Recipe for a democratic classroom – sharing good practices from the Civic Education teaching process

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An online discussion “Recipe for a democratic classroom: Good practices from the Civic Education teaching process” took place on 29 October, 2020, as a part of USAID Youth Ethnic Integration Project, in cooperation with the Bureau for Development of Education and Youth Educational Forum. More than 70 teachers that teach Civic Education, students from eighth and ninth grade as well as advisors from the Bureau for Development of Education discussed the teaching practices that contribute to building a democratic climate in the classroom.

At the beginning, the advisor from the Bureau for Development of Education, Oliver Stanojoski, introduced the Concept for Civic Education in Primary Education and Guidelines for Implementation (MK, ALB) that was officially adopted by the Minister of Education and Science in May, 2020. Its purpose is to offer assistance in understanding the complexity of incorporating Civic Education in the educational system and accepting that establishing and maintaining democratic culture is an obligation of the whole school.

During the event, the results from the research regarding the experiences with the new Civic Education curricula were presented. According to the research, the students from eighth and ninth grade assess their experience with Civic Education as positive. They say that they can freely express their opinion. Even when it’s different from the rest.

Through sharing personal examples and experiences, the students, who attended the event, discussed the way in which the Civic Education classes are held. They spoke about interesting student initiatives in which they participated and how they impacted the development of their democratic and civic competences.

Civic Education has helped me work on myself, have a greater self-confidence and not be afraid or ashamed to express my honest opinions. We have participated in debates, humanitarian actions, ecological actions and actions for beautifying the school yard. Through this way of teaching, we feel like we matter and that our opinion is heard,” say the students.

Civic Education teachers in primary education elaborated the main ingredients of the recipe for a democratic classroom. They shared their advice and good practices from the period when they conducted the teaching process before the crisis situation with COVID-19 and through distance learning. They pointed out that students want to take part in different student initiatives and that with the new situation, they have many opportunities to express themselves creatively, using technology.

“You receive the energy you give. That’s why, we always try to help students and hear what they’re thinking. If we have freedom and justice in a class, it means that we have elements of democracy. So, it’s important to give equal opportunities to all students and of course to love your profession and the children,” explain the teachers.

This discussion enabled the participants to get to know the way of making and developing democratic practices in the teaching process in more detail. These practices will later contribute to the successful implementation of student initiatives.

For more details, check out the video from the event, which contains the key points that were discussed.

This activity is part of the Youth Ethnic Integration Project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

This article is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of MCEC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.