The Conversation Series: Audrey Cheynut

Consent Decision-Making for Student Voice


Audrey Cheynut, teacher of literature for 16-17 year old students, is with us today to tell us the story of how, as a teacher, she got acquainted with sociocracy and ‘consent decision-making’ and how she uses the method with her students.

Audrey and I first met in a training event for teacher educators in the Pestalozzi Programme on social media and human rights.

I knew my students and they trust me.

Audrey’s main goal is to help students take responsibility for their learning. This is why we are so fond of Audrey’s work: she is energetic, organized and in touch with her values as a teacher. She wants to embody these values and her commitment to learning (her learning as well as her students’ learning) is the base of her action.

Audrey has been using consent decision making for quite some time now with her students. She has given her students the possibility:

  • to choose their curriculum for the year;
  • to select the books they wanted to read for that year;
  • to co-create materials that gather what students have learnt after each learning sequence.

What helped Audrey try out this new method? She tells us: “I knew my students and they trust me”.

In this podcast, Audrey explains the method and gives advice to teachers who are interested in trying it:

  • start small and simple;
  • pay attention to how you feel about what you are trying; make it yours!
  • prepare well before you start so you are able to adapt;
  • and always: debrief, debrief, debrief!

This podcast walks you through the entire process.

Further Resources

What is Sociocracy?

Sociocracy seeks to achieve solutions that create harmonious social environments as well as productive organizations and businesses. It’s:

  • A set of principles that values equality and the rights of people to decide the conditions under which they live and work
  • An effective method of organizing collaborative and productive groups large and small.

While sociocracy shares the values of democracy, freedom and equality, it differs in two essential ways; the use of consent rather than majority voting in decision-making, and decision-making after discussion by people who know each other. It’s a vision for  “deeper democracy.” Because the principles and methods can produce a democratic society better than majority vote can. It also distributes leadership and power to the lowest levels of an organization and thus produces the characteristics of recent theories of “green” and flat organizations.

The 6-step Process of Consent Decision-Making

You may download the image above in pdf form here while this handout provides further information on each step of the process.

Useful Links


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