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The concept of democratic classroom is controversial for being vague and idealistic. It has been termed more rhetorical than a realistic. Despite of this, the role of democratic classroom in socialization of students has well recognized in every age. Therefore, a noticeable need exists to assess the degree and direction of relationship between democratic classroom and students’ social skill development. Previous studies have reported that classroom environment is a good predictor of social development of students. However, little research has explored the perspectives of students about their social skill development in a classroom environment, particularly focusing the three social skills such as listening to others carefully, waiting for turn and raising hands to ask questions. The present study fills this gap in the current literature on the relationship between democracy and education. The aim of this paper is to examine the effect of democratic classroom environment on social skills development of students. Based on causal comparative design, the study used a self-developed questionnaire to examine the perceptions of 80 male and female students selected on random sampling basis from 20 secondary schools in one district of Khyber Pkahtunkwa, Pakistan. For data analysis, Chi-square test was applied. Results of the study showed that there was no significant difference in the perceptions of male versus female secondary school students regarding the effect of classroom environment on social skills of students. Both equally considered democratic classroom environment important for social skills development. The study concludes that democratic classroom has a positive effect on all the three social skills development of students. DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n2s1p18
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ISSN 2039-9340 (print)
Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences
MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy
Vol 6 No 2 S1
March 2015
18
Empirical Evidence on the Relationship between Democratic Classroom and
Social Skills Development of Students
Iqbal Ahmad1
Hamdan Said2
Ahmad Jusoh3
1,2,3Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
1shahnavi777@hotmail.com, 2p-hamdan@utm.my, 3ahmadj@utm.my
Doi:10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n2s1p18
Abstract
The concept of democratic classroom is controversial for being vague and idealistic. It has been termed more rhetorical than a
realistic. Despite of this, the role of democratic classroom in socialization of students has well recognized in every age.
Therefore, a noticeable need exists to assess the degree and direction of relationship between democratic classroom and
students’ social skill development. Previous studies have reported that classroom environment is a good predictor of social
development of students. However, little research has explored the perspectives of students about their social skill
development in a classroom environment, particularly focusing the three social skills such as listening to others carefully,
waiting for turn and raising hands to ask questions. The present study fills this gap in the current literature on the relationship
between democracy and education. The aim of this paper is to examine the effect of democratic classroom environment on
social skills development of students. Based on causal comparative design, the study used a self-developed questionnaire to
examine the perceptions of 80 male and female students selected on random sampling basis from 20 secondary schools in one
district of Khyber Pkahtunkwa, Pakistan. For data analysis, Chi-square test was applied. Results of the study showed that there
was no significant difference in the perceptions of male versus female secondary school students regarding the effect of
classroom environment on social skills of students. Both equally considered democratic classroom environment important for
social skills development. The study concludes that democratic classroom has a positive effect on all the three social skills
development of students.
Keywords: democratic classroom; social skills; listening to others; waiting for turns; raising hands to ask questions.
1. Introduction
A democratic society needs citizens who are active, participative and have strong sense of justice (Perliger, Canetti-
Nisim, & Pedahzur, 2006; Soder, 1996). Educational institutions are the industries to produce such individuals for the
society (Buchholz, 2013; Vinterek, 2010). Over the years, research has stressed on the need to use such approaches
and pedagogies to help promote such students who could become active and participative citizens for tomorrow
(Thornberg, 2010). One such active concept of education is democratic classroom environment. This study investigates
into the role of democratic classroom on social skills development of students. The term democratic classroom has been
used in a variety of disciplines since 20th century. But there remained little consensus among researchers on its meaning
(Dobozy, 2007). The other aim of this paper is to provide a more operational definition of democratic classroom that may
serve future researchers and practitioners effectively in understanding the relevancy and importance of the democracy as
a way of life that can be taught in classroom (Pass, 2007; Perliger, et al., 2006).
