered state Abitur (A-level) and Mittlere Reife (O-level) examinations. Founded in 1973 at the height of the so-called "autonomous student movement", the SfE is today the only secondary school in Germany to be organized according to the principles of democratic self-government and self-determined learning.
The school is dedicated to the principles of equality and diversity, and many of its members engage themselves politically in the struggles against racism, sexism, antisemitism and homophobia. Financially, the SfE is entirely self-supporting, all of its running expenses (rent, salaries, etc.) being covered by the tuition fees paid by the students. However, in deference to the needs of students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and in accordance with its status as a non-profit institution, these fees are kept as low as possible and, like all other matters of school policy, are set democratically by the collective of students, teachers and office staff. At present, the school has approximately 300 students (divided into 12 classes), 13 teachers and an administrative staff of four.
The steering group
The International Democratic Education Conference is a gathering of people associated with democratic education from many countries around the world. Since 1993 the conference has taken place every year in a different country, most recently in Japan, Israel, New Zealand and the USA. In 2004 the IDEC took place in India. (See www.idec2004.com)
There is no strict definition, but it is basically to be recognised by
- all students being able to decide independently what and how they will learn and
- students and staff making the school rules in a school meeting which holds to the principle, "One person, one vote."
The rules extend both to interpersonal daily life together and to the management of the school. To ensure that the rules are kept most schools have set up some kind of judicial committee that consists of students and staff.
When schools like this claim the name "democratic" that may seem arrogant, and other schools may sense that they are being criticised for being undemocratic. The fact is that democratic schools are committed to human rights and the principles of individual decision-making and group participation, and they also show a clear democratic structure. It is impossible to claim that this is true of typical traditional schools, above all in Germany, however harsh that may sound.
There are democratic schools in many countries around the world. The most famous of these is Summerhill, which was founded in the 1920s, but Sudbury schools have also been working with great success for over 35 years. They have taken their name from the Sudbury Valley School in the USA. There are now Sudbury Schools in several European countries. And there are also many more sites of democratic education which clearly differentiate themselves from ordinary schools in the way they operate. Most students from these places acquire a lot of knowledge that they will need later, but they also develop a sense of responsibility for the community, and they learn to make decisions for their own lives and to work for goals they have chosen for themselves. Equal rights are an integral part of their lives. And almost all of them are pleased with their time at school.
For that reason democratic education is a challenge to the school system in many countries. Politicians and educationalists can be inspired by the methods and structures of these places. For students they offer a great hope that the frequently experienced and almost legendary discontent with school may be eliminated.
Democratic education overcomes the much deplored division of life into free time and school time, learning and playing, theory and practice. Because students in democratic organisations are neither compelled to learn specific things at a specific time, nor under prescribed conditions, and because they therefore decide for themselves what they want to achieve, the process of learning is intensive and effective. The organisations offer space and opportunity. How these are used and to what extent the students draw on the town or the village, the local environment, is not prescribed. Freedom and responsibility, those noble aims of the educational system in many countries, are practised in democratic schools from the very beginning. The distinctions which are so strongly emphasised, particularly in Germany, between "out of school youth work" and "school" melt away quite naturally in a democratic setting.
IDECs differ completely from most other educational conferences in that a large proportion of the participants will be school students; they take part in the preparation as well as the conduct of the gathering and they also put the principles of their schools into practice as they do so.
We are expecting 300 - 400 participants from many different countries around the world.
The 2005 IDEC in Berlin, the first in Europe for many years, is an opportunity and a stimulus for a discussion of education not only in Germany but also for the rest of Europe.
The emphasis of an IDEC is decided by the current hosts. The hosts of the 2005 IDEC in Berlin introduce their aims in the next section.
We want our IDEC to have an effect on both the democratic education movement and on the outside world.
The participating exponents of democratic education exchange experiences with each other, they discuss their ideas and their problems. They present methods and examples. They give information about the various requirements in their countries. They form co-operative groups and ask questions and learn from the answers; for this purpose they also invite in experts from neighbouring specialisms such as learning research and communications science. Naturally there is a particularly large amount to be learnt from people with many years of experience and indefatigable commitment, from the people who have made these schools what they are. And we will naturally expect the most important suggestions about weaknesses and opportunities for improvement to come from the young students who are taking part. Their opinions and suggestions are among the most valuable kinds of feedback from their places of education.
We would like to give the interested public the opportunity to learn about democratic education. We would like to win over politicians and other authorities to support democratic education. We want democratic schools to find acceptance and support. They should be given the chance - particularly in Germany - to exist alongside other schools and have the same rights. Pluralism as a fundamental condition of democracy and the basic right to the free development of the individual must also be valid in the world of education. We hope to make waves in the specialist and mass media.
We know that democratic education will be met with a lot of scepticism. Doubts do not only arise from the vague suspicion that children can't learn enough if they aren't forced to learn. People also express doubts as to whether these schools can work with children who come from less financially privileged classes or who don't come from intellectual homes. Many people also find it difficult to imagine how students can acquire standard exam results, something which they believe to be necessary. What happens to students who have to change to a conventional school because they have moved house or for some other external reason?
It is the explicit purpose of the hosts to take these and other reservations seriously, and together with all participants to give or to look for answers to them. We know that in spite of years of experience and success in individual schools for a long time not every difficulty has been overcome, not every question has been answered.
The 2005 IDEC in Berlin will have two large sections (A and B) connected with each other, and corresponding to the two principal aims:
The students and staff from democratic schools and other organisations will live, discuss and work together for about a week (from Saturday to Sunday) at a conference site.
In order to achieve the greatest possible variety, we will set up only a frame of a programme, some keynote speakers, themes, workshops, etc., just as a foundation.
