Beata Zwierzyńska, EDiTE researcher, participated in the Falling Walls Lab 2018, Wrocław. Falling Walls Lab is an international event commemorating the Fall of Communism and the Berlin Wall through the promotion of science and innovation. The winners of the local eventstake part in the finals in Berlin and present their project in 3 minutes long speeches. The researcher can apply in any location convenient but the rules limit the performance to one time only. The most represented fields are hard sciences as the 2018 winners’ listshows. Therefore, there is still a space for humanities and social sciences to fill in!
If you are interested in participating in the 2019 edition, here is an example of Beata’s 3-minute speech based on one of her research projects and PPT presentation to download:
Internationally, there has been interest in school democratization, but only few countries actually achieve that. Intellectuals, practitioners, and activists all over the world are critical of educational reforms and the resistance of schools to theoretical, practical and political attempts of school democratization: in Poland 30 years after Round Table Talks on education, schools still struggle to be democratic spaces
Why do we need democratized education? We need it especially now: when 30 years after breaking the walls of communism in Europe, we are experiencing a shift towards authoritarianism, racism, homophobia, and hate. Young eastern democracies but also old ones are experiencing democratic crisis. Solidarity has changed into barbed-wires and new walls; rational debate gave place to fake news. Schools became a fertile soil for propaganda instead being a vaccine for it. Teachers are silenced and schools monopolized by ruling parties. The crisis now is therefore not only political but also educational.
What is the solution?
Education for democracy prepares people for democratic values like freedom, trust, participation, and more. The difficulty in achieving fully democratized schools is traced to teachers’ disempowerment and lack of emancipatory competences. Teachers can make the console “sliders” go up to build civil society, teach respect and debate. Mandela’s words are still true that “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world”. Are teachers able to do it?
Is it possible to prepare teachers for democracy at school if they are products of a system? How can teachers implement fully democratized and pluralistic model of education if they don’t experience autonomy and freedom? These are old questions in Poland.
One of the ways to help teachers to change is through action research. In collaboration with teachers from a large FB group, we selected a problem, designed and implemented a plan and reflected on it. Teachers organized a grassroot event with workshops, panel discussion and more. It created emancipatory experience for them to become more autonomous and empowered. EMANCIPATED TEACHERS are foundation for DEMOCRATIZED SCHOOLS which is a basis for DEMOCRATIC AND HUMANISTIC SOCIETY