About

Democratic Education SA is a portal to help the public find out more about democratic and self-led learning environments in South Africa.

Here is a brief checklist to help you determine to what extent a project offers a learning environment which can accurately be described as democratic and self-led.

Self-Directed Democratic Education: each learner has 100% choice about how they spend their time, bounded only by available resources and the rights of others. Together the learning community chooses what resources (including human) will be included, and how the project will be run. Running the project is in itself a learning opportunity. Every learner is free in every instance to participate or not, and no external expectations are imposed on the learner.

Partially Democratic Education: learners have a say on certain issues, and can vote within predetermined parameters e.g. to help determine learning themes for the class, dress code, or certain rules of conduct. Learning may or may not be partially or mostly self-led, for example there could be a completely fixed curriculum but conduct rules and conflict resolution are handled democratically.

Self-led learning: each learner has 100% choice about how they spend their time, bounded only by available resources and the rights of others, and depending on what is offered to them. There may a limited ability to influence what is on offer and there is not necessarily any democratic power beyond choice about one’s own time. Every learner is free in every instance to participate or not, and no external expectations are imposed on the learner.

Partially self-led learning: each learner has a degree of choice about how they spend their time, within pre-determined limits that they have no power to change. There is a limited ability to influence what is on offer.  There is a degree of freedom to participate or not, but external expectations are imposed on the learner, even if they are flexible and only variably enforced.

What would you add to these descriptions?