The internal conference we will leave mostly in the hands of the participants, who will be able to follow the principles of "open schedule", i.e. without a fixed timetable. This process of the fluid creation of the programme has proved its value in previous IDECs. Everyone can put forward their own ideas, questions or suggestions at the general meeting the previous day and put their own offerings or requests for information into the timetable, which starts almost empty. In this way it is possible to react briskly to discussions or to repeat or continue particular workshops.
You can also delight us by bringing films, exhibitions, plays, prepared talks, music, workshops and anything else that seems to you to be likely to be of interest to this gathering. The only important thing is that you advertise your activity on the big notice-board - when and where the event is taking place, and who is responsible for it. There are no previous arrangements and no censorship; every contribution is welcomed.
We, the hosts, intend to offer a list of provocative questions to stimulate participation, without losing sight of the central themes:
Here is a small taster:
We see the character of the conference as something like a big market-place where there is one central square and a lot of small stalls. A lively exchange takes place, there are hot debates, and at the same time one sees here and there people of different ages relaxing or playing together harmoniously. We want to create space for activities which are intellectually stimulating and varied for children and adults alike, and in this connection group-dynamic games and excursions should not be in short supply.
The icing on the cake is the offer of a many-faceted opportunity to get to know Berlin. A lot of attention is given to individual interests and therefore not too much will be decided beforehand. Those who would like to enjoy more expensive cultural events should tell us well beforehand so that we can consider it and arrange theatre tickets or whatever it may be.
For two days in the middle of the week we are planning to open the conference to interested people from all parts of society. The representatives of the democratic schools that are present will prepare themselves especially for this part of the IDEC and in parallel workshops, poster exhibitions and lectures will convey and discuss the full breadth of their theories and experience.
For this period we are expecting politicians with responsibility for education, so that we can open a dialogue about democratic education in Germany, which has not taken place for a long time.
We will also send separate invitations to the public meeting. We are hoping to arouse critical response and comprehensive reporting in the press.
This public meeting of limited length corresponds to our second objective (see point 2).
Anyone who is interested can begin to prepare for the conference in advance with the help of this text and some others which can be found on the list of our web-links. The detailed programme will be developed shortly.
The Berlin IDEC will be looking towards three groups of people.
As hosts we have devised a number of conditions for participants at the Berlin IDEC to comply with. These rules should lead to clarity and so to success for the IDEC and will also make our own work easier. There are different conditions for the participants in the conference of schools (Part A, inclusive of Part B) and the public conference (Part B). (What is Part A and Part B?)
Part A (inclusive of Part B)I would like to attend the Schools Conference (30th July - 7th August 2005)
Part BI would like to attend the public conference (4th - 5th August 2005)
The schools conference is for up to 300 participants from organisations which either fulfil or support the criteria of the "International Democratic Education Network" (IDEN):
We will therefore ask applicants to give a brief account of their relationship to these criteria.
In addition we want to insist on a quota of 50% young people (still at school or having just left) - applications from adults will therefore have a lower priority.
Anyone or any organisation that does not yet fulfil or support these ideals in their work, but nevertheless is interested in the IDEC, is invited to the public conference (Part B).
The conference fee will include conference documents and full board and lodging for eight nights. Most of the sleeping places are beds in group tents in the park where the conference is to be held.
There are graduated fees:
|Children (under ten years old)|
|Students of democratic schools/organisations|
|Solidarity (we want to help people from disadvantaged regions by voluntary additions to the standard fee)|
|Platin||> 400 EUR after discussion with us, and with particular acknowledgment|
|Early applications (by which we hope to increase the security of our planning)|
|Until the end of February||270 EUR|
|In March||280 EUR|
|In April||290 EUR|
|We would like to receive - prior to registration - an email to email@example.com with a precise description of your needs and how much you would like to receive. We will then answer personally. See newsletter No 3 point 1|
Cancellation Fees: If registered participants withdraw, there will be a cancellation fee. This will be 50% until July 1st and thereafter 90%.
We distinguish between a) lectures, seminars and workshops and b) presentations of their own practice by schools (posters).
and similar contributions should fulfil the following conditions. In this way we hope to raise the quality of contributions and to be able to make sure the conference is not only better prepared but also better documented.
For each contribution we request:
The participating schools will be asked to bring a metre square poster with them (see Programme page). These posters will be displayed throughout the whole IDEC, in part A as well as part B, and should make it easier for participants to make contact with each other.
We are planning to end the IDEC on August 7th with a written declaration. This final declaration should consist of a short position statement (what is democratic education and why do we support it?) and some of our hopes and/or questions. In this way we want to open the exchange of ideas about education to society in general. Participants declare their fundamental agreement with this proposal.
We are also asking people to join in with the improvement of our draft proposal, which will be made available through our newsletter.
Please do not forget to bring songs, musical instruments, examples of your local culture and ideas for sports of all kinds.
As at previous IDECS, we would like to organise an auction. For that we would like to have souvenirs and characteristic articles from all over the world.
The registration form follows. When you have submitted it, please wait for confirmation that your application has been accepted. In this confirmation you will also be told how to pay your conference fee.
Guests who want to visit schools/projects in Germany after the conference should notify us by using the last input field.( http://idec2005.org/ )
For this part of the conference the programme is yet to be published in detail. However, themes and key issues are already printed here. This part of the conference will be opened at nine o'clock in the morning on Thursday, August 5, in the main lecture hall of the Humboldt University, Unter den Linden.
All interested people will be admitted, up to a limit of 200 participants.
The conference fee includes documentation, lunch on both days and refreshments in breaks. Arrangements for residential accommodation must be made individually.
There are two different conference fees:
The registration form follows. When you have submitted it, please wait for confirmation that your application has been accepted. In this confirmation you will also be told how to pay your conference fee.( http://idec2005.org/ )
What can be learnt from the experiences of democratic schools? What difficulties do they face? - The IDEC should help us to clarify successes and to identify and solve problems. We have devised a format and a number of questions which should stimulate all the participants. The following list may be long, but it is only a suggestion it can be made even longer. We encourage sceptics and critics in particular to send us their questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the feedback form.