There is a lack of quality empirical research on democratic classroom and its impact on student learning and
development as well as their academic success in terms of social skills development. There are mixed perceptions
regarding this phenomenon (Jennings, Snowberg, Coccia, & Greenberg, 2011). This paper collects and synthesizes
different perspectives on democratic classroom that how it creates an effective and supportive learning environment in
which students learn to become socially useful for the society. In this regard, current research is lacking context-specific
information and does not provide clear perspectives on the application of democratic principles in classroom setting for
promoting social skills of students (Hess, 2009; McTigue & Liew, 2011). There is more to teaching, learning and
schooling than achieving high scores. The score does not fully reflect learning in a holistic way (Press, 2007). Basically,
the aim of schooling is to enrich the lives of children in all respects such as intellectually as well as socially (Trafford,
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2008). The concept of democratic classroom provides a richer and more comprehensive system of education on the
whole. The environment that is provided in a democratic classroom can provide and enrich the lives of children in all
respects (Buchholz, 2013; Pass, 2007).
Over the years, the democratic classrooms have been used for various purposes such as civic education,
character education, group learning and moral development and so on (Tonga, 2014). However, little research exists on
its use for the development of social skills among students (Spencer-Waterman, 2013). Currently, democracy in
classroom is being used as a notion or an approach for reform and social organizations (Bryan & Hayes, 2010).
Interestingly, the meaning of democratic classroom changes with changes in its purpose and way of practicing in a
specific context in this technological age. This gives rise to many questions that what is democratic classroom, what are
its purposes, how it develops students’ social skills and what are its limitations and why democracy should be taught
when it is not fully understood (Harris, 2009). Although this paper does not answer all these questions, the paper
attempts to answer that how democratic classroom develops social skills of students. There is a wealth of literature on
democratic classroom. However, the aim of this paper is to find out its specific role in developing secondary school
students’ social skills development.
2. Literature Review
The concept of democratic classroom emerges from the principles and practices of democracy and how it applies to
classroom life. Basically, the aim is to inform the teaching and learning to create a diverse and equitable learning
community in the classroom (Trafford, 2008). The educational community and society have differing views about the
purpose and aim of education in a democracy society (Morcom & MacCallum, 2012). This research will provide some
clarifications on the aim and role of democratic classroom and its effects of social skills development of students from the
perspectives of male and female students. The practice of democracy in classroom differs from context to context. People
have different beliefs and views about the democracy in education (Goldstein & Brooks, 2007). Some believe that
democracy is associated with the notions of liberal freedom and liberty, while others equate democracy with equality of
opportunity. Some argue that social change occurs through free market practices (Davis, 2010; Narvaez, 2010).
Therefore, for understating the true meaning of democracy, it is essential to contextualize it. The concept of democracy is
very broad and reaches beyond educational purpose (Peterson, 2012).
Research has established that democratic classroom can create effective citizens by providing the students an
opportunity to understand and analyze the interplay of social development, education and democracy and develop skills
and commitments for serving and improving the society (Epstein & Oyler, 2008). The interactions and experiences within
a classroom environment lay the foundation for the development for socially useful citizens for future (Ponder & Lewis-
Ferrell, 2009). Researchers argue that all students have the right to grow socially in a truly democratic classroom. They
should not come just for learning. The original aim of education is to take the students beyond the classroom borders into
the life and community as active citizens. They should find an opportunity to learn and practice along with an active
exercise of culture, language and social ethics. This will help them to explore their own individual freedom and autonomy
(Dimick, 2012). Classroom is a miniature society where learners find opportunities for wider interactions among
themselves which lays the foundation for their social development (Edwards, 2010). Basically, classroom is a place
where academic and social interaction takes place. It is a place where teacher and student interact and influence each
other (Ahmad, et al., 2014). As a result, students get guidance and education. Most specifically, it is a place which is
characterized by students who come from different social-economic backgrounds, cultures and geographical locations
(Bryan & Hayes, 2010). This diversity creates an ample opportunity for them to share their own experiences as well as
get knowledge about other different cultures, ways of life and people (Tammi, 2013).
