TED Conversations

Katie Song

Master - Student, Brock University

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Should students have the right to participate in developing school curriculum?

"Democratic education" and "democratic schools" is something that's not new in the US or Canada. The schools (Kindergarten - grade 12) wish to embed the values and ethics of democracy in their students so that they can fulfill the duties of exemplary democratic citizens in the future.

However, by the true meaning of democracy, this means that elementary students should have the right to participate in government/presidential elections, participate in protests, participate in labor forces, form unions, and even participate in the development of their own curriculum.

As parents, relatives, educators, community members and administrators, do you believe there are potential benefits in allowing K-12 students to participate in curriculum development?

If so, how would we go through the process of choosing the "right" students?


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    R H 30+

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    Apr 18 2013: Interesting, but I would say no - if you're speaking about 'currently', and not in the future. Children do not have enough knowledge/experience of the world to decide what they need to know. The problem I think you're referring to, if I'm reading 'between the lines', is that the content they're being taught is politically motivated. Also there's inherent bias into 'someone else' deciding what it is necessary, or desirable, to learn. But the inexperience of children trump all other concerns for me. Tackling the inflexibility of the education system, having educators rather than school boards control the direction of curriculum, supporting children's home life to provide the environment to learn and be excited about learning, would be more effective, in my opinion. Now, if we're talking about the future, that's something different entirely.
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      Apr 18 2013: Thanks for your input, R H.

      I do remember watching a TED clip discussing why children and especially adolescents are less likely to make "better" decisions. Their prefrontal cortex is still yet not fully developed, which deals with decision making, thinking, problem solving, and reasoning. Not to mention social behavior and other self-controlling qualities. (by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore: http://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_jayne_blakemore_the_mysterious_workings_of_the_adolescent_brain.html)

      Why do you feel that students will be more capable of participating in the future as opposed to students these days??
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        R H 30+

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        Apr 21 2013: I believe we are constantly learning throughout our whole lives, but our world is archaic and as of yet, 'unelightened'. We are only beginning to 'scratch the surface' of who we are and what we're capable of. When that day comes, when we are fully aware, when we know what it means to be alive and fully human and our place in the universe as humanity, then our children will be no longer children and they will have the wisdom to know what they need, and to customize their own development - with whatever input they require.

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