In this part of the programme we want to go into the relationship between society and democratic education, for example: What do democratic schools expect from the state, and what can they offer it? What are the effects of religion and cultural tradition? How does the transfer into other kinds of education work?
In the structure section the topic is the relationships within democratic schools. How do democratic schools organise their days? What relationship do they have with parents? Who makes what decision? Etc.
We want to give particular attention to the individual student's learning of skills and acquiring of knowledge, and in doing so to take into account discoveries in brain research. What effect does autonomy have on learning? Are students in democratic learning establishments happier? Etc.
There are a few questions and ideas which will not fit unambiguously into the previous three categories. We want to keep space for them too.
The following introduction to our programme makes it clear that there are two parts to it: on the one hand we have already written down a great many details and ideas, but on the other hand we want to make it possible for the participants and our guests to have a great deal of influence on the content and progress of the conference.
We hope that the wide range of freedoms and flexibility remains visible behind our extensive planning. We have fixed a few organisational details, because the participants (particularly those taking part in the public conference - Part B) must know where they are. For that purpose we will be gradually giving out more and more detail. However, particularly during part A, but also throughout the conference, there will be sufficient free spaces for spontaneous ideas.
Suggestions for improving or adding to the contents or the organisation are of course now welcome.
Dates: Saturday July 30th until Sunday August 7th (the last week of the holidays in Berlin)
Place: Berlin (see Conference site)
Number of participants:
A - School Conference: about 300 participants from many different countries
B - Public Meeting: an additional 200 participants, mostly from Germany
German and English
(Translators wanted, if possible simultaneous translators)
The IDEC in Berlin should be marked by the significant participation of young people who are still at, or have recently left democratic schools. We are counting on these young people to report on their good experiences - but also where appropriate to declare their dissatisfactions. It was clear at the IDEC in Albany, USA, as well as in Bhubaneshwar, India, that young people want to have more influence during the conference.
Students and recent leavers are the most perceptive critics. That is why the most important suggestions are likely to come from them.
At the same time we are convinced that students can offer the best evidence that democratic schools do work.
That is why the help of students and recent leavers will enable us to reach the main objectives of the IDEC as effectively as possible: to improve the work of democratic schools, and to broadcast it to the rest of society.
Last but not least the IDEC itself must be fun! We hope that current students will help us to make the most of this.
We want to make sure that as many questions and problems as possible, including of course the most important ones, are explored at the IDEC. On this point we are not making any fundamental distinction between parts A and B. Our responsibility as hosts will be to clarify basic questions and above all to explain them to the participants in Part B (the public conference). Nevertheless in part A we will take particular care to make sure that there is enough time left over for the spontaneous suggestions which will not arise until the conference is running.
As well as a few lectures, we are expecting above all to profit from discussions in small groups. We will have enough rooms available for that. If you would like to make a particular statement or offer a prepared contribution for a discussion, please contact us at email@example.com).
→ scheduled workshops and presentations during the public conference (part B)
→ complete list of all proposals for workshops and presentations in the scools conference (part A)
We are asking democratic schools and other organisations that are willing (as they ought to be!) to introduce themselves generally and report on their work, to make a one metre square poster.. This poster should be brought to the conference, as complete as possible and rolled up for easy transport. We intend to display them during the Schools Conference (Part A). In that way all participants will have enough time to find out about each other. We will then set up a so-called Poster-session, lasting about two hours. During this time the exhibitors should stand by their displays and give information about their schools to interested people. In this way we will have more time for discussions of particular topics. This will enable many more people to take part in the exchange of information than would be possible if all the schools introduced themselves individually, one after the other.
In addition to this these displays can be rolled up and taken to Part B, the public conference, so that the people who come to that can also get an overview. Without posters or displays that would hardly be possible in the short time available.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday participants at the IDEC can visit German schools. Unfortunately the school holidays in Berlin coincide with the conference, so that it will not be possible to get an impression of an ordinary school day. Nevertheless there will be teachers there and they will talk about their schools.
After the IDEC is over we want to help participants, particularly participants from abroad, to visit other educational projects in Germany. Before and after the conference there are people who are looking forward to hosting participants from the conference and inviting them to other parts of Germany.
Berlin is a big and fascinating city. For that reason there will also be sight-seeing tours for those who are interested. We have prepared a tourist corner, with a bright array of flyers from museums, exhibitions and other places to visit. Every evening we will reserve about thirty tickets for a play, opera or concert.
A historical expedition is important to us: we are planning a visit to the memorial at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the Monday.
In the art workshop there will be facilities for painting, crafts, printing and making toys. There will also be a sound workshop, where instruments will be made out of simple materials. The sound workshop is not just a sweetener alongside the IDEC for just relaxing, just playing or just being creative; it will also stimulate you to (auszuloten - take chances? ) and try out democratic processes in art. Attention will be drawn to the cultural characteristics of the instruments and the spiritual dimensions of the music. Discussions may also ensue, for example on such themes as "Unconventional reflections on writing and the culture of writing", or "Oral culture and sound". You can also have a good exchange of views while doing craftwork together!
In the FEZ there is a lot of space. You can play table tennis, volleyball, football and everything else. There is also a swimming lake.
If you know of, or even own, appropriate films and books, please bring them with you. There will be a cinema with an LCD projector. We also want to have a bookstall, which will be particularly useful to the visitors to the Humboldt University in Berlin who will be able to lay in stocks of relevant material.
In accordance with tradition there will once again be an auction this year. It will take place on Saturday evening and it would be great if you would bring items to contribute.
The following list contains proposals for workshops, presentations and other offers. They are arranged alphabetically by author and will be timetabled following the principle of "open schedule" during the IDEC. They may be offered several times. The list is not closed. All participants may add other proposals during the IDEC.( http://idec2005.org/ )
We are pleased to introduce some interesting and established figures who already promised their attendance. We will extend this list bit by bit.
