What can I do to change this?

We have been looking at the Clubhouse Democracy model.  The purpose is to Design a School. This week we are dealing with the nuts and bolts.

The title is “What can I do to change this?”

It is a question that many teachers have asked themselves at the end of a hard day.  We often feel impotent.  The demands on teachers come from curriculum authorities, education inspectors, parents and the media.  It is easy to feel overwhelmed.


Yet I did not get that phrase from a handbook for teachers.  It came from Leonard’s introduction of Clubhouse Democracy for children.  If we are serious about democratic education, we need to give the power for change to the children.  They need to think what they can do to make changes.

If teachers feel impotent, imagine how children feel.

As we Design a School we are thinking of ways that children can use the power of the Clubhouse to make changes that are relevant to them.  

Think about it.

Is it a good education for children to feel that they had better do what they are told?  Is it a good preparation for a democratic life to surrender your freedom of choice of action?  It might get you through the exam, but it won’t help you deal with adversity in the future.

On the other hand to accept responsibility for your choices is vital and dynamic.  In the Clubhouse model, children are trusted to regulate themselves.  They do this at an individual level: “I am doing this because I have chosen to do it.” They also do it at a community level: “We do things this way because we have agreed through our meeting that this is what we should do.”

Share Authority

Perhaps the teacher who is asking herself  “What can I do to change this?” is asking the wrong question.  Perhaps she needs to pass some of that burden to the children. Share Authority for a better classroom habitat.

This week I am asking Leonard questions about the “what” of Clubhouse Democracy.

My questions:

What can children do to change their environment? There are limits, aren’t there? The management of the school must make decisions.  Teachers must make decisions.  It’s absurd for children to be involved in those decisions, isn’t it?

Can a Clubhouse exclude a child from the Clubhouse?

Can a child decide she wants a different style of teaching?

Are children involved in hiring and firing staff?

Can children go against the will of their parents?

Are there times where the children, through their meeting, decide on actions the teacher does not agree with?

What do you do about it?

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