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The term class council is derived from the classroom assembly ("Réunion coopérative", "Conseil") of Freinet pedagogy. Freinet did organize the class like an (agricultural) cooperative society. Much like the farmers organize cultivation and marketing of their products together in a cooperative the pupils plan and organize learning themselves. The class council is an agency of self-determination in which all pupils participate with equal rights.
An alternative model of the class council is based on work of Rudolf Dreikurs, a pupil of Alfred Adler. Dreikurs developed the class council based on individual psychology and without reference to Freinet pedagogy as an instrument of problem solving and mediation but not as an agency of self-determination.
The class council can:
In the class council pupils can
The class council is a means to promote citizenship education. The individual learning goals and the social interests of the pupils are the focus of the class council. The self-determination of the class includes economic experience as excursions, common property and consumption items require funding.
Differences between curricular educational objectives and individual learning goals of the pupils may lead to a conflict of interests for the teacher and the class. Experiences in class councils have shown that pupils are eager to follow extra-curricular learning objectives.
During the introduction stage the class teacher can perform the necessary administratory tasks. In a later stage the pupils can rotate the offices of chairman, keeper of the minutes, rule monitor, time monitor and other tasks. The pupils can also determine the agenda.
The agenda for a meeting of the class council can be prepared by pupils. A useful means is a bulletin board/wall newspaper that is used to collect contributions in different categories (e.g. criticism, appreciation, proposals). All pupils in a class can make contributions to the bulletin board.
The teacher is meant to actively reduce his influence and to allow for democratic and social processes in the group. A class left to its own devices may run the risk of encouraging oligarchs. A successful instrument of self-determination supposedly develops best with the support of the teacher in the role of an advisor.
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