Good co-operation between teachers and pupils is essential for success. Above all, co-operation is manifested in the everyday context through the joint planning of courses and through efforts to agree on the concrete objectives of a series of lessons.
Most consultation and partnership in school take place on an informal basis, but schools also need certain more fixed procedures of consultation and decision making. The purpose of this liberty concerning the planning of conferences in schools is the same as that of the free deployment of resources, namely for activities to be decided on and realistically planned at local level. This question should be covered in the school working plan;
Educational planning can be conducted on a concrete basis together with a particular group of pupils, in a work unit or in a class. In some cases there may be a desire to raise questions which are common to the teaching of a subject in several work units, throughout a school level or in the whole of a school management e.g. questions concerning printed teaching materials. The delegates attending conferences will then have to be selected accordingly. On other occasions the task of a conference may be to plan optional subjects or leisure activities together with associations and parents, or else to plan open air days, joint assemblies or cultural activities in school, in which case conferences of different kinds will be called for.
Educational planning meetings summoned by the headmaster or his nominee must be attended by equal numbers of pupil and teacher representatives, senior level pupil representatives being also entitled to participate in decision making. If planning can be done at class committee meetings attended by all pupils and not only by their representatives, this arrangement is to be preferred. It is important for discussions to be based on alternatives presented by the teachers.
If pupil participation is to be through the medium of representatives, the school must ensure that the representatives have a previous opportunity of discussing matters with their classmates. Afterwards they must be given an opportunity of apprising their classmates of the decisions arrived.
One of the goals of school is to give children and young person's a democratic education. Among other things, pupils must be able, together with their classmates, to allocate duties, organize reports on their work and put on exhibitions, to assume responsibility for younger pupils in need of assistance and to participate in efforts to establish a good environment at school. The pupils need practice in rational argument and in appraising categorical statements and critically examining simplified solutions to complex questions. They must accustom themselves to listening to other people's arguments and suggestions, even if these are very different from their own. They should be encouraged to develop a reflective attitude.
Pupils are to play an active part in shaping the school working environment. Collective duties for different pupil groups are calculated to break down alienation counteract mobbing and vandalizing tendencies and increase the pupils' self-confidence. Activities demanding co-operation and the shouldering of responsibility are a vital contribution towards illustrating the importance of democratic agreements and rules.
The pupils' participation in the internal work of the school also supplements their practical vocational orientation. For example, school library work, participation in the design of their immediate environment, leadership of free activity groups, the arrangement of exhibitions, participation in internal school information through pupil magazines, and the lending of assistance to younger children can provide pupils with a useful understanding of the way in which a workplace operates.
Pupil associations at school provide the pupils with an opportunity of gathering round subjects of common interest. In this way they acquire the habit of acting in various capacities within a regular association, and it becomes second nature to them to abide by democratic decisions but also to endeavor by democratic means to secure alterations to things which they disapprove of. Pupils should be encouraged to distribute elective appointments in class committees, pupil committees and pupil associations evenly between boys and girls. Pupil associations can be of various kinds.
Younger pupils can form hobby societies and class societies, and older pupils can develop societies covering a wide range of activities, e.g. sports, music, reading, drama, photography and various ideological topics such as temperance, religion and politics. The vitality of these societies very often tends to fluctuate, but schools can support and activate them by enabling them to participate in various contexts - for example, by contributing programs to school assemblies, publishing articles in a school magazine, putting on exhibitions etc. By giving them financial assistance, by giving various assignments to individual members and, if possible, by letting teachers who are particularly interested become members of the societies. School societies should have extensive powers of initiating free activities within their several spheres.