Researchers argue that in classrooms, students participate in different academic activities and have interactions
with their classmates during the classroom activities. These interactions have deeper and far reaching effect on their
behaviors and attitudes in varying degrees. This provides a supportive ground for socialization. Consequently, they get
new knowledge and develop social skills (Narvaez, 2010; Trafford, 2008). Writers say that for all this to happen,
cooperative and supportive class environment is necessary. They argue that in such an environment, students learn
cooperation, trust and observance of responsibility and democratic behaviours (Goodman, 2007). According to some
writers, classroom is a forum where students and teacher interact and share their thoughts freely and openly. In view of
some writers in such an environment, students become active learners. This type of environment also creates confidence
and trust among them which leads to their better socialization (Oakes & Lipton, 2007). Some other writers report that in
an open classroom atmosphere, students feel respected and cared. This feeling strengthens their self-esteem which is
one of the basic principles for successful learning. In a democratic classroom, students can take part in the discussions
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(Oakes & Lipton, 2002). They can take decisions and are responsible for their own learning. Research has found that in a
democratic class environment students become self-directed learners. They know when to ask questions and give
answers to others’ questions (Furman & Starratt, 2002).
Studies have reported that in such as classroom teacher acts as guide and facilitator of the teaching and learning
process rather than taking authoritative role. The teacher guides the students and does not dictate them rather monitors
their activities (Neumann, Jones, & Webb, 2012). Some researchers have established that a friendly and supportive
classroom environment positively shapes students’ personality, because, in such a class, students get respect and care
from the teachers and peers. On the contrary, in a non-supportive classroom students do not grow socially. They cannot
easily share their views. Consequently, they become passive, inactive and quiet (Toth & Morrison, 2011).
2.1 Concept of democratic classroom
The concept of democratic classroom environment lies in controversy. There are many definitions given by scholars
(Achinstein & Barrett, 2004). However, scholars are unanimous on one definition that democratic classroom is a place
where students can openly share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences with their classmates (Achinstein & Barrett,
2004). In view of some researchers, democratic classroom is a safe and cooperative classroom environment where
students find better opportunity to make choices, to speak and feel encouraged to participate in the discussions and to
contribute (Pane, 2010). Basically, such type of classroom is called an engaged classroom. It provides a rich ground for
the development of self-confident, self-directed, and contributory students. These ideas basically emphasize on a caring
and cooperative classroom atmosphere (Acker-Hocevar & Schoorman, 2006).
The concept of democratic classroom environment is rooted in the philosophical thoughts of twentieth century
progressive educational reformer John Dewey. He was a staunch supporter of freedom and democracy in education. He
says that the basic aim of education is to produce, active, participative and contributory citizen leaders for the society. For
the achievement of this goal, he advocated democracy in education (Louis, 2003). Today’s’ writers also support the views
of John Dewey that for producing active and responsible citizens, it is necessary to adopt supportive and encouraging
environment where students may find good opportunities for sharing their ideas, interacting with peers and taking
decisions independently. This will add to their confidence and sense of self-efficacy. They will develop the belief that they
are able to contribute towards the good of others (Finkel & Smith, 2011).
Researchers have highlighted that students’ socialization is associated with teachers’ instructional beliefs and
practices. In the social learning theory, it is mentioned that students learn on the basis of modelling. Social learning
theory provides the theoretical foundation for the concept of democratic classroom environment and students’ social skills
development (Pasek, Feldman, Romer, & Jamieson, 2008). Writers argue that for social skills development, students
must be taught how to listen to others, wait for their turns to speak or to participate in a discussion. However, it has been
found that students never practice such values in a typical traditional classroom, where the aim of learning is getting
knowledge and information to become change agent for the society. For this, writers argue that students must be
provided with opportunities to participate in various activities to apply the newly gained knowledge and to practice it
(Collins, 2009; Schweisfurth, 2011). To achieve this aim, it is essential that teachers should adopt flexible and
cooperative ways and means in their instructional methods. Some writers explain that conversely, in a non-democratic
classroom environment, the main source of information for the students is only the textbook and the teacher. There are
least interactive activities where the students could share their experiences through positive interaction (Watkins, 2005).
