English | Deutsch | Español | Français



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.

What's Tokyo Shure and Shure University

Kageki Asakura

Students & staff of Tokyo Shure and Shure University will tell you What's Tokyo Shure & Shure University with video and their talk.

Windsor House School: What really matters

Meghan Carrico, Canada

Windsor House School, over 30 years old, is an unusual democratic school in that parents are equal members of the school community, and it is 100% funded by the Ministry of Education. In spite of some recent minor compromises, the school has remained true to its ideals

Learning is life

Anke Caspar-Jürgens, Germany

An overview of the history of the German education system and its present state demonstrates the need for a new paradigm. In Germany there are examples of a movement from institutional tutelage towards individual responsibility.

Compulsory attendance or individualisation? Paths towards change.

Anke Caspar-Jürgens, Germany

How far can an individualisation of education enable sustainable solutions to the problems of our society? Reflections of the BVNL (Bundesverband Natürlich Lernen e.V.) on school reform in Germany.

Arduous freedom - a free school in Germany

Henrik Ebenbeck, Germany

Leipzig Free School has been going its own way for fifteen years and is turning more and more into a school where children decide what, how and when they learn, without copying any other school model.

What is a good question?

Henrik Ebenbeck, Germany

Learning starts with questions, but many schools systematically eliminate children's natural curiosity. Free schools should lay particular emphasis on developing a culture of questioning. How do questions arise, how should we handle them, what is a good question?

Rethinking "Democratic Education"

Yoad Eliaz, Israel

This lecture will put forward a critical view of free schools, which fight against traditional schools instead of fighting for social justice, have no curriculum, abandon young people to the dominant ideologies of their society and promote forgetfulness, ignorance and illiteracy.

Special Needs in Democratic Education/ Schools

Jocelyn Farr, England

Jocelyn Farr will describe his experiences as a dyslexic within the state system and at Sands School, as an introduction to a discussion on the ways different places deal with special needs such as dyslexia and ADHD.

Sensations, emotions and desires at the free school.

Heike Freire, Spain

Children are not only brains but also hearts (as A.S. Neill said), not only intelligences, reasoning and memory but also sensations, emotions and desires. How can we, in our narrow, repressive world, develop a new culture and language to deal with this?

Restorative Justice at Village School

Olivia Frey, USA

Village School folks will explain and demonstrate Restorative Justice, an approach to behaviour problems that emphasises making amends for harm done, and restoring wholeness to the community. Peer mediation, circles and ad hoc discipline committee will also be explained.

Telling students from conventional Swiss schools about democratic education.

Luca Froelicher, Switzerland

The USO began telling students from conventional schools about democratic education two years ago. We will describe our experiences to lead into a discussion about the best ways of telling school students about democratic education.

About Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti

Freya Galetzka, New Zealand

This is a computer presentation in German and English designed by Freya, who is thirteen years old. After the presentation there will be time for questions and discussion.

Horizontal learning

Ramón García Dils

Every human being is different, and such a difference is a source of new knowledge. We don't need any person to tell us what we have to do, but other people to share with us the pleasure to learn what we are. We don`t need educators and pupils, we are all learning at any time, continously broadening our nature, as a flower of a million colors that expect to be discovered. Our learning spaces need to be more open and freer, without authority, to let us walk toward an existence of harmony, wisdom, and freedom. In order to do so, we must use techniques of horizontal learning. We will discuss the characteristics of this type of learning

Are there any absolutes?

Juli Gassner, New Zealand

Are there any areas of learning that all learners, everywhere must do in order to live successful lives? Two examples will open the workshop dialogue - emotional intelligence and literacy.

Rigour in democratic schools

Juli Gassner, New Zealand

Should students be obliged to work outside their comfort zones, to try subjects that they don't like to start with, but will later be glad to have studied?

Democratic Schools - a short introduction

Henning Graner, Germany

There are many different democratic schools with differing approaches. It is not easy to understand what the essential elements are. What makes a school democratic? What makes democratic schools different from other alternative schools?

Sudbury Schools

Henning Graner, Germany

Sudbury Valley School was founded in Framingham, Massachussetts (USA) in 1968. About thirty schools around the world follow this model and call themselves "Sudbury Schools". This video is of interviews with pupils, ex-pupils and staff.

