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EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRACY Marcin Kilanowski Ph.D. (Nicolas Copernicus University in Torun)

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Presentation on theme: "EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRACY Marcin Kilanowski Ph.D. (Nicolas Copernicus University in Torun)"— Presentation transcript:

1 EDUCATION FOR DEMOCRACY Marcin Kilanowski Ph.D. (Nicolas Copernicus University in Torun)

2 INSPIRATION John Dewey (1859-1952) „Education for Democracy”

3 John Dewey formed the basis for the reform of the American educational system, which started paying attention not only to the education of narrow technical skills but: to broaden the democratic consciousness of every student with the goal of shaping a responsible demoratic public life.

4 Aproaching the Goal United States of America is an example how Univeristies are still aproaching Dewey‘s goal and improving their curriculum: * to create better and better conditions for educating not only on the level of expertise in certain fields but also * on the level of shaping individual criticism and responsibility for the democratic public sphere

5 EXAPLE: HARVARD UNIVERSITY since the 2007/2008 accademic year University Programm Board considered the subject „Moral Reasoning“ as one that should be part of each Harvard student’s education.

6 Moral Reasoning „The common aim of courses in Moral Reasoning is to discuss significant and recurrent questions of choice and value that arise in human experience. They seek to acquaint students with the important traditions of thought that have informed such choices in the past and to enlarge the students’ awareness of how people have understood the nature of the virtuous life. The courses are intended to show that it is possible to reflect reasonably about such matters as justice, obligation, citizenship, loyalty, courage, and personal responsibility.”

7 Harvard University understands: that only such qualifications, gained at the University, will allow for responsible use of freedom and civil rights. that university is a place for shaping responsible citizens of a democratic state the most obvious fact, that today’s young generations are the ones that will shape the future.

8 STUDENT NEED TO DEVELOP: the ability for argumentation, the ability to make reasonable ethical choices the ability for critical thinking.

9 How about Poland? Also at Polish universities – as in the United States – we should not loose the chance to educate students in a critical manner, and to foster their understanding of the role they play and should play in democratic society. This is our responsibility (responsibility for the future) to undertake such institutional and legal decisions which will allow us to reach such a goal.

10 Ministerial Standards of Education Unfortunately we have to perceive present Ministerial Standards of Education in Poland regulating (among others) the amount of classes in humanities and social sciences taught at particular fields of study as faulty. Ministerial Standards of Education allow for the rejection of humanistic education from higher university based education.

11 How is that possible? Incoherent legal regulation stating or not stating about the need of classes in humanistic or social sciences

12 Chapter V.2 Of the Standads Standards refer to 118 fields of study: Only in case of 36 fields of study there is a requirement to inlcude 60 hours of „humanistic classes” (but only in case of 1 field classes are named specifically) In case of other 19 fields of study there is requirement to include 60 hours of classes „that broaden humanistic knowleadge” (but only in case of 8 fields names of classes are specified)

13 Standards - continuation In case of next 26 fields of study standard point out the necessity to include 60 hours of „humanistic classes” or classes „broadening humanistic knowleadge” during the period of studies, but with the possibility to teach „economics” instead. In case of other 31 fields of studies there is no requirement to include humanistic or social science classes. Instead there is a requiremt to include 60 hours of „classes that broaden general knowledge” (not naming them) - in fact this are: „ecology of the Baltic see”, „emision of the voice”, „ecological haushold”

14 Last 6 Only in case of last 6 fields of study humanistic classes and social sciences classes are named specifically - but this is due to the character of the studies.

15 Another possible way out Ministerial Standars shape only 55% (more or less) of the curriculum of abovementioned fields of study. 45% of the curriculum is shaped by the Universities, which can take care to include humanistic classes or social science classes in curriculum of every field of study.

16 Why this is so important ? Because of the GOAL that we should try to reach

17 The goal standing in front of us: to take care for our democratic future by using our chance and teaching students among other things: – crucial communicative skills (through argumentation, debates) – critical thinking as the basis for creation of individuals resposnible for themselve and for others – for the public/social sphere.

18 Polish higher education should consider to chose the same path as American higher education in understanding that – as Dewey said – our „democratic road is the hard one to take“ because it „places the greatest burden of responsibility upon the greatest number of human beings“ (FC, LW 13:154).

19 Universities in Poland should play a crucial role in educating that: - democracy is a mode of associated living, - a way of life, which involves active participation of individuals in reasonable discussion, debate about political and social affairs, - it is „a cooperative undertaking, one which rests upon persuasion, upon an ability to convince and be convinced by reason“ (Dewey, MW 10:404).

20 Universities in Poland should also teach the skills that will allow their students to engage in such a dialogue long after they will finish their studies.

21 Conclusion Only such an education can be considered to be a „quality“ education.

22 Thank you Marcin Kilanowski Ph.D. Nicolas Copernicus University

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