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Building a Learning Community: Democratic Values

15 January, 2016 - 09:14

How do we create an environment where all members of a school community practice civic habits? How can we help school members learn to practice their First Amendment freedoms? Sergiovanni (2002) tells us that the primary aim of education is to enable an individual to function in society. Assuming a democratic society, the school should promote not only those qualities necessary for survival (employment, getting along with people, managing one's affairs, being a responsible family member, etc., but also those qualities necessary for a healthy democratic society (political involvement that seeks the common good, willingness to displace self-interest for a higher purpose, skills at community building and conflict resolution, an understanding of how the political process works and how to influence public policy. In order for schools to foster the type of environment where learning conditions help individuals develop social and political qualities, learning is best nurtured in a community context.