Writers have lamented that the process of teaching and learning in Pakistani school classrooms is traditional,
bookish and boring. This leads to promotion of culture of silence in the class where students come and memorize the
text. They do not find opportunities for vast and meaningful interactions (Putney & Broughton, 2011). Unfortunately,
teachers do not create classroom environment where students are able to participate as active learners. In another study,
it was found that in non-democratic classrooms, knowledge is transmitted to students through lectures and textbooks
(Campbell & Sasnett, 2011). In Pakistani schools, textbook is considered as the main source of knowledge or instrument.
Teachers do not create an enabling classroom environment where students could freely interact, cooperate and share
their own experiences, rather, students are expected to rote learn the text and reproduce it in examination (Kaufer,
Gunawardena, Tan, & Cheek, 2011). This academic environment in the schools has contributed to the socialization of
obedient and passive citizens who lack critical thinking, questioning, decision-making and problem-solving skills (Crisp &
Turner, 2011).
Literature reports that the aim of education is not to have students memorize information and reproduce it at the
demand of teacher or system, rather, it s aim it to create socially active members for the society (Lewis & Burman, 2008).
This goal can be achieved if schools provide learners with wider opportunities for socialization and development.
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Therefore, writers have advised that teachers should create such a caring and supportive academic environment where
students are able to express and apply their capabilities and demonstrate their creativities freely as active social
members of the society (Edelstein, 2011).
2.2 Democratic classroom and social skills
Social skills are highly important to prepare young people for their future roles as responsible adults within their families,
workplaces and communities (Brint, Contreras, & Matthews, 2001; Friedman, 2010). Writers have suggested for involving
students in classroom as a community and guide them in their social lives along academic, personal and future
professional responsibilities (Burk & Fry, 1997). Educators must know that learning is a social process (Bandura, 1986;
Inhelder & Piaget, 2013). Actually they may learn something individually, but ultimately the basis of sustainable learning
and social development is interaction. This concept highlights the importance of democratic education for social
development (Soder, 1996; Trafford, 2008).
There is a close relationship between democratic classroom and students’ social skills development (Angell, 1991).
Writers argue that in a caring and democratic classroom environment, students grow socially, intellectually and morally
(Collins, 2009; Schweisfurth, 2011). For social development it is essential that teachers must understand the classroom
management skills. It is thus, a major point to discuss that how teachers can achieve this goal (Giroux & Penna, 1979).
For this purpose, writers argue that though training and development, teachers may be educated on how democracy can
be infused into students’ minds (Ehman, 1969; Friedman, 2010). A research study on social study, students showed that
engagement in a democratic classroom developed their social skills such as waiting for turn and listening to their peers,
teachers and even parents at home (Colin & Heaney, 2001). Due to this, writers have urged on the educational
institutions and especially teachers to set up such learning environment where students could learn how to interact, argue
and work together. This is an important foundation for future citizenship (Hepburn, 1983; Kubow & Kinney, 2000).
The idea of democratic classroom existed since 19th century. Studies have shown that the socialization of young
people is connected with the concept of social freedom and academic empowerment (Pasek, et al., 2008). Schools may
provide the best practical ground for this purpose. There is a general belief that schools provide civic training to students
where they find an opportunity for open discussion and participation in real educative activities (Pohan, 2003). An earlier
study reported that when teachers encourage open discussion in the classroom, students learn many social skills such as
respect, care, raising hands for permission to share views and even actively participate in all activities (McNeil, 1981).
Democratic classroom interaction consists of active participation of students in their own learning, showing cooperation,
respect and recognition of others contributions. Apart from providing active learning opportunities, democratic classroom
also enhances civic knowledge and participation and citizenship (McLennan, 2009). The understanding of Dewey about
the concept of democracy as a way of life in a classroom is essential to not only understands the role of democratic
classroom but also of teachers in social skills development of students. Dewey further argues that teachers are social
change agents. They can play a key role in shaping and reshaping the society on democratic grounds. Classroom can be
seen as a microcosm of the wider society (Burk & Fry, 1997).
