Prof. Dr. Edelstein has been director of the research departement „Developement and Socialisation“ at the Max-Planck-Institute for education research for years. He also is a co-founder of the German Society for democratic pedagogy (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Demokratiepädagogik e.V.) and speaks up for a democratic culture of participation at german schools. DeGeDe was founded in 2005 as a sheet anchor for the former programme “Demokratie lernen & leben” of the German Bund-Länder-Kommission. Due to the federalism reform that practically prohibited collective projects of federation and federal lands, the project had no chance of survival.
Niklas Gidion studied school pedagogics, specializing in the field of children with educational handicaps. After working at a convientional state school for children with learning difficulties he left to become a teacher at the Democratic School Kapriole in Freiburg, Germany, where children of all types, both educationally impaired and non-impaired, study together.
David Gribble was one of the founders of Sands School in England. He believes that adults and children should share responsibility for the running of their schools. He has visited schools all over the world where this approach is interpreted in different ways, and has written several books about what he learnt there, including Real Education: Varieties of Freedom (German title: Schule im Aufbruch) and Lifelines.
Yacoov Hecht, founder of the first democratic school in Israel and of the institute of democratic education in Tel Aviv, tells in his simple personal emotional way about the motives of his commitment. “The main idea is – how to put human rights into school.”
Gerald Hüther applies his neuro-biological insights as a neurologist to the requirements for schools and an adequate learning environement. He believes in inner motivation and finding joy in studying. Endorphins reinforce learning processes and encourage to continue. “The basic knowledge of neuro-biology is: children, and that means all children, are born with an incredible enthusiasm for discovering and creating. … So it is less about always instilling more and more knowledge in children. What we need are programmes that avoid (…) that children loose their enthusiasm for learning.”
Jesper Juul is a family expert. He works as a consultant, pedagogue and therapist in many European countries.
How can the communal life of grownups and children succeed?
How can the dignity of children be aknowledged and how can they be treated as full-fledged human beings?
These questions made Jesper Juul, a 61 year old founder and chairman of the Kempler Institue in Odder, Denmark, into a helper of families.
The cultural politician, philosoph, cultural scientist and university professor Julian Nida-Rümelin comes from a artistic family in Munich. He was cultural advisor of the City of Munich and minister for cultural affairs in the cabinet of German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. He is dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and Religious Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University and one of the most profiled critics of the tendency to turn university courses into school instruction through the current university reform. He supports the student movement with their protest and their demand for codetermination and social equality.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Hinz
Professor for inclusion at the University of Halle. He took part in the congress for democratic education with a small group of students.
Bildungsschule Harzberg was founded as a family enterprise by the pedagogue couple Stefanie and Falco Peschel, after an in-depth trial of their concept for self-determined education. They work according to a method, which they say to be “not killing the curiosity and the exploratory urge of the chidren, but encouraging it”. “That has become the couple’s idealistic aim in life – “not only…, to provide a good livelihood… for their own kids.”
Tanja Pütz is educationalists, University lecturer and lecturer for Montessori educational theory. One of her research projects is the scientific monitoring of the Neue Schule Hamburg. Her main areas of research include among other things school- and teaching research, progressive education, profession research and teaching and learning research. Her research perspective focusses on “school from the sight of children”.
Mrs. Rasfeld is the Headmaster of the Evangelischen Schule Zentrum in Berlin and is a self-proclaimed educational innovator. Her school is an experimental one in which new democratic concepts are tested and the results shared with other schools nationwide .
As a son of one of the Sudbury school founders in Jerusalem, Michael naturally visited the school and after that became involved at EUDEC, of which he was a dean until just recently. Now he studies in Germany, still aktive in the suject of democratic education.
Beate Sitek is the Headmaster of the Gymnasium in Olching, Munich. Together with staff and students she is trying to find new ways of implementing more freedom of choice for the students and democratic structures into the state school.
Students from Sands
Leonard Turton is originally from Canada, where he founded a democratic school himself and taught with democratic concepts at state school for many years. He emigrated to England to teach at Summerhill School in Soffolk, England, eventually. He sees himself as an assistant, a helper for young humans to find their own way rather than a authoritative teacher.
Kageki Asakura, Tae Wook Ha and Cheng Chou Chou
Tae Wook Ha gives lectures and does research on democratic education at a South Korean University and cooperates with an organisation called „Peoples Solidarity for Alternative Education“, whose goal it is to build more democratic schools in South Korea.
Chou Cheng switched to this heuristic school because he wants to help establish an alternative to the traditional chinese education system. He ist a teacher at the only democratic school in Taiwan.