Fiona McKenzie is the founder of three democratic schools (two primary, one secondary) in Victoria, is currently the Principal of Village High School, and has recently taken on the Presidency of the Australasian Democratic Education Community. She has a passion for environments that support children and adults to learn and experience the significant capacity we all have to affect the quality of our lives. She also supports individuals and communities around Australia to start democratic schools.
29 October, Sunday
1:30pm – 2:30pm
concurrent workshops - select one
A wave of active citizenry is emerging in Australian society and showing its capacity to lift the bar on integrity, inclusivity, and fairness in our communities, and of their leadership. How do we authentically give our children and young people the opportunity to actively participate in the organisation of their most significant community, and learn the skills of active citizenry? Structure and processes can scaffold decision making, group discussion, and vision sharing, around matters that effect their school lives but as with the authentic application of any school philosophy, it is the adults in the room that are the key. Adults in democratic school environments must be very conscious of the power that they inherently hold in a school environment and be willing to share it (or at least be transparent about when they can’t) on a daily basis. It takes self-awareness, humility, and trust in the goodness and capacity of children to hold a space for shared power and responsibility in the classroom. It takes courage to let children see the decision you are advocating for lose in a class vote. It takes vulnerability to share with them your disappointment about this while letting them know that you respect the process.