Democratic Education: An Innovative Teaching Model

Democratic education requires active participation by all involved. It's a widely discussed and debated model. Learn more.
Democratic Education: An Innovative Teaching Model

Last update: 07 March, 2022

Bringing democracy to all the basic aspects of life is one of the strengths a nation must work on. Undoubtedly, the elimination of social, labor, institutional, and even educational differences would be guaranteed, encouraging the development of values. Find out how democratic education is gaining more and more ground in the world and why it continues to be a topic of broad discussion.

What is democratic education?

Democratic education is known as that model and idea of teaching that’s given to everyone equally. Other definitions provide the notion that it’s an innovative teaching method based on democracy as a plan of instruction.

It’s characterized by trying to include values such as justice, equity, trust, respect, and self-determination in those who learn from it.

Characteristics of democratic education

Democratic education is presented as a new approach in the way of conceiving school and its structure. Based on respect for children, adolescents, and young people, it has the following characteristics:

  • Active participation of all the elements that make up educational systems: Teachers, community, students, representatives, and administrative staff.
  • The exchange of ideas among students is encouraged so that they can present their interests. The teacher serves as a facilitator of knowledge and guide when there’s a lack of understanding.
  • Democratic education encourages young people to take responsibility for their own education.
  • It gets rid of evaluations, as it doesn’t focus on qualifying the student but on determining achievement.
  • This teaching method is usually offered in small spaces with few members. It can be in open spaces such as parks, patios, buildings, streets, or rural areas.

For many, it’s an innovative model that strengthens children’s autonomy and self-knowledge and increases their self-confidence. However, this completely non-traditional approach has been the subject of debate.

This is due to the fact that many argue about the maturity that’s required of children who, due to their age, is impossible to demand.

The democratic school is a new model of learning.

The objectives of democratic education

For John Dewey, a defender of this system, the goals of democratic education are to foster personal interest and beneficial social habits. However, over time, these objectives have focused on the following precepts:

  • Stimulating students’ personal interest in social relationships and helping them overcome various inconveniences.
  • Maintaining social control.
  • Learning to develop essential abilities and skills to reach agreements through procedures that guarantee and maintain respect for others.

Undoubtedly, they’re systems that defend equality and social participation.

“Democratic education is characterized by trying to include values such as justice, equity, trust, respect, and self-determination in those who learn from it”

The benefits of democratic education

Education models based on democracy provide great benefits regarding values. This helps children and youth to show empathy and be generous with other people.

Among other benefits of democratic education, we can include that:

  • It teaches students to be satisfied with themselves, thus strengthening their self-esteem.
  • It stimulates the development of perseverance as a measure of learning and the construction of individual identity.
  • Democratic education allows individuals to express their feelings and interests, which will help channel negative attitudes typical of their age.
  • Being accepted, children act for themselves and develop other types of values, such as sincerity.
  • It contributes to the development of a sense of responsibility in decision-making.
Democratic education proposes an approach focused on the expression of all parties.

The disadvantages of democratic education

Although it has great advantages and benefits, democratic education is also characterized by some negative aspects. Among them are the following:

  • It’s a model that’s widely criticized by some teachers who defend more traditional techniques. This makes it impossible for them to be completely accepted by the participants that make up the educational systems.
  • In the case of teachers, more work is required with the same payment systems.
  • There may be manipulation of the ideals of each individual and lead them to think in whatever way the person who teaches them wishes.

In conclusion, democratic education is a teaching model based on equality and social participation. Maintaining it over time is one of the challenges faced by its advocates due to the complex debates that this method provokes.

Time and debate will allow us to observe its outcome as an alternative to the current system.

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