Why a democratic classroom and an education for democracy?
Dissent is a democratic practice every hour of the day, a definition which opposes the dominant view of democracy as an institution and ritual to be fulfilled on rare occasions.
Peter Curtis is inquiring into the demands and the expectations of teachers in our ‘changing’ educational mindscape.
The object of this blog is to encourage dialogue about how learner-centered and emergent-inquiry and integrated approaches affect learning and teaching and the realisation and delivery of a curriculum.
Building on his own research into contemporary principles and approaches of inquiry learning and the demands imposed on imaginative teachers and teaching in this ‘changing’ environment, he argues that the inquiry approach to learning and teaching provides the best starting place from which to engage with these concerns of teachers.
He contends that inquiry learning is often misunderstood, and the terms that support the inquiry hypothesis such as constructivism are often misrepresented to teachers by academics and researchers. One misinterpretation alleges that constructivism ignores the needs of students with particular learning needs and of differentiated learning.
In response, teachers who support an inquiry approach must ponder our role in student-centered learning in an inquiry classroom, and therefore to reconsider the questions that Dewey himself posed about experience and judgment and democracy and education.
In addition, we have to be ready to imagine our schools and classrooms outside the realities of a deprived state education system. The wish to provide opportunities for students and teachers alike to become informed and active members of all our communities means encouraging questions and challenging people in authority who are not “authors”.