Rules and punishments: are they really necessary?

David Gribble, England

David Gribble will make a few introductory remarks and then leave the discussion to the people present. The more young people in the group the better.

My apprenticeship in education

David Gribble, England

Virginia Woolf wrote, "At any rate, when a subject is highly controversial . . . one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold." David Gribble follows this principle.

A comparison of traditional and democratic schools.

David Gribble, England

David Gribble's next book, due out in the autumn, includes extracts from official internet pages and prospectuses of traditional and democratic schools, which clearly bring out the differences in relation to size, facilities, exam results, social structure and values. This lecture presents these findings.

Do we lose our ideals and get stuck in our ways as we get older?

David Gribble


What influence can we have on traditional education?

Derry Hannam, England

In England schools are being encouraged to become both more democratic and less democratic. How can we help to resolve this situation and what role can schools like Sands and Summerhill play? Is there a similar situation in other countries?

Student unions and democratic education

Derry Hannam, England

Derry and representatives of national school student organisations in Europe and the federating organisation OBESSU will discuss their commitment to developing democratic education in their countries.

Can a democratic school be politically neutral? (Experiences of Orange Revolution in Ukraine as an example )

Lyudmyla Hararuk

Is the democratic school an active participant or just passive observer if it goes about drastical changes in the society? Can children or their parents choose to take part or not in the rallies, protests etc. Is active citizenship important for the democratic school? Do the teachers have the right to influence students in their political choices?

Effective ways for democratic schools to collaborate.

Lyudmyla Hararuk

Only together we should think about of effective ways of collaboration. But not only think and discuss, but brainstorm an action plan and launch various joint projects for the students and teachers from different cultures to know each other better, to learn about similarities and uniqueness.

Fun of intercultural communication

Lyudmyla Hararuk


The legal capacity of the Sudbury School model in Germany

Uwe Hartung, Germany

How can officials be persuaded to accept a school where the achievement of their announced objectives is ensured, not by means of timetables and curriculums, not through high qualification requirements for staff, but by the motivation of the students themselves?

Founding the Halle-Leipzig Sudbury School

Uwe Hartung, Germany

The Leipzig-Halle Sudbury School will open in August. How can a school so remote from any official approval be starting in a German city? How can there already be more than 40 students enrolled? What about the finances? These and other questions will be answered.

Eröffnungsfeier der Sudbury-Schule Halle-Leipzig

Uwe Hartung, Deutschland

Der 01.08.2005 ist der kalendarische Beginn des Schuljahres 2005/2006 im Freistaat Sachsen und somit Beginn des ersten Schuljahres der Sudbury-Schule Halle-Leipzig. Ein zukünftiger Mitarbeiter und zwei Schüler der neuen Schule werden eine symbolische Feierstunde abhalten. Wir freuen uns auf eure Teilnahme, eure Geschenke und Glückwünsche.

How to build an Institute for Democratic Education in your country

Yaacov Hecht, Israel

An Institute for Democratic Education is the central tool for promoting Democratic Education at the regional and the national level. Why should you and how can you build an Institute for Democratic Education in your country?

Democratic Schools - the educational answer to the 21st century

Yaacov Hecht

What are the reasons for the main crises that the education system is facing? Why is the solution not more of what has failed? What are the new solutions that democratic education offers? What is the difference between democratic education today and free education in the sixties?

Pluralistic Learning - From Theory to Practice

Yaacov Hecht, Israel

Pluralistic learning is learning that acknowledges the equal right of every individual to express his or her uniqueness regarding goals and ways of learning,

Cities run by - Democratic Education principle.

Yaacov Hecht, Israel

Das Institut für Demokratische Bildung in Israel erarbeitet ein Programm zur Verbesserung des Schulsystems. Durch die Verknüpfung mit vielen Bereichen der Gesellschaft können Schüler an Orten des alltäglichen Lebens lernen und sich ihren persönlichen Interessen widmen. Institute für Demokratische Bildung gibt es inzwischen in neun Städten Israels

"The Big Dance"

Yaacov Hecht

Continuation to the lasts IDEC's activities to establish "The internationally teacher training programme for Democratic education".

Flow experiences: the key to motivation and success in learning

Dr. Gerhard Huhn, Germany

Prof. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's concept of flow is the key to a deeper understanding of intrinsic motivation, the necessity of challenges and the use of talents. Joy and happiness should be a guideline for any kind of learning process.

How to reach a state of flow on a more or less regular basis?

Dr. Gerhard Huhn, Germany

A demonstration of some of the practical steps to transfer the flow concept into a daily reality.

Education for Non-Violence

Ghada Issa

How we do that at Hope Flower School in Palestine

Juggling workshop

Sara Jenensch

A workshop where you can learn to juggle with balls, rings, clubs, diabolo and devil stick. You can also make these balls, rings and pois by yourself.

Emotional wellbeing and child-centred learning at Tamariki School.

Paul Allen Jenkins, New Zealand

The enhancement of emotional wellbeing is paramount, and is supported by our system of two types of meetings. Much of our learning is through activities directed by children. At the same time we have to satisfy education authorities that we are covering the curriculum.

Human rights aspects in Free Education

Matthias Kern


Equal rights for children and adults

Karen Kern, Josias Kern, Gabi Kirchner

Breaking out of the hierarchical structures of society leads to new challenges in the common life of young and old. Established roles keep determining the relationships and require attention and clarity regarding: responsibility, freedom, sovereignty and trust.

When will they start to learn? The many faces of self-directed learning

Karen Kern, Germany

If you trust in the natural human ability to learn you will discover a rich world of thought, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and young people's intense efforts to overcome problems, so they can take responsibility for their own learning and their own lives.

Why there will never be equal rights for students and staff in schools!

Malchus Kern, Germany

Students and teachers can never be on an equal footing in schools. What are the alternatives to school?

Internalisation of democratic values in educational institutions in India

Kulbhushan Kushal and Harbans Kaila, India

Indian education must move on from structured external trappings of democracy to earnest internalisation of democratic principles. The emphasis should shift from institution to individual, from perception to subscription and from acceptance to inquiry.

Lumiar International School - between public and private schools

Lilian L'Abbate Kelian and Maíra Landulpho Alves Lopes, Brazil

At Lumiar International School social diversity is an important principle. It is bad for students to socialise only with those who can pay exorbitant fees. We are a non-profit organization, where children from different backgrounds study together and tuition is paid according to their means.

Democratic schools in Denmark

Niels Lawaetz, Denmark

In the past Denmark has been proud of its school system, but this is changing. The results in international tests have not been good. The political solution is more control, but is it not rather the lack of democracy that leads to bad results and children with no self-discipline?

Can traditional U.S. urban public schools be democratic?

John Loflin, USA

Participants will learn about the DEC - an independent group dedicated to promoting democratic practices in education. They have devised a procedure for shared governance in schools, a forum for public voice and other practices.

Who is Homo curaos?

John Loflin, USA

Sorry. Participants will have to wait until they show up at the workshop to find out what this is all about. But aren't you curious?

History of the IDEC

Aleksandra Majstorac-Kobiljski


The effect of happiness on learning.

Caroline Malcolm, France

Caroline Malcolm will describe the experience of the Model School for the application of the KPM Approach to Children, where trust is the key. Happiness leads to security, confidence, curiosity, care for others and good learning.

Community dance - what does it mean?

Royston Maldoom, England

This question will be answered through a practical workshop demonstration, lecture and video presentation and open forum. Royston Maldoom's work is based on the conviction that the ghettoisation of education is a serious impediment to the development of a healthy society.

Summerhill and Sudbury Valley - a discussion

Mikel Matisoo, Zoe Readhead

Panneldiscussion with Zoe Readhead, the director of Summerhill School, England and Mikel Matisoo, staff at Sudbury Valley School, USA.

Freedom, Self-Determination and Democracy

Mikel Matisoo, USA

They're not the same, but most of us would agree that these concepts are often found in each other's company. How do they relate to each other and how do they relate to "Democratic Education"?

Hanging Out with Bad Company? Kids, Television, Video Games and Freedom

Mikel Matisoo, USA

Kids should be free to pursue their own interests! All of their interests? What if they just want to play video games? What about television? To what extent do kids need protection from these electronic seductions?

