[Answered] What do you understand by democratic education? Discuss various advantages of democratic education.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Define democratic education.
Body. Write various benefits of democratic education.
Conclusion. Way forward.

An education which prepares young people for active participation in democratic society is a critical element of any education system, and is reflected best in curriculum. It reflects a deep understanding of the global economy and society in which young people from all walks of life participate.

Democratic education is an educational ideal in which democracy is both a goal and a method of instruction. It brings democratic values to education and can include self-determination within a community of equals, as well as such values as justice, respect and trust. Democratic education is often specifically emancipatory, with the students’ voices being equal to the teacher’s.

Various advantages of democratic education:

  1. Non-authoritarian education system- Democratic education means the system where children are free to move around. They can go out, sit wherever they want. And you don’t see the teacher all the time around them. There will be authority but it won’t be authoritarian. And of course there has to be respect. The teacher will be there to guide, but is not the centre of the learning process. The children are. They can work individually or in small groups. There is no one way of sitting. The children cannot be viewed as consumers, an empty pot that the teacher has to fill.
  2. Freedom– To prepare for democratic citizenship, students must learn to exercise their rights and understand their responsibilities. Choice, the ability to have autonomy in the direction of one’s own educational path, and Control, the ability to decide how to approach major educational needs, are the two main principles of democratic education. Students are given choice and control over their own educational careers. Students are be allowed to choose an area of study, and the entire educational plan revolve around that subject area. Students are provided opportunities to express personal opinions, make meaningful choices, and solve problems together in ways that reflect democratic processes inherent to society. In the American system, for example, democratic schools support Supreme Court guidelines for student rights.
  3. Active Involvement- Democratic Education views students as active participants in the process of their learning. It takes into account their views, treats each pupil as an individual who has their own skills and interests, and allows them to follow the path they want to pursue. It is not limited to a class lecture, an extracurricular activity, or even to the school grounds. It requires students to learn civic participation skills in critical thinking, constructive debate, problem solving, collaboration, and working in groups. These skills must be reinforced through meaningful practice: community service projects, integrated service learning, participation in student government and student courts, and involvement in school and community decision making.
  4. Holistic learning- We live in an increasingly global society, one in which a nation’s progress depends on understanding the world beyond its borders. Democratic education provides opportunities for students to learn about and understand other cultures and to develop a commitment to protecting the inalienable rights of all. It extends students’ perspectives on rights and responsibilities to consider those of others as well as their own.
  5. Equality- Democratic education is education in which teachers and learners work together as equals. Democratic Education is based on respect, tolerance and care. Democratic education stems from a free and expressive dialogue with no rules, no conventions, just honesty and trust.
  6. Better Citizens- Students learn to communicate as a thoughtful citizens by discussing school and community issues, as well as political topics, including current events and controversies. They involve in debates, constructive discourse and accept dissent in a democratic way. It requires free and thoughtful exchange; a democratic education provides a forum for all its stakeholders—students, parents, faculty, staff, and administrators—to think critically, listen actively, and express personal convictions.
  7. Decision Making- Students in a way get trained for better decision making and make decisions that suit them. Class schedules are open for debate and vote so that all students in the class feel as if they have had a voice in the decision-making process of day-to-day educational tasks. Democratic education provide the student with real power to make decisions for the school in areas such as educational planning and programs to be offered.
  8. Sense of ownership- The most important benefit of democratic education is student ownership of their education. When people own their choices, they are more engaged in making those choices work to their own benefit and good. When a choice is pushed on a person without consent, the person does not have a sense of ownership, and thus, does not always feel compelled to work to make the situation a success.

We are stuck in what we call the traditional system of education for the last 200 years and we are not able to come out of it. It requires the cultivation of democratic virtues to achieve a true democratic system. For example, the ability to imagine and articulate a minimally common good requires ability to distinguish what is merely good for me from what is the good of all. The democratic education recognise this.

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