Modern management that aspires to create a pro innovative corporate culture must give place to a bottom-up approach in which the decision making arise from employees joint involvement.
For such an approach to be practical, employees should be characterized by responsibility, independent thinking and ambition. If we adopt this approach in the macro level, a modern education system should develop graduates with these features.
Democratic education imparts the learning process with these fundamental values of our society. It sees young people not as passive receivers of knowledge, but rather as active co-creators of their own learning. They are not the products of an education system, but rather valued participants in a vibrant learning community.
Democratic education begins with the idea that everyone is unique, so each of us learns in a different way. By supporting the individual development of each young person within a caring community, democratic education assists young people learn about themselves, engage with the world around them, and become positive and contributing participants of society.
Studies show that educational environments engaging young people as active members in their own learning are linked with higher student attendance and student achievement, greater creativity and conceptual learning, and increased fundamental motivation and determination in learning. Moreover, recent brain and cognitive research points to the value of the democratic education learning environment, including key elements such as collaborative projects, age mixing, learning through active experiences, and the importance of a caring community. (Bennis. D. IDEA)
Democratic schools emphasize the student’s right to influence and to be part of the decision-making process. The students are taking part in the school’s “parliament” where they define rules and regulations; they learn to assume responsibility and to influence, they receive more freedom to choose their subjects and to decide their education methods. This approach would develop creativity, independency and responsibility.
Nowadays, there are over 200 schools offering democratic education in more than 30 countries, working with over 40,000 students, most of them in the U.S and Israel . But this approach could also be adopted partially by introducing democratic education into the traditional education system, in fact, traditional schools are constantly being influenced by the democratic approach and some education systems around the world could be characterized as a mix.
The output of this educational approach could be the development of a new age human capital, employees who can think “out of the box”, be better trusted, easier managed, with less rules and regulations and wider space for innovation and breakthrough decision making. These features among employees are better adequate to a fast-changing environment with high demanding customers who expect personal solution for every problem. Moreover, it is common that another outcome of democratic education will be the abundance of potential entrepreneurs who could drive the economy forward producing innovative small and medium enterprises, which are an engine for economic growth and development.
Liron Goldstein, #1857
IDEA – Institute for democratic education in America:
IDEN – International democratic schools: