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Guide 

to the sociocratic election of class representatives

to strengthen youth leadership

4 x 2 school
hours

10-30
pupils

age
14+

Session1:

Preparation

  • Introduction to Sociocracy​​​

  • Motivation and goals

  • Speak in rounds

Session 2:

Role description

  • Role description of the class representative election

  • Decide the role description by consent

Session 3: 

Election

  • Fill in the nomination sheet

  • First nomination round

  • Second nomination round

  • Find consent

Session 4: 

Reflexion

  • Reflect on the election

Session 1: Preparation

Introduction to Sociocracy

The preparation phase will benefit the understanding of the students why the election is conducted differently this time. If the students are practitioners of speaking in rounds this will accelerate the open election process and give it more meaning. 

The first step is getting to know the principles, theories as well as basic definitions and processes of sociocracy as preparation for doing the sociocratic election in class.

alternatively use print out Worksheet 1.1. "Introduction to sociocracy" from the material package.

Video "What is sociocracy?"

Motivations and goals

Discuss with the students why the election of class representatives will be different this year and increase their motivation. Depending on your and your pupil's relevant learning goals and subjects connect the election process to build a bridge to it, eg. inclusion, respect, SDGs (UN sustainable development goals: specifically the goals 3, 5, 10 and 16). 

 

Invite your students to reflect on some of the questions from the worksheet 1.2. individually. They share their thoughts in the next step.

alternatively use print out Worksheets 1.2. "Motivation and goals - basic & advanced"from the material package.

Speak in rounds: Initiate a new communication culture

Video "Why do we speak in rounds?"

alternatively use print out Worksheets 1.3. "Speak in Rounds"from the material package.

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Speak in rounds: Initiate a new communication culture

A round is a structured communication process in which each person has an opportunity to speak in turn. It is a technique used in group discussions or meetings to ensure that everyone has an equal chance to express their thoughts and ideas. Rounds are often used in settings where collaboration and inclusivity are valued. 

Do you practice rounds already, maybe in the morning circle or the class parliamentary? Great - you can skip the explanation and practice and start with the next action!

alternatively use print out Worksheet 1.3. "Speak in rounds"from the material package.

Session 2: Role description

Video "What is consent?"

Role description of the class representative election

Now you are tuned in and you can start with the first step of the sociocratic election: 

 

Students discuss which responsibilities or tasks the class representative team should have, and what strengths and competencies they feel are needed to perform the classroom role. 


The role description provides a common ground for the election. It ensures that everyone is able to make informed decisions when it comes to the election. The class collectively defines the role description in their first consent decision following these steps.

alternatively use print out Worksheets 2.1. "Role description"from the material package.

Decide the role description by consent

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  1. Let the groups present their proposals in a first round and gather the results in a written form that is visible. Suppress objections at this point. Everyone will be heard about their reaction and consent in the next steps.
     

  2. Make a second round to ask if anything else wants to be added to or deleted from that proposal. 
     

  3. As a teacher this is most likely the only moment to take part in the decision process. Depending on if you have an interschool role description for class representatives or special tasks (e.g. participate in the school parliament) you also add tasks for this role description. As a teacher you are the link to all other teachers, headmaster and the school.

  4. Ask individually in turns whether they have an objection to that role description, or whether they give their consent. 

    Possible answers are
    ❏ I have no objection, I give my consent to this role description.
    ❏ I have an objection and see something why the proposal is not good enough and not safe enough to try.

    Alternatively to the verbal formulation of the answer in rounds students can also give hand signals all at the same time.
    This takes less time:
    ❏ A hand on the heart: no objection, consent
    ❏ Two hands forward: objection (and with that more information) and no consent
     

  5. Ask students who have an objection to articulate their concerns and help them to propose a better solution.
     

  6. Change or amend the role description until everyone gives their consent, shares responsibility for the proposal and no objections arise.
     

  7. You as their teacher also give your consent to the role description (or add necessary tasks) as a delegate of the other teachers and the headmaster.
     

  8. Congratulations! You created a great basis for the election of the class representative! Now everyone knows what tasks the role actually includes and what skills are needed for that. 

Consent means...

that the group goal stands over the personal preferences. Consent also means good enough for now and safe enough to try. There is no need to look for the perfect solution. To find perfect solutions aka consensus takes more often than not a long time with a group. In a fast changing world we need to be able to be agile rather than perfect. A role description that is good enough and safe enough for one school year is totally acceptable.

Objections are...

like gifts in the sociocratic mindset. They give information that the proposal is missing something important. If we share objections we share our experiences and views on a topic. To have a look on a topic from different angles is valuable to find good solutions.

Prepare the next session

  • Give the students some time between the process of role description and the next step of the nomination. From experience, a time frame of a night to sleep over the shortest, and a week is the longest to still have an effective process.

  • Invite the students not to discuss their opinions with each other or to ask for favors to be elected, but to think by themselves about who fits the role description best.

Session 3: Election

Fill in the nomination sheet - open and honest

When the role description is set and agreed upon the nomination can begin. The role description is presented visibly to everyone or has been printed out. It represents the jointly formulated goal and thus provides an important orientation.

use print out Worksheets 3.1. & 3.2: "Nominate a candidate" from the material package.

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  1. Every student gets a nomination sheet to fill out individually. This can be done as homework. 
     

  2. On the sheet, students record their own names, the name of one candidate and which skills the candidate has in order to be a good class representative. Ask to give examples of how or in which situations these skills had been experienced in the past

The first nomination round: hearing arguments

The nomination forms are - contrary to the secret ballot vote - not collected. Every student is asked one by one who they nominate and why. They are asked to stay with their own nomination in this round even if their opinion will change when they hear the others.

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  1. Invite the students to share their nomination to the nominees directly "I nominate you_____, because I recognize these skills such as____ in your actions____."
     

  2. The names of the nominees are written side by side on the board. In addition to that, the arguments in favor of the nominees should be added to the list. Arguments against nominees are not collected at this point of the process.

Reason stands over majority

Avoid counting multiple nominations for one person e.g. by drawing lines behind a name – that would be a majority determination and does not benefit further proceedings.

The second nomination round - because opinions can change & co-creation brings new ideas

In sociocracy it's all about to learn from and with each other to create a great solution together. Now that the students have heard the reasoning of the others, they might change their opinion or build on arguments. Maybe in this round new names will be added to those already on the board.

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  1. Make a round to ask if the nomination has changed based on the reasons heard, if someone is still missing from the list, or if they already see a good team combination.

  2. If so, they are asked to share their arguments. If not, the word is passed on.

  3. Do not cancel names of students if they are no longer nominated. Just add new names and arguments.

Change opinions

Point out that it is legitimate to change opinions when there are good arguments in favor. This round is about to explore the collective wisdom and explore who would fit the role description well and would get no objection from anyone.

Find a consent

Formulating a proposal

After two rounds of collective wisdom based on the names and arguments on the board, it is usually possible to formulate a proposal.