Collaboration, Imagination, and Democracy

TES’ May 25, 2005 conference, “Collaboration, Imagination, and Democracy: 21st Century Education”, at Simon Fraser University’s Wosk Centre for Dialogue.

The SFU Wosk Centre for Dialogue was abuzz with Windsor House energy. Alison Kelly moderated with great panache; the speakers were smart, eloquent, and passionate; the microphone lights were red; and the talking sticks were waving! There was so much to say and too little time. Windsor House students engaged in the dialogue and sat through the whole 3 hours. (It was great to have such comfy leather seats!) A variety of people from outside our community came to the event, including: teachers from Charles Dickens School, a Vancouver School Trustee, a North Vancouver School Trustee, education students from UBC, a member of the Charter for Public Education Network, and others interested in the issues.

To start, we heard 12 speakers of all ages from the Windsor House School community give us a quick line about what imagination, democracy or collaboration meant to them, then we heard from the four speakers:

“We don’t teach democracy, we practice it. We don’t teach collaboration, we do it. We don’t teach inspiration, we provide a venue.”–Helen Hughes

“Debate in education often occurs not because we disagree or don’t understand each other, but because we hold different goals.”–Wayne Ross

“These three ideas [socialization, pursuit of objective truths, development of each child’s unique potential] have generated aims that have under girded the public school system…I argue that schools are generally ineffective because these [three] aims are mutually incompatible.”–Kieran Egan

“We need a mass of answers, not a mass answer”–Matt Hern

The evening was topped off with the Freedom Singers’ performing John Lennon’s “Imagine”— the whole room joined in on the final two verses. The event was videotaped and that tape will be made available to the community at a future date.

In order to promote dialogue on viable alternative educational models, TES is considering making a commitment to hosting this type of event on a regular basis. Smaller meetings two or three times a year and a big one every couple of years will be an effective way to bring together people and organizations who are working to create ‘education for change’ instead of ‘education for the status quo’. Many thanks to Anne Marie and all the people who helped to put this lovely event together.

IDEC 2005

IDEC 2005 Program Proposals

Meghan presents at the 2005 International Democratic Education Conference in Berlin.

Find copy of speech.