Born 1932, London, England; educated at Eton and Cambridge, receiving a BA in Modern Languages in 1956. At Cambridge he edited Granta magazine and wrote for the Footlights revues.
After teaching for three years at Repton, a highly conventional British boys' boarding school he left to find more congenial employment at Dartington Hall School, a famous progressive school, where he stayed, with occasional short interruptions, for the best part of thirty years. His four children were all educated at Dartington.
When Dartington Hall School closed in 1987 he joined two other teachers and a score of children to start Sands School, which has further developed Dartington ideas.
He retired at the age of 60. in 1992, and since then has visited democratic schools all over the world and written a number of books, two of which have been translated into German (Considering Children, translated as Auf der Seite der Kinder, and Real Education: Varieties of Freedom, translated as Schule im Aufbruch). He has given talks in Japan and Thailand as well as many European countries.
He was one of the founder participants in IDECs and has attended nine of them. He also runs IDEN, the International Democratic Education Network, which is a website with a data-base of people and organisations (www.idenetwork.org). It also sends out occasional newsletters.
He plays mainstream jazz rather badly on the piano and the tenor sax, composes crosswords and spends a lot of time with his eight grandchildren.
He lives with his wife, Lynette, in south Devon, between Dartmoor and the sea.
Born November 1946 at Summerhill School, Leiston, Suffolk, daughter of A.S.Neill the school's founder. Brought up using "self-regulation" and educated at Summerhill. Married to Tony Readhead, local farmer and have four children: Amy 32, William 31, Henry 28, Neill 18 – all attended Summerhill. Two grandchildren, Amy’s children – Jasmine, 8, and Joshua, 6 both attend Summerhill. 1985 – Took over as Principal at Summerhill where the learning curve was extremely steep! Today I lead a very busy life at Summerhill doing day-to-day school things, though I always wonder exactly what it is that I do for a living! I still find time to enjoy Classical dressage on my new Spanish horse and learn classical singing. My main accomplishments in life are being able to light a really good camp-fire and peeling oranges like a professional! I am also a pretty good dancer.
Founded The Democratic School in Hadera, Israel in 1987 and served as its principal until 1997.
Initiated the first IDEC - the International Democratic Education Conference - in Israel in 1993.
Was adviser to Israeli minister of Education - Mr. Yosi Sarid in 1999.
Established The Institute for Democratic Education in 1995 and has since then served as its chairman.
The activities of The Institute for Democratic Education:
Operates the Incubator for Entrepreneurship in Democratic Education.; Supports 30 Israeli Democratic Schools (over 5000 students).; Operates democratization programs in more than 200 regular state schools.; Coordinates the regional program The City as a Democratic Learning System in ten different residential areas.; In charge of the Academic Department of Democratic education in Hakibbutzim College in Tel Aviv.; Coordinates the Forum Hawadi project - one of the main programs for education for peace in Israel.; The International department - make Lectures and workshop worldwide. Led individual and groups How to build an Institutes for Democratic Education in different countries.;
Jerry Mintz has been a leading voice in the alternative school movement for over 30 years. He has a BA from Goddard College, and a Masters in Teaching in the Social Sciences from Antioch New England Graduate School.
He worked as a public school teacher and a public and independent alternative school principal for 17 years. He founded several alternative schools and organizations and became the first executive director of the National Coalition of Alternative Community Schools, serving from 1985-1989. In 1989 he founded the Alternative Education Resource Organization which he continues to direct, and is Managing Editor of its networking magazine, The Education Revolution.
He has lectured and consulted with schools and organizations in the United States and around the world, including Russia, the Czech Republic, France, England, Israel, Denmark, Holland, Ukraine, Japan, Austria, India and New Zealand.
He had been a keynote speaker for many conferences. He was a founding member of International Democratic Education Conference and has helped organize and spoken at many of them, including the one at Stork Family School in Vinnitsa, Ukraine, Summerhill School in England, Tokyo Shure, in Japan, Christchurch, New Zealand, and Bhubaniswar, India. In 2003 AERO co-hosted the IDEC in the United States for the first time. Over 90 schools from 25 countries and 25 states were represented. He has been a guest on numerous local and national radio and TV shows, including NPR's All Things Considered, and Talk of the Nation.
He has hosted two national weekly radio shows, one on the Talk America Network, the other on the Cable Radio Network. He was recently on Fox News Network's Hannity and Colmes Show. He has published hundreds of articles and studies on educational alternatives. He was Editor in Chief for the Handbook of Alternative Education, which lists 7300 educational alternatives. It is a first-of-its-kind, and has been published by Macmillan. The paperback version, the Almanac of Education Choices, was published by Macmillan/Simon & Schuster. His new book is called No Homework and Recess All Day - How to Have Freedom and Democracy in Education.
Derry Hannam is a Visiting Fellow in student voice issues at the University of Sussex Centre for Educational Innovation.
He was a teacher practitioner of student participation in all aspects of secondary school life for 21 years.
He has advised the DfES, QCA, the Council of Europe, OBESSU, LEAs, and UK NGOs, (such as the Citizenship Foundation, CSV, Schoool Councils UK and the NSPCC) on school student participation as part of education for democratic citizenship.
Recent work includes a pilot study for the DfES to explore associations between student participation in secondary schools and achievement, exclusion and attendance, and a study for QCA on ways in which students? perceptions of the curriculum can be communicated to government.
He is currently managing the ?I Was A Teenage Governor? project to develop school student participation in school governance.
He has spoken and written widely in this field both in the UK and internationally.
Dr. Gerhard Huhn, born in '45, studied law in Berlin. During his studies he spent long periods abroad in Sweden, Switzerland and the USA. At 28 he became Vice President of Sales for an American cosmetics firm in Switzerland. Returning with a lot of formative experiences behind him he completed his degree and his doctorate with a thesis on "Creativity and School".
