ESDemocracy Method

ESDemocracy Method

Developed by EcoCentric Foundation

During this project, we developed an approach to explain and make more perceivable the connection between the principles of democracy and the main skills the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) aims to develop in people. Textbook definitions of concepts and fundamental principles of democracy and a list of the skills that the ESD aims to develop are used to emphasize the connection. Through reflection and discussion, this method leads the participants to better understanding of democratic ideals and gives them basic knowledge of how we can achieve sustainable development based on the process of education and new skills that should be acquired.


Description of the method:

Each participant picks up a paper with one of the words mentioned below and reads it. The total number of words is sixteen. ekspertna-ocenka

When everyone has a word, the facilitator shows a text, containing sentences aimed at conveying the fundamental elements of democracy: rule of law, protection of human rights and freedoms, pluralism. The text is with gaps and can be shown on a screen or each participant can have it on a sheet of paper. 

The facilitator starts to read the text, others follow carefully and try to fill in the missing words in correspondence to the words each one already has. Successively, when a participant thinks that his/her word suits the respective sentence, s/he says the word loudly and reads the complete sentence. text-dupki

Participants can discuss between each other to find the word that fits better in the blank space.

When the entire text is complete the facilitator shows the original text with the right words to compare.

The facilitator initiates a short discussion about the democracy in real life – how all these principles work in practice; what is our own perception of democracy, the democracy in our work, school or university, etc.

After the discussion, the facilitator explains the concept of Education for Sustainable Development and the need of certain skills to be acquired by people because only in such a way we will be able to achieve sustainable development and to save and ensure our future.

Then the facilitator shows the ’Participation Skills‘ , which are the basis of the Education for Sustainable Development and reads them ouP1060701t loud. They could be shown on a screen, written on a board or written on sheets of paper and put on the floor in a circle. 

The participants have a few minutes to think if they find connection between some of the principles of democracy mentioned in the previous text (the nineteen words from the text matching the blank spaces) and these twelve participation skills. The task is to refer some of the words from the text to the skills and explain what is the relation they have found.

After that the facilitator asks the participants to evaluate if and to what degree the class activities in the school help the pupils to P1060707acquire each of these skills. The evaluation ranges from 2 (not at all) to 6 (very much). They have to rate in such a way all of the twelve skills. The facilitator writes down on a board all ratings and then makes an average for each skill. If there is a big difference between the ratings for one skill s/he invites the people who gave the lowest and the highest degree to explain their reasons. At the end the facilitator initiates a discussion about possible solutions to improve the role of scholar education in the process of adopting ’Participation Skills‘ .

All ideas are written down and can be send as propositions from the citizens to the Ministry of Education. Improving the scholar education process will be an extremely important step to raise active citizens who appreciate highly the democratic values and have the ability and the skills to lead the society to sustainable way of living.


I. Words

RESPONSIBILITY
PARTICIPATE
INDEPENDENT, QUESTIONING AND ANALYTICAL
CRITICISM
TOLERANCE
FAIRLY
LIBERTY
EXPRESS
PEACEFULLY
RESPECT FOR THE LAW
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS
RULE OF LAW
EQUAL
COMPROMISING
CONSENT
CHOOSE
POWER

II. Text with gaps

The word DEMOCRACY comes from Greek and means “rule by the people”.

The idea that government authority comes from the people and is based on their ________ is a fundamental principle of democracy.
Modern democracy as a political system requires that each individual is free to _____________ and replace the government through free, fair and regular elections.
In order to avoid abuse of _____________ by the government, a system of checks and balances exists in democracy through the separation of powers of the three arms of government – the legislature, executive and the Judiciary.
In a democratic society, all persons have certain ________ .
The ______________ guarantees the protection of the rights of citizens, the maintaining of public order and exercise of control over the government.
All people are ________ under the law.
The law is applied _______, impartially and consistently by the court of justice, which is independent from the other branches of power.
In a democracy, everyone has the right to _____________to their own beliefs; to freely ________ themselves; to seek, receive and impart information; to assemble; to move; to protest.
People have to exercise their rights __________, with ____________ and for the rights of the others.
The citizens of a democracy enjoy the right of individual freedom, but they also share the _________ of joining with others to improve the quality of political and civic life.
Democracy depends upon a literate, knowledgeable citizenry whose access to information enables them to _____________ as fully as possible in the public life of their society.
Education is essential for building of ______, _________, _____citizens who are familiar and apply the concepts of democracy.
As the overseers of government, citizens in a democratic society have to inform themselves about public matters, to keep track of the behavior of their representatives in the parliament, and express their opinion, including _________.
A democratic society is built on the commitment of citizens who accept the existence of conflicting opinions and views, as well as the necessity for _________ in dealing with those holding opposing views, and ________ when necessary to reach agreement.