To achieve this goal, researchers highlighted the role of teacher to be very crucial in building a democratic class
culture (Watson & Battistich, 2006). Students in democratic classroom become very much concerned for one another and
help each others on various occasions (Parker, 2010). A democratic classroom culture is characterized by principles of
democracy such as cooperation, tolerance and justice. This culture can be developed by active participation and
engagement of students in real life activities during the class. If the students could keep open mind, they will positively
respond to diversity and foster civic social engagement which is the foundation for socialization (Brint, et al., 2001).
Researchers have further clarified that in a democratic class, students are more likely to respond to diversity, actively
listen to others and consider each other’ feelings (Harwood, 1992). The willingness to express one’s thoughts is important
for becoming active and participative citizens. In a democratic classroom, students are encouraged to share their views
with others (Gniewosz & Noack, 2008; Larrivee, 2002). This promotes culture of communication which foster such an
environment which reflects democratic principles in action (Cornett & Gaudelli, 2003). Studies have concluded that
democratic classroom is a place where students’ ultimate socialization takes place. It is also called a classroom of voices
and ears where the teachers strongly believe in democratic ideals and ideas, freedom and compassion, respect and care
and students take the responsibility for their own social actions and development (Pace & Hemmings, 2006).
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3. Research Methodology
3.1 Objectives of the study
The main objectives of this study were to:
1. Examine the effect of democratic classroom on social skills development of students.
2. Compare the perceptions of students on the effect of democratic classroom on their social skills development.
3.2 Hypothesis
H0.: There is no significant difference in the perceptions of male versus female students regarding the effect of democratic
classroom on their social skills related to (a) waiting for turn, (b) raising hands for asking questions and (c) listening to
others carefully.
3.3 Conceptual framework
Figure 1 presents the conceptual framework for this study. The conceptual was developed based on literature on
democratic classroom and education. The framework explains the effect of democratic classroom environment on social
skill development of students such as waiting for their turn, listening to others carefully and raising hands for asking
questions.
Figure 1: Conceptual framework
3.4 Participants
This quantitative study used causal comparative design. The reason is that the researchers were interested to find out the
effects of the independent variable (democratic classroom environment) on the dependent variable (social skills
enhancement). The population of this study includes all the male and female secondary school students of District Chitral.
Eighty (80) students were randomly sampled from 20 secondary schools of the district. A properly selected sample
enables the researchers to generalize the results and it is the representation of the whole population from which it is
selected (Gay, Mills, & Airasian, 2006). The schools were selected on the basis of geographical proximity. Since this was
self-financed research work and it was difficult for the researchers to collect data from schools located in remote areas
due to financial and time constraints.
3.5 Instrumentation
A self-administered questionnaire was designed to collect data. The researchers sought expert opinions of three
Professors of Education to ensure the validity of the items. For reliability check, the questionnaire was piloted in ten
schools. Pilot study is a worthwhile phase in the scientific research process (Gay, Mills, & Airasian, 2009). It helps in
indicating the mistakes within the selected instruments by allowing testing on small number of people. As a result of the
pilot study, errors were rectified and got refined (Gay, et al., 2009). The questionnaire used in this study had the informed
consent of all the participants. In this way, the confidentiality and anonymity of the participants were fully ensured. The
questionnaire was also coded to further ensure anonymity of the research participants. It was stated on the questionnaire
to the participants.
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3.6 Data analysis
Statistical analysis is a cyclical process. It normally focuses the events, participants or context and also describes the
situation from the point of view of the research participants. For the data analysis, different tests of significance are used
such as test of independent sample, non-independent sample, and Chi-square (X). Statistical analysis is a major step in
research process. The correctness and authenticity of the study depends on the calculations taken from the responses of
the sample. On the basis of this, it becomes clear whether the hypothesis is accepted or rejected at the required level of
the significances. For this study, Chi-square was selected as the test of significance. It is two dimensional in nature and
can clarify different categories. It was highly suitable for satisfactory analysis of nominal data that the researchers
obtained from this study. It was found to be very convenient for data analysis.