After further professional positions as an independent lawyer and publisher, he works today as a management consultant and trainer. He has been concerned with the practical aspects of research into the brain for more than 25 years, especially with the implications for learning processes, motivation and creativity.
From 1992 to 1997 he was a visiting lecturer at the University of Art in Berlin, in the Department of Social and Corporate Communications, since 1996 he is a visiting lecturer at the Free University of Berlin in the Department of Media Research and Computer Based Training.
Royston began his career as a choreographer in 1975 when his first work gained the "Foundation of France Prize for Outstanding Artistic Achievement". He subsequently mounted work for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York, the Scottish Ballet, the Irish National Ballet, the Ballet Nacional de Peru and many other smaller professional ballet and contemporary dance companies in the UK and abroad.
In 1980 he was appointed Dance-Artist-in-Residence for Fife Regional Council, Scotland; one of the first such positions in the UK. During three years he produced many workshops, summer schools and festivals and set up youth and adult community dance groups.
Following a period as Dance Research Officer for Stirling District Council he moved to London and began to work more internationally in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Oregon (USA) as well as in Lithuania during the independence struggle and in Croatia and Bosnia during the Balkan conflict.
Royston worked with former street children in Ethiopia, marginalised children in Peru, Catholic and Protestant youth in Northern Ireland, male and female prison inmates, children and adults with learning difficulties, young people excluded from mainstream education, and children in exile as well as in many primary and secondary schools, and vocational dance colleges.
He worked extensively in Germany as choreographer for the European Youth Dance Festival in Duisburg, the Deutsch-Britische Jugend Tanz Austausch in Berlin from 1989 to 1991. He was guest choreographer to the Ballet Department of the Hochschule für Darstellende Kunst, Frankfurt, and has worked with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
The Berlin project with 250 children (film "Rhythm is it") was the most recent in a series of works for orchestra which included the London Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Scottish Chamber and Symphony Orchestras, Natal Symphony Orchestra and several chamber orchestras and choirs.
His "Rite of Spring" has been performed in Addis Abeba, Duisburg, Berlin (1990 and 2003), Lima, Belfast, London, Vilnius, Glasgow and in many schools and communities in the UK.
→ List of all speakers in the public conference (part B)
The IDEC in Berlin will take place in two places - at the Wuhlheide Recreation Centre (Freizeit- und Erholungszentrum - FEZ) and at Humboldt University in Berlin.
FEZ, which was originally the East German "Pioneer Palace", is an enormous building in a wonderful park. In this palace we will be able to use the theatre, a cinema, a concert hall and many small and middle-sized seminar rooms. Internet connections will be at our disposal, the estate has its own natural lake for bathing and there is even a narrow-gauge railway, which goes through the park.
During the conference there will be a big FEZ holiday program of events going on, so we will not be alone. On the contrary everyone, particularly the younger participants, will be able to get an impression of what German school-holiday projects are like, and to take part in them.
Meals we will probably organise in the open air, with marquees in reserve for bad weather.
All participants can sleep in the grounds. There will be small bungalows available for some participants, but the great majority will be in group tents with camp beds (for six or eight people.) We can use the showers at the indoor swimming-pool in the FEZ, which will be being renovated at the time.
The FEZ is very close to an S-Bahn station (about ten minutes on foot). The journey into the town centre takes 19 minutes to Alexanderplatz, or 31 minutes to the Bahnhof Zoo.
Humboldt University in the heart of Berlin will be available to us for the public meeting on Thursday and Friday. It is at the same time the oldest university in Berlin, and extremely modern; it is known as "the mother of all modern universities." We are honoured to be allowed to open the IDEC in the main building in Unter den Linden, which is only a few minutes away from the Brandenburg Gate, the famous Berlin monument. We will have at our disposal the maximum auditorium, other very beautiful halls, various seminar rooms and also the grounds. We will feed the particularly large number of IDEC participants in this part of the conference either in the dining hall or in the courtyard in the open air.
→ Link to the Humboldt University website.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please fill in the form on our website with the number of people who are definite, even if this is just one. Use the comments field to give an estimate of the total number of interested people. We will be able to handle this. There is now (in February) no danger of being late for registration.
It isn't necessary to pay immediately after booking. We can deal with this issue too, so there shouldn?t be a problem.
There is a discount of 50% for younger students (those less than 10 years old).
If it's really necessary, we can reduce the price by about 10%. Ideally, we would like to have all the attendees staying at the venue. This will offer the most opportunities for informal contact between the attendees which will be both interesting and productive. Moreover we are relying upon the fees from the participants to organize the IDEC well.
It is not excluded in principle, but we are expecting to build a kind of a community during the IDEC, please have a look at our venue-site. We hope to share plenty of time together and we hope all will benefit from the small talks between the workshops and lectures, as well as the personal relationships that can arise by staying together at the venue.
We expect up to 300, plus 200 in part B. Look here: → Program
One reason is the amount of accommodation facilities. Another is the catering requirements; people have to be fed quickly, which could be difficult with a higher number.
Let us know if you need to stay in a bungalow because of some special conditions. You can write an e-mail or put it in the "general"-field of your registration. The distribution of the bungalows spaces will depends on these special conditions.
We are thinking about having someone to take care of the children during the workshops and speeches, let us know if you are interested.
Actually we haven't decided anything about this yet; the auction is just one of the ideas to make the conference a bit more diverse. Virtually anything goes, it should be of interest to other people - if people buy only as a purely beneficent donation it may be embarrassing for those who are taking it more seriously.
We still don't know if this will be necessary. Let us know the date of your plans, so we can contact you when the time is right.
When you register, write your idea for a workshop into the field for contribution or send us an extra-mail.
It depends! For how long? For how many? What expectations do you have? This is the kind of question which may require you to find your own answer. Anything is possible but, unfortunately, we cannot take responsibility for organising everything outside IDEC.
