If you are interested in this talk, please send me an email or message me on Facebook. Just putting this out here for anyone who might want to join. This is still next year (around July – August) but one can’t start too early on these type of events.
A Seminar-Workshop on Self-Directed Education
For purposes of this introduction, the terms self-directed education and democratic education are used interchangeably. In the Philippine setting, the term self-directed learning is more acceptable and attractive because the word “democracy” is too political, even corrupted to an extent. The word does not connote the sense of empowerment that it should. On the other hand, self-directed is a neutral term which conveys the meaning clearly and cannot be confused with anything else.
The term self-directed education (SDE) refers to the concept and practice of children and adolescents being-in-charge of their own education. In other words, they are acquiring knowledge, values, and skills that are conducive to a satisfying and meaningful life through activities of their own choosing.
Such activities need not include any formal schooling, curriculum, or textbooks. Often the activity of self-directed learners is more aptly described as play. In fact, much of the power of SDE comes from the innate drive to play, which nature and evolution have selected as the most efficient way for animals (especially mammals) to learn and develop their capacities.
When children are not being directed by others, their natural curiosity leads them to explore their environment and emulate the behavior of their elders. When children are immersed in a culture of partnership — where power is expressed through connection and cooperation rather than control and domination — their innate sociality leads them to engage and play with others in ways that develop greater social intelligence and collaborative skills.
There is no monolithic definition of democratic education or democratic schools. But what we mean here is “education in which young people have the freedom to organize their daily activities, and in which there is equality and democratic decision-making among young people and adults.” From the Directory of Democratic Education – Alternative Resource Education Organization. These schools and programs take many forms and include public and private alternatives and homeschool resource centers.
Yaacov Hecht is an internationally distinguished leader and visionary in democratic education, learning theory, and societal change. In 1987, Hecht founded the Democratic School in Hadera, Israel. Due to the school’s success, Hecht helped to establish a network of democratic schools all over Israel. In 1993, he convened the first International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC), an annual conference that continues to connect educators, schools, and organizations. He founded the Institute for Democratic Education in Israel (IDE), which focuses on making change in the public schools system through democratic education principals. Most recently, in 2010, Hecht co-founded “Education Cities-the Art of Collaborations,” an organization which focuses on turning educational systems into a central growth instrument for the cities in which they exist. Hecht continues to be a sought after speaker and consultant, and plays an essential role in the movement for democratic education in Israel and around the world.
Simon is from England and has lived in Japan since 1997 and is a teacher at the Okinawa Sudbury School. He has worked extensively in education in Japan and England, and believes that Sudbury-model education provides the best start in life for young people. He is passionate about the democratic meeting process, developing and maintaining a culture of mutually-respectful discussion to solve problems. He is interested in developing a school culture that celebrates free play and creativity, which are some of the highest expressions of the human spirit. People of all ages are at their best when they experience what they are doing as play, entering a state of flow and forgetting even themselves. Simon has reached a stage in practicing democratic education where he wants to share something of value not just within his school but outside in the wider community and the world.
The workshop will be an open discussion with Yaacov and Simon about the following:
- What are the possibilities for a self-directed school or a self-directed type of education in the Philippines?
- How can ideas of self-directed education be practiced within existing schools in the Philippines?
- How can a self-directed school or learning center be started in the Philippines?
For more information, check out the following websites: