Walter Hövel, Sara Roth, Christine Schaumann,Ulrike Schulte
Report (über das Comeniusprojekt von 2003/4)




I didn’t expect more than 20 people from 6 countries to be like that. Everybody of them had come with the same aim. They all wanted to work on democracy.




None of them wanted to visit foreign countries under the headline of a not wanted purpose. They all wanted to know about the attempts of the others. They all met in a democratic way during the seminar. They all wanted to increase their daily practise of their schools. They all wanted more personal knowledge of the topic.




And how similar our ideas, experiences and problems are, no matter if you come from the “old part” like Austria, Germany or Spain, or from the “new” one like Estonia, Lithuania or Slovenia. I very soon had that feeling to be together not only with European neighbours, but with old new or new old friends.




And, no showing off or boring each other with long “scientific” speeches, but a deep knowledge of background and everyday school life expressed in one common language.




And what a fireworks of needs, topics, interests and questions: Can we evaluate democracy?, What is the relationship between atmosphere and democracy?, How do you do it in your school, at your university?, What about rules?”, What does democracy mean to me?, How to live it?, Can you teach democracy?, Is democracy different in our countries? Can democracy and freedom be realized in curricula?, Targets, Moral, Self-responsibility, Can learning be democratic? Is the first day in school democratic? Personality, Different meanings and opinions on democracy, Are children democratic?, What is democracy for children?, Constructivism and democracy, Learning from experiences, How to reflect with children?, An international multi cultural idea of democracy, Self-determination, Definitions, Minorities, Can the voting of a majority mean democracy?, Gender problems, Problems with governments or social groups,




Attitude between adults and children, “To be quiet, not to make them quiet”, Public opinion, school and education, The opinion of a child, The picture of a child, How to open classes, teachers, schools, societies?, Tolerance, Parents, Students, Traditions, Discipline, Independence, Protection of democracy, Reports, Examples, Testing, marking, ranking in democracy? What is democratic knowledge?, Democracy in the classroom, Taking influence on policy?, Non motivated teachers, The medieval system school, Where and when does democracy start?




And how easy going the working groups were! Not confused by the variety of the topic, but lead by every single person willing to cooperate, to listen and understand the others, willing to learn from equal human beings who want to live their school life in a democratic way.




See you soon friends!


Walter Hövel






Erstes Treffen des Comenius-Projektes „Demokratie und Schule“ in Klagenfurt vom 04.10. – 07.10.04


Ich sitze hier in Österreich, rechts neben mir eine Estin, links neben mir eine Slowenin, ich rede Englisch und schreibe auf französisches Papier. So oder ähnlich lässt sich der Beginn des Projekttreffens beschreiben. Durch eine Vorstellrunde machten wir uns in kleinen Gruppen miteinander bekannt. Schnell wurde dabei deutlich, wie unterschiedlich die Erfahrungen und Arbeitsbedingungen der einzelnen TeilnehmerInnen waren. Sogleich entstand dadurch ein äußerst intensiver Austausch. Auch bei gemeinsamen Ausflügen durch Kärnten und nach Ljubljana lernten wir nicht nur Land und Leute, sondern auch einzelne Teilnehmer besser kennen und führten intensive informelle Gespräche.




Wie die Erfahrungen waren auch die Erwartungen der Teilnehmer/innen an das Comenius-Projekt dementsprechend unterschiedlich und vielfältig. So entstanden Arbeitsgruppen zu den Themen Demokratie und Curriculum, Parents’ relationship, Demokratie in Klasse und Schule und zur Planung eines Demokratie-Projektes mit Kindern. In unserer Arbeitsgruppe zur Planung des Demokratie-Projektes versuchten wir einen Weg zu finden, wie Kinder ihre Sicht von Demokratie oder Nicht-Demokratie ausdrücken können.




Dabei entstand eine Sammlung von an Kinder gerichtete Fragen, über die Kinder in die Auseinandersetzung mit Demokratie kommen können. Diese Fragen stellten wir am Ende der Tagung im Plenum vor. Dort wurde vereinbart, dass die teilnehmenden Schulen bis zum nächsten Treffen mit Kindern an den Fragen arbeiten werden.