There is too much to tell; you wouldn't find the time to read it ;-) Please use the webpage:
→ http://www.berlin-tourist-information.de/english/sightseeing/ ,
but please know that this is only one - more or less official - web site. There are many small and so-called independent cultural attractions. These details will not be available yet, a long time ahead of the conference.
This depends very much on your expectation and living style. We want to organize some support for our guests, even in some towns outside Berlin. If you are hosted by friends, you need some money for transportation (which is quite expensive for larger distances - but we have a kind of organized hitchhiking, which is about 25 Euro for 500 km / person). In Berlin a 7-days-pass is about 25 Euro.
All prices are very similar to the U.S., in particular, supermarkets and cheap fast food restaurants (which are often better quality here)! It might be even cheaper, sometimes you find something for less than two Euro. A normal meal in a restaurant starts at five Euro.
We distinguish between Donations and → Sponsorship.
Donations of all values are very welcome and will be gratefully accepted. Our charitable organisation "Netzwerk Spiel/Kultur" is supported principally by donations.
For donors we have prepared the following "catalogue" or list of choices. In this way it will be possible to support a particular part of the IDEC. People will be able to see how useful their contributions are, and what they will be used for.
Of course → sponsors can also make choices from the followng list; their names will appear in the programme; in text for up to 100 euros, with a logo for up to 200 euros, with a 1/16 page advertisement for up to 500 euros and 1/8 of a page for up to 1000 euros.
For German tax-payers we can give confirmations of charitable donations.
Of course we will also welcome support in kind, such as
We are setting no limits to your imagination. Of course you can also make direct contact with us about individual needs and ask us questions.
Telephone: +49 (0)30 4039 3340
(Contact:: Mike Weimann)
Here we offer a collection ideas put together by Dana Bennis and Isaac Graves from the USA for IDEC 2003. Schools and individuals may perhaps be able to fill the gaps in their finances by these means.
IBAN: DE45 1001 0010 0685112100
(in Germany: Kto. 685112100, BLZ 100 100 10 Postbank)
We can also accept money by email, via PayPal:
Please do not hesitate to contact us. We want to make it easy for your to become involved with IDEC 2005 in Berlin. (Mike speaks English fluently. - The translator has put this in, because he thought it might be important to say)
IDEC 2005 Berlin
Telefon +49 (0)30 4039 3340
Alan Electronics supports the IDEC 2005 by providing walkie-talkies.
The thirteenth International Democratic Education Conference is coming back to Europe for the first time for six years and for the first time ever to Germany. We are expecting to welcome people working in schools, school students, scientists, educational planners and other experts from more than twenty countries, of course including Germany.
The concept of democratic education is not yet widely known in Germany: the school students themselves decide what they want to do and the school rules are decided and enacted by the students and teachers working together on equal terms. International experience shows that young people leaving schools of this type are not only more successful but also happier - even while they are still at school. Democratic schools are based on the idea of human rights, which should be valid in every school.
Sponsors will come into a direct relationship with internationally famous personalities, authors and decision-makers. They will have the opportunity to make contact with young people who learn in a fundamentally different way and can talk about modern, forward-looking concepts of school from their own experience. This can be extremely useful to authors, film-makers and publishers, for example, but also for existing schools and educational organisations, as well as associations.
Within the framework of our press and publicity work, sponsors will have access to forward-looking journalists and mass media, as well as to German politicians dealing with education.
And not least, sponsors will be supporting a development that is only beginning in Germany. Anyone who supports the idea of democratic schools and educational organisations from the beginning will be able to profit from this mutual exchange for a long time.
The recent launch of the English Secondary Students' Association in London was supported by The Minister of State for Education, the Trades Union Congress, The Association of Teachers and Lecturers, The Times Educational Supplement, the National College of School Leadership, the Phoenix Education Trust, Changemakers, EdComs, UnLtd, The Carnegie Trust and others.
All sponsors can describe themselves as "official sponsor of IDEC 2005, Berlin", and so make their social and political ambitions publicly known.
Sponsors can support the conduct of the IDEC in concrete ways, which cannot be financed by the conference fees. In particular it is possible to sponsor the participation of people from the third world, who cannot come to Germany without help. Government offices and foundations give only limited support.
We have put together a few sponsorship packages, from which you can choose. We would be very grateful, if you would involve yourselves in IDEC 2005. Please direct any further questions to our contact:
Mike Weimann, firstname.lastname@example.org, Telephone +49 (0)30 4039 3340
Please choose a school from the list. The sponsor takes responsibility for transport and the conference fees for the given number of students and teachers who cannot come to the IDEC without financial help:
(Please contact us for further information!)
In this way the sponsor promotes the participation of a teacher or a student from a democratic school, who could not come without financial help. The exact details we will give to each sponsor when we have made contact.
Lastly sponsors are also invited to choose from the possibilities listed in the section on donations. As described there, your name or advertisement will appear in the programme, in a size proportional to your contribution.
IBAN: DE45 1001 0010 0685112100
(in Germany: Kto. 685112100, BLZ 100 100 10 Postbank)
We can also accept money by email, via PayPal:
Please do not hesitate to contact us. We want to make it easy for your to become involved with IDEC 2005 in Berlin. (Mike speaks English fluently. - The translator has put this in, because he thought it might be important to say)
IDEC 2005 Berlin
Telefon +49 (0)30 4039 3340
The 2005 International Democratic Education Conference, held in Berlin from 31 July to 6 August, attracted 200 participants from 28 different countries. These participants agreed upon the following statement:
We believe that, in any educational setting, young people have the right
13th International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC)
Rede von Thomas Krüger, Präsident der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, zur Eröffnung des Öffentlichen Teils der 13th International Democratic Education Conference in der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin am 4. August 2005
In Deutschland sind Sommerferien. Es ist schulfrei. Trotzdem beginnt in diesem Moment für Tausende von Kindern und Jugendlichen ein Tag, an dem sie etwas fürs Leben lernen: Geschichte zum Beispiel, Sport, Wirtschaft oder Chemie, eine Menge über Politik, vielleicht Mathe, viel Kunst, wahrscheinlich Physik, sicherlich Deutsch, Fremdsprachen oder Werken und vieles, vieles, was sich nicht in Schulfächer packen lässt. Sie tun das freiwillig, selbstbestimmt und selbstorganisiert, mit Kompetenz, Stolz, Toleranz und Spaß. Und damit lernen sie auch jede Menge über sich selbst, übers Zusammenleben, über Freiheit, Gerechtigkeit und Regeln, kurz: über und für Demokratie.
