SelfDesign Foundation

The following document was written by a group of 6 young people between the ages of 15 and 17 and was presented at a Rights of the Child Conference in Victoria, BC and to the Minister of Education in June 1995. It was again presented to the UN Conference Habitat II in Istanbul Turkey in 1996. It is the frontispiece to a federally commissioned document written on SelfDesign High (previously Virtual High) – Learning a Living. It has also been published internationally by UNESCO and many organizations in countries around the world have asked permission to share it with their communities. This document may be copied and used for educational purposes and not for any commercial purpose.

Declaration of Learner’s Rights and Responsibilities authors in 1995

Sarah Partridge, Serena Staples, Kaan Muncaster, Ilana Cameron, Greg Dean, Jesse Blum, and Brent Cameron (conference participant).

Declaration of Learner’s Rights and Responsibilities
1. As a learner I have the right to allow my own experience and enthusiasm to guide my learning.

2. As a learner I have the right to choose and direct the nature and conditions of my learning experience. As a learner I am responsible for the results I create.

3. As a learner I have the right to perfect the skills to be a conscious, self confident and resourceful individual.

4. As a learner I have the right to be held in respect. It is my responsibility to hold others in respect.

5. As a learner I have the right to a nurturing and supportive family and community. My family and community have the right and responsibility to be my primary resource.

6. As a learner I have the right and responsibility to enter into relationships based on mutual choice, collaborative effort, challenge and mutual gain.

7. As a learner I have the right to be exposed to a diverse array of ideas, experiences, environments, and possibilities. This exposure is the responsibility of myself, my parents and my mentors.

8. As a learner I have the right to evaluate my learning according to my own sensibilities. I have the right to request and the responsibility to include the evaluations of my mentors.

9. As a learner I have the right to co-create decisions that involve and concern me.

10. As a learner I have the right and responsibility to openly consider and respect the ideas of others, whether or not I accept these ideas.

11. As a learner I have the right to enter a learning organization which offers, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical support, and operates in an open and inclusive manner.

12. As a learner I have the right of equal access to resources, information and funding.

This document was created by a group of individuals (ages 15-17) Serena Staples, Gregory Dean, Ilana Cameron, David Muncaster, Jesse Blum and Sarah Partridge, with the help of Brent Cameron and other SelfDesign mentors.

© 2011 All Rights Reserved SelfDesign Learning Foundation

This document may be reprinted in its entirety with credits attached by anyone interested in learner’s and children’s rights.

Extension of the “Declaration of Learner’s Rights and Responsibilities”
by Brent Cameron

1. The Learning Process

1.1. Every human is born with an inherent ability to learn. Learning is integral to living. It is the awareness of change and development.
1.2. Learning is a lifelong natural process. Learning increases one’s ability and choices in responding to, and being responsible for one’s actions and thoughts.
1.3. Learning emerges from an integral enthusiasm to understand and has inherent worth. Learning is a desire to know, and characteristically has its own intrinsic reward.
1.4. Learning implies growth, and growth implies the realization of an inner pattern of design and harmony. Balance in growth is achieved by maintaining a harmony between one’s conscious development and the underlying unconscious awareness.
1.5. Learning is a mirroring process. If an individual is respected then one will learn respect. It is a human need to create meaning and to be in a responsive loving relationship.
1.6. It is essential to shift focus from teaching and expectations to learning and curiosity. Meeting the needs of the individual is the best way to invest in society, as fulfilled individuals will make positive contributions to society.

2. The Learning Individual

2.1. Learning is based on experience. Patterns of experience form models for understanding one’s role in the world. One naturally learns through modeling. Learning emerges from an inner desire and enthusiasm to understand and to form meaningful relationships in the world.
2.2. Every individual has the right to determine the direction of one’s own learning, and correspondingly is responsible for one’s learning.
2.3. Every learner has the right to be treated as a whole and competent learner. The responsibilities for the results are each learner’s opportunity for growth.
2.4. Natural learning is the unfolding of the infinite potential within. Self-realization is a process of understanding one’s potential as one’s role in a dynamic between self and others.
2.5. Learning is ultimately a self-design process, therefore each individual has the right to follow their own inner wisdom.
2.6. It is the right of every learner to be held in respect and it is the responsibility of each learner to hold everyone else in respect.
2.7. It is the right of every individual to live and learn from a sense of fulfillment, and to set goals that increase one’s sense of self-confidence and one’s sense of oneself as a resourceful individual.
2.8. One’s self is ultimately not exclusive of others, it is inclusive of others through a sense of love and compassion. The purpose of living from one’s sense of fulfillment is that one’s actions will naturally enhance the experience of others and maintain a balance in relationships.

3. The Learning Relationship

a.) The Family – Parents

a3.1. The parenting relationship is the first and most significant relationship. Each learning parent is responsible to respond to the learning needs of the child as expressed by the child. Every child has the right to a nurturing and responsive family.
a3.2. One’s capacity or ability to learn is determined more by the quality of one’s relationships than any other factor. Given a meaningful and responsive relationship, every child makes appropriate choices for their level of ability.
a3.3. All families have the right to equal access to funding available for learning within a society. It is the family’s right to decide how to best invest this funding for the lifelong development of learners.
a3.4. Life is a challenge, living is maintaining a delicate balance. Children naturally model parents, and integrate their strategies. It is therefore essential that parents are supported in taking responsibility for becoming optimum models for learners.

b.) The mentor

b3.1. A collaborative learning relationship is designed around a mutual enthusiasm for learning. The roles of mentor and learner shift and it is the responsibility of a mentor to share strategies and insights with the learner. The learner-mentor relationship is based on the principles of friendship and mutual respect.
b3.2. Every individual has the right to choose to participate in a relationship that is essentially nurturing and caring. Conversely, in achieving one’s needs, one must be responsible to the realization of another’s needs.
b3.3. Each individual in a relationship has the right to choose to enter into a relationship that is based on mutual gain. It is the right of an individual to end a relationship.
b3.4. Learning is a self-evaluative process. Learning is a collaborative process as it is important to include other points of view for an increase in self understanding. It is the responsibility of each learner to invite the point of view of others to gather information for further self-evaluation.

4. The Learning Organization

4.1. It is the responsibility of every learning organization to remain open to redesign, to include everyone in a process of consensus evaluation for ongoing openness and change.
4.2. Each individual has equal access to the resources of the community to increase their learning through development. Each individual is responsible to reciprocate the investment by the organization.

5. The Learning Society

5.1. It is the responsibility of a society to provide equal access to resources and to invest in the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical growth of learners. It is the right of every individual to develop to one’s full potential and one’s responsibility to share what one gains.
5.2. It is the responsibility of society to encourage diverse points of view, and it is the responsibility of individuals in society to respect other view points. A society has the responsibility to withdraw support for view points that are against individuals or groups.

© 2011 All Rights Reserved SelfDesign Learning Foundation.

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