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Deep Democracy in Education

"Everyone has a voice at Wulagi (school). Three years of hearing everyone's views and making decisions together has helped our wellbeing, creative genius and responsibility." - Susan Kilgour: Principal: Wulagi Independent Public School

"The Lewis Method of Deep Democracy allows students to take ownership & control their behaviour" - Susan Kilgour: Principal: Wulagi Independent Public School

What teachers model, determines to a large extent how members of the next generation will treat themselves, each other, and the planet. So in a very real sense, teachers hold the key to our future as a species.

Research into the efficacy of using Deep Democracy in schools was first carried out in 2005. The research took place in an extremely disadvantaged, impoverished and violent community in South Africa. It became evident that the Deep Democracy methodology was as effective in classroom as it was in the boardroom. Some of the results included:

The teachers applying the Deep Democracy tools experienced less stress and found their work and relationships with their learners more fulfilling. Furthermore they were able to adopt a less autocratic style of teaching which enabled the students themselves to become accountable for own learning and discipline within the classroom.

The learners responded well to this empowering process. There was a significant improvement in motivation and responsibility for their learning, thereby lessening the disciplinary problems.

Conflict, violence and bullying lessened. This positive effect within the school had a knock on effect in the surrounding community in some schools.

Deep Democracy was also successfully used as a management tool in the staff room and in the education hierarchy. Tension between staff members lessened, teamwork improved and as a result the general service to the school improved. Tension between hierarchical levels eased.

Since them Deep Democracy has been adapted specifically to meet the needs of teachers and learners. Deep Democracy for Education has been taught to teachers and learners in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Australia. More recently, the Deep Democracy leadership course, CoResolve, has been taught to young leaders within a high school environment within South Africa.

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