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Another School Is Possible -Başka Bir Okul Mümkün
A New Model of School
Dr. Burak Ülman, Coordinator
The BBOM’s idea is to establish across Turkey democratic schools that are child-centred and encourage and enable children's self-actualization; that are governed through participatory democracy; that are ecological aware in their practices and in their learning environment; and that are fee-paying but non-profit making and also includes children of disadvantaged groups with high levels of scholarships. This school model is indeed based on 4 pillars:
1. The New Finance – Community Schools: BBOM is proposing an alternative to financial duality and facilitating parents and volunteers to open up and run their non-profit making/affordable schools under education cooperatives.
2. Democratic Schooling: Schools be run through participatory democracy has been a central vision of BBOM’s since its establishment in 2010. All stakeholders will have equal rights to directly contribute to all the decisions, and sustainable mechanisms to ensure children’s contribution will be secured”.
3. Ecological Schools: Environment and an ecologically friendly approach is another key pillar of BBOM schools, children constantly develop gamified ways to care for the environment better, including games with recycled materials, measuring the school’s carbon footprint and finding fun methods to reduce it.
4. Child-centred Education: BBOM’s child-centred focus goes way beyond tokenistic gestures and the children have input into every single aspect of school life. That also includes the educational path that the individual child is choosing to follow. BBOM accepts that every child is unique with his/her needs, capacities and interests and therefore the individual child should put him/herself into the centre of his/her own learning journey. Through this individualised programme the child will be self-actualising his/her best and won’t feel “failing” but will be feeling “doing his/her best within his/her decisions”.
BBOM is aiming to provide a real and sustainable model that is “replicable” across the country. With some initial good examples the project have shown that parents with similar concerns, approach to education and respect to their children can come together and open up their own schools. The popular demand on BBOM schools shows that BBOM has been achieved to be a real alternative to the current system. At the moment it is much more like a snow-ball effect that BBOM has, which hopefully will be a sizable civil educational movement to change the system. The system change won’t probably happen just in terms of spreading the BBOM schools but also in terms of pushing all schools –public or private- to raise their standards in being more democratic, child-centred and ecologically aware.
BBOM has started a mind-set change about a possible of “alternative models” of schooling as well as teacher’s training. After 6 years of operation on the ground, BBOM have realised 2 important facts: First the physical expansion of BBOM schools will be relatively slow and second without BBOM-minded teachers it is impossible to expand quickly. These two facts pushed BBOM to organise its own teacher’s training programmes in 2105. BBOM teachers’ training program is running its 5th year in 2019 and so far around 5000 teachers applied and more than 200 of them have been accepted and have taken the trainings. The teachers’ training programme involves very fundamental modules such as “children’s rights”, “non-violent communication”, “positive discipline”, “democratic class and school management”, "ecological curriculum". With the teacher’s training programme BBOM is hoping to spread the idea across the country.
BBOM is also started to do its own publications and to produce its educational materials in order to spread its approach to education. Similarly BBOM is organizing seminars and conferences to disseminate its approach to education.