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Democracy and experimentation: Two fundamental values for education

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Moss Peter & Urban, Mathias
Publication Date: 
10 Nov 2010

Excerpts from the report:

This paper is a contribution to the debate in Germany and beyond in Europe on future directions for education. It builds on and extends earlier work by the authors, on democratic experimentalism and early childhood workforce professionalism. At a time when managerial, technical and market approaches are increasingly influential, it argues the case for an alternative: an education based on "democracy" and "experimentation" as fundamental values and practices.

By arguing for an education of democracy and experimentation, the paper assumes that there are other possible values. The issue is not whether or not to have values in education, but which values and what practices follow from the choice of values?


The paper is organised in three main sections, each one addressing a fundamental question regarding democracy and experimentation in education: Why? What? How? The first section sets out the case for why democracy and experimentation should be seen as key to education in general- and to an educational project in particular. The second part explores in depth what we mean by both democracy and experimentation and considers the implications of adopting them as fundamental values in an educational project. The third section discusses how - under what conditions - a democratic and experimental education might flourish. Finally, we consider possible next steps to take the arguments further and explore the potential and implementation of an education based on democracy and experimentation: How might a project of transformation start?