Klar, ich rede von Ferienprojekten und außerschulischen Angeboten. Ich denke da an die Spielstadt mit selbst gewählter Bürgermeisterin und abendlichen Bürgerversammlungen, an das Ferienlager und die kollektive Planung des Hüttenbaus, an die Morgenrunde während der interkulturellen Jugendbegegnung im Ausland oder an das Radioprojekt in der Jugendbildungsstätte. "Schulen der Demokratie" sind das. Wir haben etliche davon.
Wir wissen in Deutschland recht gut, wie es geht und dass es geht: Wenn Kinder und Jugendliche ihre eigenen Interessen erforschen, ausprobieren und umsetzen. Wenn sie eigene Regeln erfinden, verwerfen und erneuern. Und viele Kinder und Jugendliche wissen daher, wie es sich anfühlt, wenn man ihnen mit Respekt, auf gleicher Augenhöhe und Ernst begegnet, ihnen etwas zutraut und ihre Teilhabe einfordert. Wenn sie Einsicht in demokratische Strukturen und Formen, Übung darin, sowie Zugang dazu erhalten, die ihre Persönlichkeit herausfordern und fördern.
Ich muss mir nur diese Angebote und Projekte ansehen, um die Frage meines Vortrags beantworten zu können: Ja, wir brauchen eine neue Schulkultur, denn DAS kenne ich aus unseren Regelschulen nicht.
Zwar war die Einrichtung unseres Schulsystems nach dem Krieg getragen vom Gedanken der Demokratisierung und Entnazifizierung. Aber die Zäsur der nationalsozialistischen Diktatur und des Krieges hatten auch die reformpädagogischen Ansätze in Wissenschaft und Praxis abgeschnitten. So setzte sich - im Westen übrigens gegen Modelle der Besatzungsmächte - das selektive dreigliedrige Schulsystem der Weimarer Zeit mehr oder weniger fort. In ihm herrschte und herrscht ein auf Vergleichbarkeit und Abprüfbarkeit abgekürzter Lern- und Leistungsbegriff, bestimmt die Selektion mehr als die Förderung den Lehrplan. Und auch bei der Wiedervereinigung Deutschlands 1990 wurden die westdeutschen Schulstrukturen und die Schulideologie von den neuen Bundesländern weitestgehend übernommen. Die positive wirtschaftliche Entwicklung Westdeutschlands hatte ihm bis dahin Recht gegeben: trotz gesellschaftspolitischer Diskussionen, zum Beispiel über die Chancengleichheit, und trotz neuer Modelle, wie zum Beispiel die Einführung von Gesamtschulen.
Das hat sich inzwischen geändert. Die staatliche Bildung ist krisengeschüttelt. Nicht erst seit PISA. Schon seit den 80er Jahren wurde in der internationalen Bildungsforschung und -diskussion ein Auge auf den Zusammenhang zwischen Wirtschaftsentwicklung, Zukunftsfähigkeit, nachhaltige Entwicklung, gesellschaftliche Teilnahmechancen und Bildung geworfen. Diese Diskussion führt bei allen Unterschieden zu drei wichtigen Erkenntnissen, die auf eine Veränderung von Schule drängen:
Die Ausgangsfrage der Bildungsstudien seit den 80er Jahren heißt: "Was ist zukunftsfähige Bildung?" Eine schwierige Frage, denn vorauszusagen, was wird, um daran zu bestimmen, was sein soll und was man dafür braucht, wird ein immer schwierigeres Unterfangen. Der Wert von Wissen und Erfahrung verfällt immer schneller und Komplexität und Kompliziertheit nehmen zu. Der Bestimmung von Bildungsinhalten und -formen als "Kanon" folgt daher die Formulierung von notwendigen Kompetenzen als "Output" von Bildung. Kompetenzen werden definiert als Konglomerat aus Wissen, Können, Einstellungen, Fähigkeiten, als ein offenes Vermögen, auf künftige Anforderungen intelligent reagieren zu können. Sie verlangen offene, interaktive Lernformen und flexible Inhalte. Und Demokratiekompetenz gehört auch dazu.
Spätestens seit den 80er Jahren spüren wir deutlich in allen Lebensbereichen, dass sich unsere Gesellschaft ausdifferenziert, dass lange unangefochtene gesellschaftliche Konsensvorstellungen, Sozialmilieus und dazu gehörige Kulturen sich auflösen bzw. vermischen, dass sich Lebens- wie Gesellschaftsentwürfe individualisieren. Im Schulalltag spiegeln sich diese Veränderungen für viele negativ als Störungen des bisherigen Betriebes: klassische Unterrichtsstörungen, raue Umgangsformen zwischen Schülern und Lehrkräften, Gewalt unter den Schülern oder Schule schwänzen sind solche Phänomene. Lehrer und Lehrerinnen sind keine Respektspersonen mehr, weder für Schüler und Schülerinnen, noch für viele Eltern. Noten werden angefochten, Aufgaben nur nach Diskussionen mit Widerwillen erfüllt und gegenseitige Rücksichtnahme wird unter den Schülern immer mehr zu einer Seltenheit. Die meisten Schulen verbuchen diese Phänomene unter "Disziplinverlust", fordern mehr Zugriff auf Eltern und deren Verantwortung sowie mehr Strafen im Schulalltag. Andere haben erkannt, dass hier im Zuge einer Liberalisierung von Tradition und Werten ein neuer Regelungsbedarf auf der Tagesordnung steht. Sie streben daher Verhandlungen und Vereinbarungen für das Zusammenleben an, die partnerschaftlich zwischen Lehrkräften, Eltern und Schülern ausgehandelt werden.
