Updated 2020-12-22

No School Left Undemocratic: Experiencing Self-Government In A Free School

This ethnographic work examines democracy in action, at a free school in Canada, and highlights the skills learned that promote good citizenship and self-confidence.
Marc-Alexandre Prud'Homme author
Prud'Homme, M. (2014). Experiencing Self-Government in a Free School. Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning, 8(16), 34-53. Retrieved from https://jual.nipissingu.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2014/06/v82164.pdf


While schools have been assigned the role of introducing students to our current democratic systems, many have highlighted the paradox of teaching democracy in an undemocratic context. Alternative models of schools that operate democratically, such as free schools, can offer a great deal in terms of democratic education. In this paper, the author discusses an ethnographic study that he conducted on the experiences of Canadian free school students. He attended school meetings, spent a period of five weeks making observations in a free school, and completed interviews about these experiences. He contends that students developed skills and attitudes associated to citizenship such as critical thinking and self-confidence.

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