4. Findings and Discussion
4.1 Description of demographic data
Table 1: Total male and female students and number of schools involved in the study
Male School Female School Total
School 10 10 20
Student 40 40 80
Table 1 shows that there were 10 male secondary schools and 10 female secondary shools involved in this study. Each
school was represented by 4 students. A total of 20 secondary schools and 80 secondary students participated in this
study.
4.2 Test of hypothesis
H0: There is no significant difference in the perceptions of male versus female students regarding the effect of democratic
classroom environment on the social skills related to waiting for turn, listening to others carefully and raising hands for
asking questions.
Table 2: The Chi Square test on perceptions regarding the effect of democratic classroom environment social skill
Category High level of agreement
22--35 Low level of agreement
07----21 Row Total
Male 35 05 40
87.5 % 12.5 % 100%
Female 34 6 40
85 % 15 % 100%
Column Total 69 11 80
86.25 % 13.75 % 100%
χ
2 = 0.105 P<. 0.05 df =1
Since the calculated value of Chi Square (.105) is less than the tabled value (3.841) at 0.05% level of significance and
df=1, therefore, the null hypothesis would not be rejected, rather it is accepted. It is confirmed that there is no significance
difference in the perceptions of male versus female students regarding the effect of democratic classroom environment
on the social skills development related to (1) waiting for their turn, (2) listening to others carefully and (3) raising hands
for asking questions.
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Figure 2
Moreover, for further clarification, the results for each statement in the questionnaire contributing to the acceptance of the
hypothesis are indicated in the tables 3a for male students and 3b for female students. In both the tables the agreements
and disagreements among the male and female students have also been shown. The responses have also been ranked
to show the level of agreement or disagreement among the students to any statement.
Table 3a. Responses of male students regarding the effect of democratic classroom environment on their social skills
development
No In democratic classroom students are Ran
k
A
gree Unsure Disagree Total
1 motivated to help each other in the class 3 31 07 02 40
77.5% 17.5% 5% 100%
2 listen to others carefully 7 28 10 02 40
70% 25 % 5% 100%
3 inactive in sharing classroom responsibilities. * 5.5 02 09 29 40
5 % 22.5% 72.5% 100%
4 raise hands to ask questions 2 33 06 02 40
82 % 15 % 5 % 100%
5 wait for their turn to share views 4 30 07 03 40
75 % 17.5 % 7.5 % 100%
6 ready to listen to others opinions with attention. 1 34 05 01 40
85% 12.5 % 2.5% 100%
7 unable to control their emotions. * 5.5 02 09 29 40
5 % 22.5% 72.5 % 100%
Table 3b. Responses of female students regarding the effect of democratic classroom environment on their social skills
development
No In a democratic classroom students are Ran
k
A
gree Unsure Disagree Total
1 motivated to help each other in the class 1.5 33 05 03 40
82.5% 12.5% 7.5 % 100%
2 listen to others carefully 4.5 31 07 02 40
77.5 % 17.5 % 5 % 100%
3 inactive in sharing classroom responsibilities. * 6.5 02 07 30 40
5 % 17.5% 75 % 100%
4 raise hands to ask questions 6.5 30 07 03 40
75 % 17.5 % 7.5 % 100%
5 wait for their turn to share views 3 32 07 01 40
80 % 17.5 % 2.5% 100%
6 ready to listen to others opinion with attention. 1.5 33 05 02 40
82.5 % 12.5 % 5 % 100%
7 unable to control their emotions. * 4.5 02 07 31 40
5 % 17.5 % 77.5 % 100%
Tables 3a and 3b show that there is a high level of agreement between male and female students regarding statement
one which is a positive statement. A total of 82% female and 77% male students agree that in democratic classroom
environment students help each other. In statement two there is a high level of agreement too between the perceptions
because 70% male and only 77% female students have agreed that students listen to others carefully in a democratic
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classroom. It shows a high significant agreement. In statement three, which is a negative statement, 72% male and 75%
female students have disagreed that students are not inactive in sharing classroom responsibilities. To statement four, a
total of 82% male and 75 % female students have agreed that in such a class students raise hands to ask questions.