Nun ist es für uns bis zum nächsten Treffen sehr spannend, wie die Reaktionen der Kinder aus fünf sehr unterschiedlichen Ländern sein werden. Reagieren z. B. Kinder aus Estland anders als Kinder aus Spanien? Wo sind Gemeinsamkeiten, wo gibt es Unterschiede? Wir freuen uns schon darauf, mit den Kindern unserer Schule an dem Demokratie-Projekt zu arbeiten.


Sara Roth




First meeting in Klagenfurt 4th -7th of October – Report


First of all I want to thank the Austrian delegation, especially Pia-Maria Rabensteiner for the perfect organisation of our first meeting. “Cap Wörth” was a really nice place and on the sightseeing trips we saw a lot of beautiful spots.




In the first working group I soon realized that everybody had different starting-points for the meeting. I learned that in some countries (for example Estonia and Slovenia) the school system is stricter than the one in Germany. So I could understand that the teachers from these countries see problems in giving more freedom to the children and their work. They had the wish to learn more about alternatives to the usual way of teaching. I myself focused more on talking about the way of how to come in touch with children about the topic democracy. I am interested in what children think about democracy and where they are confronted with democracy in their lives. I think the realization of democratic structures in the “Grundschule Harmonie” in Eitiorf/ Germany is on a good and progressive way.




At first I was a little bit confused about the different interpretations of the phrase “to live democracy in classrooms”. It seemed to me that every single one of us had a completely different idea of what the topic means to him or her. I don’t think democracy is a subject which can be taught. but it must be lived. Democracy has to be a self- evident part of daily life at school. It once again comes clear to me that I believe children can organize their own ways of learning if they have the possibility to do so. It was really difficult to talk about this topic because the class where I have my practical training has a very special way of living democracy. Falko Peschel the teacher of this class, practices a radical form of “open education” (“Offener Unterricht”) which includes democracy in its full extension I am looking forward to the time when the hole group of our meeting comes to German to see the way children and teachers live and learn together in this school. It might be that it is easier to talk about this idea if you have seen the way it works out.




For me as a student it was interesting to see how the teacher training at the “Pädagogische Akadamie” in Klagenfurt/Austria is like. I think the close connection between practice and theory in Austria is much better than the education far away from practice in Germany. The obligatory practical training in Germany contains only 9 weeks during the whole studies. I think it is not enough time to realize whether the profession of to be a teacher is the right one for you or not. I had the impression that the teachers in Austria get a wider education than the ones in Germany. Austrian students are taught in all primary school subjects, not only in three ones as in Germany




The groupwork about the topic “what children think about democracy? was very intersting and I learned a lot. I think we established a good basis for the work in the schools and I am really curious about what kind of project we put into practice here in Germany. I look forward to seeing all the other people in May in Germany. I am interested in how all the others worked on the topics and I`m sure there will be many different approaches how every person has worked on the topic. I am curious to hear about it and to discuss the different views.


Sara Roth



Neben der Arbeit und dem Austausch in den Gruppen erlebten wir unterschiedliche Schulen und Bildungssysteme bei unseren Hospitationen in der Volksschule der Pädagogischen Akademie und der Volksschule Nr. 20 in Klagenfurt und in der Schule in Zirovnica in Slowenien.




Bei Gesprächen mit Student/innen und Kolleg/nnen in der Akademie empfanden wir die Lehrerausbildung in Österreich vom ersten Semester an als sehr praxisorientiert, vielseitig und grundlegend. In Slowenien hatten wir aufgrund der räumlichen und materiellen Ausstattung und der guten personellen Besetzung in der Schule das Gefühl, dass die Bildung in der slowenischen Gesellschaft einen sehr hohen Wert hat.




Insgesamt waren wir sehr angerührt davon, dass Menschen aus verschiedenen Ländern zusammenkommen um einander kennen zu lernen, sich auszutauschen, miteinander und voneinander zu lernen und zusammenzuarbeiten. Dazu gehört für uns ein Menschenbild, das Unterschiede respektiert und achtet und somit Demokratie lebendig macht. Wir freuen uns auf das nächste Treffen im Frühjahr 2005 in Eitorf!


Christine Schaumann und Ulli Schulte