Learning in the Information Age: Breaking Free of the Industrial Model

Mikel Matisoo, USA

To what extent are our assumptions about "school" leftovers from a system for turning farm kids into factory workers? As we move into the Information Age, how are kids going to learn what they need to know? Will they use "schools" and, if so, what will they look like?

Introducing democracy to non-democratic environments

Jerry Mintz, USA

As director of the Alternative Education Resource Organization Jerry has traveled far and wide, introducing democratic process to a variety of environments. He will talk about his experiences of introducing democratic process to such places as The First New Schools Festival in the Former Soviet Union in 1991, charter schools in the USA, a table tennis club that is part of an authoritarian Boys and Girls Club, the Naleb School in Guatemala, the organizing group of Brooklyn Free School, etc. How does one approach the introduction of democratic process in such a variety of situations so that it is understood and can continue?


Pat Montgomery, USA

Vision is a truly democratic public school in Colorado. It took a seasoned, imaginative superintendent, a visionary alternative school teacher, and the community of several small school districts in the Rockies to create it. This is its story, from conception to reality.

Democratic Schools in the new EU countries, central and eastern Europe

Jakub Mozejko, Poland

To start with a few schools will introduce themselves. Key points for the ensuing discussion will be the reasons for the appearance of democratic schools, the rights they have, their relationship with the state system, finance, the dangers of commercialisation, etc.

Can children or young people be guides for documenta 12?

Ruth Noack, Austria

This year, high school students guided adults through an exhibition of highly complex contemporary art at Secession, Vienna. We hope to use this idea again for a larger exhibition, documenta 12, which will have more than 600 000 visitors. Will this be possible?

Teachers with a democratic approach in mainstream schools

Tim Perkins, Australia

Tim Perkins was about to give up teaching at the age of 33 because he could not work as he wanted to. Then he found Currambeena. After two years there, followed by the IDEC in Albany, he saw that he could do more to change education if he went back into a mainstream school.

The state and religion in the context of democratic education at Shikshayatan

Nirupama Raghavan, India

Shikshayatan works with the rural poor. Students are often the first generation to be literate. Religion is a dominant influence. State regulations are a hindrance. Students will describe the situation and open discussion about how they benefit and what the problems are.

Summerhill - a school, family and tribe.

Zoë Readhead, England

Zoë will answer questions about the most famous democratic school in the world. She draws attention to the fact that Summerhill is a live-in community, which is probably one of the interesting topics as it makes it very different from other 'free' schools.

Conflict resolution in free/democratic schools

Leslie Rook, Germany

Can judicial systems, if overused, inhibit the development of effective, non-violent conflict resolution? Should teachers be model communicators? How valuable are judicial systems, student mediators or student judges and the use of "stop" rules?

(Wozu)Brauchen wir eigentlich die Schrift? "All you need is writing/reading?"

Ullrich Sachse

Platon und der Inder Jinan aus Nilambur diskutieren die Vorzüge von schriftloser Kultur bzw. entwickeln ein Konzept von De-Textualisierung,. Hierzu wollen Stellung beziehen, verschiedene Positionen diskutieren und entsprechende Übungen (z.B. Gedächtnis) ausdenken.

Self-directed education: the perspective of a student at a Sudbury school.

Michael Sappir, Israel

The session will start with a short lecture from Michael Sappir, followed by a question-and-answer session with students from different Sudbury schools.

Ensuring human rights are central to democratic education

Ben Sheppard, Claire Greatorex, Australia

In spite of United Nations Conventions and Treaties, many countries still deny the human rights of young people. The Booroobin Sudbury School is suffering from such a denial. Participants will be encouraged to seek support in their own countries and from the United Nations.

The Booroobin Sudbury Democratic Centre of Learning - an update and plans for the future

Ben Sheppard and Claire Greatorex, Australia

Booroobin's principles and achievements are outlined, and the question posed - why does the Queensland State Labor Government want to destroy a democratic school, built up by parents, young people, teachers, and friends, in which it has no financial interest?

Intrinsic motivation in practice

Anjo Snijders, The Netherlands

What happens when a school chooses to work only on intrinsic motivation? What do you see and what are the results? A model has been designed to answer these questions, based on the experiences at "De Ruimte" in Soest.