There is also much similarity in the opinions of teachers regarding statement five with 80% female and only 75 % male
agreeing to the statement that students wait for their turn to ask questions in a democratic classroom. To statement
seven which is a negative statement that students in a democratic classroom are inactive to share their responsibilities,
77% female and 72% male have shown strong disagreements. It shows that both female and male students perceive that
democratic classroom environment plays a great role in the improvement of social skills development.
5. Concluding Remarks
The purpose of this paper is to examine the effect of democratic classroom environment on communication skills
development of students. The results show that there is no significance difference in the perceptions of male and female
students regarding the effect of democratic classroom on their social skills development. In the analysis, both
respondents, that is, male and female students show a high level of agreement towards the contribution of democratic
classroom environment in enhancing their social skills in all the three areas such as waiting for turn, listing to others
carefully and raising hands for asking questions. Considering the Chi-Square test, it appears that both male and female
students strongly believe that a democratic classroom environment improves their social skills development. The paper
concludes that democratic classroom is a strong predictor of social skills development of students. More specifically, in a
democratic classroom, students wait for their turn to share their views, listen to others carefully and also raise their hands
to ask questions.
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... One of the active concepts and approaches in education which has been stressed over the years by research is democratic classroom environment (Ahmad et al., 2015). The concept of democratic classroom environment is attributed to the educational reformer "John Dewey" and his philosophical thoughts which staunchly support freedom and democracy in education (Louis, 2003). ...
... Citizenship education seeks to educate citizens who will be free to make their own judgments and hold their own convictions (UNESCO, 2010). Such individuals are produced for their society by industries, such as the educational institutions (Ahmad et al., 2015;Buchholz, 2013). Citizenship education should be transformative (Banks, 2017) and transformative civic education will develop citizens who critically reflect on societal issues. ...
... The Students perceived that it would be worthwhile giving them opportunity/freedom which includes expressing themselves in the class, developing their exceptional abilities, generating their own personalized ideas on the subject matter and having classroom discussions with fellow students. This finding is supported by Ahmad et al. (2015) who reported that both female and male students in their study perceived democratic classroom environment as playing a great role in improving students' social skills development. Majority of the students agreed that they listen to one another carefully during a classroom discussion in a democratic classroom. ...
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Democratic classroom practices are all strategies adopted by classroom teachers to actively engage students in the learning processes. Considerable literature assessing influence of Civic Education on youths’ active participation in a democratic society exists. Not much have reported an empirically conducted study on classroom best practices adopted by Civic Education teachers in the Global South. This paper examines classroom democratization by Civic Education teachers in South East Nigeria, students’ and teachers’ perceptions of democratic classroom, and challenges confronting classroom democratization. Focus Group Discussion and Democratic classroom questionnaire were used to elicit information from 151 civic education teachers and 1400 senior secondary school one (SS1) students. Findings revealed that Civic Education teachers in South East Nigeria adopted democratic classroom practices marginally. Recommendation includes more adoption of democratic classroom best practices for development of students’ critical thinking abilities, preparing them to become participatory in their civic duties and reducing crimes among today’s youths.
... They provide opportunities for students to understand the advantages of getting in touch with people who are different from them and to learn about different cultures, lifestyles, and people. In such an environment, students also gain some values such as cooperation, trust, responsibility, and democratic behaviors (Ahmad et al., 2015;Jacobs & Power, 2016). ...
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Our research aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the democracy and human rights course taught with a "Learning Model Based on Democratic Life." The study was conducted with an action research design. The research study group, determined using purposeful sampling, consisted of 10 students taking a Democracy and Human Rights course at a state university in Turkey. Data were collected using "Process Evaluation Forms" and "Student Letters." Content analysis was used in the analysis of the data. We concluded that the students thought the Learning Model Based on Democratic Life supported their participation, was efficient and interesting, contributed to the formation of a democratic classroom environment, and enabled them to learn democracy in democratic ways.
... In fact, democracy which is a good regime also accepted as the ideal politic part of 21 st century (Kıncal, 2007). Implementation of the democracy is also possible with the fact has positive effects on the development of students' social skills (Ahmad, Said &Jusoh, 2015). The fact that classroom environment is important for gaining democratic values also proved in an experimental study done with the 6 th Grade middle school students in Istanbul in our country. ...
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This study has been carried out in order to determine the school assembly election attitudes of high school students. This descriptive study has been performed with 1380 students from 9th, 10th and 11th grades who attended center high schools of Aydin in 2014 – 2015 Academic Year. Demographic information form which was generated by researchers and five point likert scale was used in collection of data. PASW 18.0 packet software was used in the analysis of the data obtained from the study. It has been determined that 59 % of students were girls, 41% were boys, 63% were around 15-16 years old, 35% were 17 and over it, 37% from Vocational and Technical Anatolian high school, 24% from Anatolian high school, 13% from high school, 10% from religious(Imam Hatip) high school, 6% from science high school, 5% from fine arts high school 4% from social sciences high school when the demographic features of students were assessed. When we look at their attitudes of school student president (or ASB president) elections; answers of students given for school student president (or ASB president) election loaded in to 4 factorial sub dimensions. And those are listed as follows: being a social person, having representative ability, importance of physical features and wanting to be school student president (or ASB president) qualities. 75 % of students describes voting in school assembly elections as a responsibility, 53 % of the students considers that elections are carried out in a fair and democratic manner, most of the youth have democratic values and minded participation rights. During the above mentioned candidateship period, it is criticized that candidates are committing financial supports, and there is no limit for those financial commitments.
... This is specifically true in the science classroom, where scientific experiments need planning and taking decisions (Barton, Basu, Johnson, & Tan, 2011), and where argument and argumentative practice are a core activity (Driver, Newton, & Osborne, 2000). On the other hand, there is a lack of empirical research on educational constructs related to democracy in the classroom (Ahmad, Said, & Jusoh, 2015). This is especially true for the science classroom, though there are some voices that call for democratic environment in this classroom . ...
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The constructivist learning approach is suggested as a means for facilitating students’ learning of science and increasing their participation in this learning. Several studies have shown the contribution of this approach to the different aspects of students’ learning of science, though little research has examined the contribution of this approach to the democratic environment of the science classroom. The present study attempted to do so. 34 grade 5 science students studied the energy unit of the science book using the V-shape strategy, and 38 grade 5 science students studied the same unit without using the strategy. The research results show that students who used the V-shape strategy had significantly higher scores in democratic practices than students who did not use the strategy. Moreover, the democratic practices in the science classroom were not influenced significantly by the independent variables (science ability, general ability, and preferred subject). The results of the current study also show that, in the experimental group, only the correlation between involvement and freedom was significant, while in the control group, all of the correlations among involvement, freedom, and equality were significant.
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The democratic environment plays a significant role in active learning and the development of social values among students. Democracy cannot be brought to the classroom but necessarily be developed there. Positivism was the paradigm and the key objective of this study was to examine the perception of university students about democratic classroom environment. A survey method was used and a questionnaire was filled out by university students (n=120). The questionnaire comprised of basic values (freedom, equality, and justice) of democracy. The data were analyzed using the SPSS and descriptive statistics. The findings revealed that there are no statistically significant differences between male and female students’ knowledge. The results provide significant information in reaching conclusion. The findings disclosed that if university teachers democratize their teaching, students learn more effectively. It is vital to nurture and grow democratic values in the students during learning experiences which would lead to a fairer society.
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Though there exists considerable literature exploring the connections between mathematics education and democratic society, much of this literature is theoretical about what could or should occur. This situation has led some researchers to call for the development of empirical research regarding democratic practices in the mathematics classroom. This paper attempts to advance quantitative empirical research in this area by presenting a questionnaire that examines students' perceptions of four democratic factors: freedom, engagement, equality and justice. The proposed questionnaire is factorable and explains 58.72% of the variance of a more general democracy score. The questionnaire was distributed to 398 ninth grade students, and the data collected was analyzed by computing a one sample t-test to assess participants' scores in relation to the four democratic factors. The results indicated scores are 'less than the good'.
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