Democratic classroom practices: critically exploring the possibilities

Crosswell, Leanne and Brough, Chris and Dowden, Tony (2014) Democratic classroom practices: critically exploring the possibilities. In: Joint Australian Association for Research in Education and New Zealand Association for Research in Education International Conference 2014 (AARE-NZARE 2014), 30 Nov - 4 Dec 2014, Brisbane, Australia.

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Democratic classrooms are learning environments that scaffold students in becoming active collaborators and decision makers in their own learning community (Dewey, 1916; Frieberg, 1996). Democratic classroom practices have garnered strong support in approaches to middle schooling (Chadbourne & Pendergast, 2010). It is well established that democratic learning environments have a positive impact on students' academic learning, engagement and behaviour (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Deiro, 1996; Murray, 2002; Murray & Pianta, 2007; Pianta, 1999). Democratic approaches to teaching and learning that include negotiating the curriculum (see Kubow & Kinney, 2000) scaffold the development of essential skills for the twenty-first century (MCEETYA 2008), such as critical thinking, ethical integrity, relating to and communicating with individuals from a range of cultural backgrounds, working for the common good and acting with responsibility. Such skills are foundational to the overarching aim of the Australian Curriculum to develop 'successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens' (ACARA, 2013, p.1). Therefore, it could be argued that the implementation of democratic classroom practices is integral to developing the types of learners and citizens Australia both wants and needs for a successful future. However, public focus remains on measuring educational success via standardised testing and quantitative data relegating the impact of the chosen teaching and learning approaches to the background. This paper seeks to critically examine what is meant by democratic classrooms practices and report on current evidence of their use in middle years' classrooms.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Speech)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Electronic version of paper not available. Abstract only published in conference proceedings.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2016 02:05
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 06:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: democratic classrooms
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9303 Curriculum > 930399 Curriculum not elsewhere classified

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