Das führt mich zur dritten Veränderung, die ebenfalls die Schule betrifft: Der individuelle, gesellschaftliche und politische Regelungsbedarf wächst, ohne dass eindeutig gesagt werden könnte, wer die Kompetenz zur Problemlösung besitzt. Die der etablierten Politik nimmt ab zugunsten der Forderung nach einer Erweiterung der Entscheidungsbasis und nach "echter Beteiligung" gesellschaftlicher Gruppen. "Top Down"-Entscheidungen verlieren immer mehr die Legitimation. Denn wo die Komplexität der Entscheidungen steigt, kann nicht ein einzelnes Machtwort von oben Klarheit schaffen. Wo Diversifizierung um sich greift, kann nur ein gemeinsames Aushandeln das Zusammenspiel regeln.
Diese Entwicklung spiegelt sich in Forderungen nach Partizipation von Kindern und Jugendlichen, wie sie prototypisch in der Agenda 21 oder in der Kinderrechtskonvention der Vereinten Nationen formuliert sind. Die Kinderrechtskonvention fordert unter anderem eine demokratische Schule. Artikel 12 der Kinderrechte besagt nicht nur, dass Kinder das Recht haben sich selbst einzubringen, sondern, dass diesem - auch in der Schule - entsprechende Bedeutung und Gewicht beigemessen werden soll. Hier sollen auch die notwendigen Beteiligungskompetenzen vermittelt werden. Schule soll Schülerinnen und Schülern Respekt und den Wert von Demokratie vermitteln und interaktive Lernprozesse sollen die Selbstbestimmung fördern.
Auf europäischer Ebene spiegelt sich diese Überzeugung im so genannten Weißbuchprozess, in dem Jugendliche in Europa ihre Forderungen an die europäische Jugendpolitik gestellt haben (und nach denen sich diese tatsächlich in der Folge ausrichtet). Oder in einem Beschluss des europäischen Jugendministers, der staatsbürgerliches Engagement von Jugendlichen, eine stärkere Einbeziehung der Jugendlichen in das System der repräsentativen Demokratie und verschiedene Formen des Erwerbs von Partizipationskompetenz fordert.
Und gerade bekräftigte der Europarat bei seinem letzten Gipfeltreffen im "Europäischen Jahr der Demokratieerziehung" die aktive Teilhabe der Jugendlichen als Angelpunkt wirksamer Demokratie. Der Europarat will die Bemühungen verstärken, Jugendliche in die Lage zu versetzen, aktiv an demokratischen Abläufen teilzunehmen und die Jugendperspektive in alle Tätigkeiten des Europarates einfließen zu lassen. Zuvor hatten Schülerinnen und Schüler unter dem Dach des Europarates eine "Europäische Charta für eine demokratische Schule ohne Gewalt" verfasst.
Spüren wir etwas von diesen Entwicklungen in unseren Schulen? Oh ja! Denn wir können einerseits nach dem PISA-Schock eine konservative Tendenz feststellen: den Ruf nach Leistung und Standardisierung. Andererseits aber sind sich viele Schulen und Experten für Schulentwicklung - dazu zählen auch viele Bürokraten in der Schulverwaltung und in den Ministerien - über die Notwendigkeit und in den Eckpunkten sowie Instrumenten für eine innere Schulreform einig. Und Vieles davon wird Schritt für Schritt in unseren Regelschulen umgesetzt. Ich nenne nur einige Punkte:
Das alles setzt auf demokratische Tugenden, auf Toleranz, Respekt und Solidarität aller Beteiligten, lebt und erzeugt Kommunikations- und Organisationsfähigkeiten, Selbstbewusstsein und Zivilcourage. Diese innere Schulreform der Demokratisierung lebt nicht nur von der Einführung demokratischer Instrumente und Strukturen, sondern vor allem von einer Kultur der Anerkennung. Denn "Demokratische Schulen" wie "Schulen der Demokratie" brauchen mehr als Mitbestimmungs- und Mitwirkungsgesetze für die Schule. Sie brauchen eine neue Schulkultur und einen "Traum von Schule". Unter diesem Motto, das mir gut gefällt, sucht die Evangelische Grundschule Potsdam in einer "Gemeinsinn-Werkstatt" auf allen Ebenen der Schule und in deren Umfeld nach neuen Wegen des aktiven Zusammenlebens.
Und sie brauchen Unterstützung, Ermutigung und den Blick über den Tellerrand. Die Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung beteiligt sich daher gern an der Weltkonferenz Demokratischer Schulen. Sie nimmt Erfahrungen und Erkenntnisse mit, um die oben beschriebenen Entwicklungen in Deutschland weiter zu stärken. Ich wünsche Ihnen, den Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmern dieser Veranstaltung, daher viele neue und interessante Erkenntnisse. Vor allem aber wünsche ich uns allen viel Mut und Optimismus, "einen Traum von Schule" zu realisieren.
- Es gilt das gesprochene Wort -
We look forward to your advice and enquiries. You can either use the following form, or write directly to the email address below.
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IDEC 2005 logo in different formats
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IDEC 2005 flyer
|PDF - third version - English|
|PDF - third version - German|
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IDEC 2005 web-banner
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Reader of the website
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IDEC 2006 in Australia:
IDEC 2004 in India
The IDEC movement has strong roots in Israel, England, Japan and the USA:
Sudbury Valley School in Massachusetts, USA, has been running for 35 years and other schools call themselves Sudbury Schools because they follow this model:
The websites of the Berlin hosts: