Dagmar Schreiber

Ashoka Fellow
Germany,
Fellow Since 2006
Democaris e.V.

Citation

This profile was prepared when Dagmar Schreiber was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Frustrated by the authoritative, top-down style of teaching in German schools that asks too much of teachers while estranging students and parents, Dagmar has built an interactive, inclusive process to be used in any school to overcome these barriers and to make school and learning relevant to everyone involved.Rather than blaming one group for doing things wrong, Dagmar enables headmasters, teachers, parents and students to voice their concerns and viewpoints without fear of losing face. She institutionalizes a feedback system so that each stakeholder can confidentially and individually express their views on what they feel the school is like: how they feel in class, what help they would need, what works well, what they suggest for improvement. While the feedback and response itself has value, the true importance lies in the learning and growing processes that is fostered by the feedback system she puts in place. While safeguarding confidentiality on the individual responses, which are given only to that person, Dagmar also empowers each participant to discuss the collective results, identify problems and discover how many challenges they share.

By lifting the cover of silence that separated these groups from each other, Dagmar guides all stakeholders to develop a common goal and a collective identity as they start talking and listening to each other. Supported by the modules and tools Dagmar offers, they begin caring for their school, tapping into their own newfound community resources and most importantly, taking responsibility for changing and shaping their school environment. Feedback thus becomes a tool for change, not for punishment. Simultaneously, the resulting culture of democratic feedback encourages transparency so that dangerous trends such as abuse of students or looming conflicts can be spotted early.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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