The original text

The word DEMOCRACY comes from Greek and means “rule by the people”.

The idea that government authority comes from the people and is based on their CONSENT is a fundamental principle of democracy.
Modern democracy as a political system requires that each individual is free to CHOOSE and replace the government through free, fair and regular elections.
In order to avoid abuse of POWER by the government, a system of checks and balances exists in democracy through the separation of powers of the three arms of government – the legislature, executive and the Judiciary.
In a democratic society, all persons have certain FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS .
The RULE OF LAW guarantees the protection of the rights of citizens, the maintaining of public order and exercise of control over the government.
All people are EQUAL under the law.
The law is applied FAIRLY, impartially and consistently by the court of justice, which is independent from the other branches of power.
In a democracy, everyone has the right to LIBERTY to their own beliefs; to freely EXPRESS themselves; to seek, receive and impart information; to assemble; to move; to protest.
People have to exercise their rights PEACEFULY, with RESPECT FOR THE LAW and for the rights of the others.
The citizens of a democracy enjoy the right of individual freedom, but they also share the RESPONSIBILITY of joining with others to improve the quality of political and civic life.
Democracy depends upon a literate, knowledgeable citizenry whose access to information enables them to PARTICIPATE as fully as possible in the public life of their society.
Education is essential for building of INDEPENDENT, QUESTIONING AND ANALYTICAL citizens who are familiar and apply the concepts of democracy.
As the overseers of government, citizens in a democratic society have to inform themselves about public matters, to keep track of the behavior of their representatives in the parliament, and express their opinion, including CRITICISM.
A democratic society is built on the commitment of citizens who accept the existence of conflicting opinions and views, as well as the necessity for TOLERANCE in dealing with those holding opposing views, and COMPROMISING when necessary to reach agreement.


III. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

The Education for Sustainable Development aims at enabling people to be active and responsible to their own future and the future of next generations; to understand the difference between sustainable and unsustainable development and to adopt sustainability-oriented knowledge and skills. ESD presents the topics from ecological, economic, social and global point of view.

In Germany, a set of twelve ’Participation Skills’ (Gestaltungskompetenz) – originally created by Prof. Gerhard de Haan and Dorothee Harenberg in 1999 (Institut Futur Freie Universitaet Berlin) – serve as a basis for development of curriculum for ESD. ’Gestaltungskompetenz’ describes the ability to apply knowledge about sustainable development and recognise the problems involved in unsustainable development.


IV. Participation Skills

     The ESD should

  1. Build knowledge in an open-minded fashion and integrate new perspectives;

  2. Analyse and assess development anticipatorily and circumspectly;

  3. Gain inter-disciplinary insights and act accordingly;

  4. Discern and judge risks, danger and uncertainties;

  5. Plan and act together;

  6. Consider conflicting aims in the reflection of strategic actions;

  7. Participate in collective decision-making processes;

  8. Motivate people and themselves to get involved

  9. Reflect their own and other people’s guiding principles;

  10. Base decision-making and actions on notions of fairness and equality;

  11. Plan and act independently;

  12. Develop empathy for and show solidarity with the disadvantaged.


Sources:

http://navinatur.de/t3int/index.php?id=53&L=1

http://www.harburg21.de/en/agenda-21/desd-in-germany/participation-skills/

http://www.democracyweb.org/

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