Intrinsic motivation and higher education

Anjo Snijders, The Netherlands

In September 2004 the first pilot for intrinsically motivated teacher-training started at HES/OCT in Hengelo, The Netherlands. A year later the decision was taken to continue, building on the success of the pilot. What were the visions behind it and what happened?

Pluralistic Learning

Laura Stine


B(S)ad-History short travel

Ron Tamerin

Travel to Berlin and maybe surrounding, after the bad and sad history of the last century

Hide and Seek in the dark woods

Ron Tamerin

An alternative version of Hide and Seek, outside in the woods, at night

Unwritten fairy tales and/or stories

Ron Tamerin

Story telling in a group, every participate creates a new part of the story

Facilitating the Happiness of the Learner by Encouraging and Modeling Global Citizenship, Responsibility, and Service to Humanity

Gail E. Thomas


Japanese Education and Democratic Schools

Tokyo Shure

Since middle of 1980's, the number of democratic schools have increased. We conducted survey about democratic schools in Japan. We made four kinds of ansering sheets for students, parents, staff members and directors. We will report the result of this survey and introduce some practices of our network.

Enjoy Japanese Culture

Tokyo Shure

SONY and Toyoa are just a part of things from Japan. Japanese children love not only video game but also various traditional crafts and play. We also intoduce tea celemony for the biginners. Why don't you experience Japanese traditional culture. You will enjoy origami, calligraphy, and so on.

Drama : "The light in gray"

Tokyo Shure

This drama describes deep difficulties and the possibility of young people living in Japan. The graduate of a democratic school wrote words and directs. She is a student of Shure University now. This performance is the conbination of the move and the pictures drawn by performers and words. The text in English and German is distributed at the performance.

Film Show "MY BONE"

Tokyo Shure

Bone is inside of body. It exsist at the core of human body. What is your bone? The six democratic university students edited six films. The total time is 60 minutes. Some are fiction ones, the other are documentary ones. One of them is the video which was taken during one month crossing Eurasian continent train trip by democratic school students. We may be able to show the works of another Russian democratic school, Moscow International Film School.

How to create a democratic school environment.

Alexander Tubelsky, Russia

Does school democracy have an influence upon educational quality? How important is democracy in lessons, in management, in school rules? What about educational standards and the curriculum? How can you create a democratic school in a country with a dawning democracy?

Democratic teaching

Alexander Tubelsky, Russia

When a lesson is entirely under the teacher's power it is not democratic. Students must participate in decisions on targets, plans and evaluation, and in the lessons themselves. 2-3 teachers can work together to cope with different children's choices and levels of attainment.

Children, teachers and school management

Alexander Tubelsky, Russia

How are school councils elected? What they may decide? Can principals override their decisions? What contradictions arise? How can children of different ages work together? Do you need school laws? Do special events help to create a successful atmosphere?

Erste Freie Schule Berlin

Oskar Vogt


Learning in Freedom

Martin Wilke, Germany

Until now only a small minority young people have attended democratic schools.What would a comprehensive democratic education system be like? Would traditional schools still have a role to play? How could children decide whether to go to school, and if so, which school to go to?

A critique of the principle of consensus

Martin Wilke, Germany

The principle of consensus, by which every decision must be unanimous, is seen by many people as a particularly democratic way of reaching decisions. This presentation will show important weaknesses of this principle when compared with decision-making made by a majority.

More democratic ways of arriving at decisions by voting

Martin Wilke, Germany

In elections candidates can win with only a minority of the votes. In other situations it may be only a matter of voting yes or no. There are better ways of representing the opinions of a whole group, for instance voting for several preferences or the Condorcet method.

What chance is there of developing democracy in traditional state schools?

Frank Winter, Germany

The marking system in German schools bolsters the power of teachers over learners and sabotages every democratic development. What political use can be made of the experience of truly democratic schools in order to get rid of it and make democratisation possible?

Democratic Schools
- a film about the desire to learn

Demokratische Schulen
- Ein Film über die Lust zu lernen
Resolution der
IDEC 2005

IDEC 2005 Resolution
Unterstützen Sie uns!
Support us!
print up