MAY
21 BALTIMORE MD
22 WASHINGTON DC
23 PHILADELPHIA PA
25 NEW YORK CITY
26 PROVIDENCE RI
27 ALBANY/TROY NY
30 DETROIT MI
31 CHICAGO IL

JUNE
1 BLOOMINGTON IN
2 NEW MARKET TN
6 DENVER CO
9 SAN FRANSISCO CA
11 PORTLAND OR
14 SEATTLE WA
15 OLYMPIA WA



Other Resources

Definitions

Community: A group of people that are part of a common geographical space who share some common needs, goals, and values and look out for each other's well-beings. A community is not just a network, a neighborhood, a scene, or a school.*

"[Community is] a comprehensible place that those there recognize and acknowledge...[with] a discipline that only makes sense as responsibility to the people and place around you..." -Matt Hern (Field Day)
"An institution like a school is not a community. It can be a wonderful, caring, supportive, lasting place, but it is an institutional affiliation. A community is a collection of disparate individuals in a place, who are committed to that place. The boundaries have to be fluid in some senses, but it about a placed people...and includes the land, water, and animals within that place. A school, even the nicest free school, is not a community, but it may well be part of one". -Matt Hern (Field Day)

On networks vs. communities:

"[Networks] provide mechanical (by-the-numbers) solutions to human problems, when a slow organic process of self-awareness, self-discovery, and cooperation is what is required if any solution is to stick... Networks [such as schools] do great harm by appearing enough like real communities to create expectations that they can manage human social and psychological needs. The reality is that they cannot". -John Taylor Gatto (Dumbing Us Down)

* It's important to note that although community and localization are highly emphasized in my thoughts about radical learning, they are so in terms of mutual aid and empowerment. Within the structure of community, it is necessary to be wary of the kind of group mentality that stifles and/or isolates the individual.

Compulsory Education/Schooling: An institutionalized transfer of information and skills from a teacher to a student based on broad standards of what individuals need to know to be part of a cohesive society. The institution claims to level the playing field towards equality by offering all people the same opportunities for learning. However, critics (like us) believe that this process stifles creativity, confidence, critical thinking and problem solving, deadens people's natural desire to learn, and forms a racist, classist, sexist society from the bottom up. It is (and has always been) a manipulative process aimed at funneling young people into mainstream society.

"Education is the tendency of one man to make another just like himself. Education is culture under restraint, culture is free. [Education is] when the teaching is forced upon the pupil, and when the instruction is exclusive, that is when only those subjects are taught which the educator regards as necessary". -Leo Tolstoy (Tolstoy on Education).

Deschooling: The reclamation of learning as separate from education/schooling in order to change the social attitudes that underlie the need for those oppressive institutions.

"The project is to disassemble a culture of schooling and give communities and families the opportunity to comprehend what it means to grow up right and to redefine their ideals of learning." - Matt Hern (Field Day)

Free School: A school set up to be a non-coercive atmosphere where young people can self-direct their learning free of curriculum or standards. Examples: Summerhill, Sudbury Valley, and Albany Free School.

Sudbury Valley is "founded upon the principle that learning is best fostered by self-motivation, self-regulation, and self-criticism..."* -By-Laws of Sudbury (Free At Last)

* Every "free school" varies in its mission but is driven by self-directed learning.

Free Skool: Community learning projects aimed at recapturing people's natural desire to learn and perpetuating lifelong learning. Usually free skools are based on adults (particularly twenty-something punks) sharing knowledge and skills with others in the form of free classes or workshops. The subjects offered can vary widely, but often they are on mostly radical topics. When the project becomes less about the education of radicals, it usually loses the "k" is named a free school or something else.

Learning Space: a non-compulsory, non-coercive physical space set up for various types of learning and projects.

Radical: A critique that addresses the roots of a topic and seeks not absolute answers, but deeper questioning.

(Radical) Learning: A natural and intrinsic process inseparable from existing. Learning can happen in an infinite number of formats and contexts and is not bound by physical place or by standards. Learning is something you do, not something someone does to you or gives to you.

"Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners" -John Holt (Growing Without Schooling)
"Children learn from anything and everything they see. They learn wherever they are, not just in special learning places. They learn much more from things, natural or made, that are real and significant in the world in their own right and not just made in order to help children learn...We can best help children learn, not by deciding what we think they should learn and thinking of ingenious ways to teach it to them, but by making the world, as far as we can, accessible to them, paying serious attention to what they do, answering their questions--if they have any--and helping them explore the things they are most interested in". -John Holt (Learning All the Time)

On the difference between traditional and radical definitions of learning:

"...learning signifies control...It is how teachers and school people can distinguish between activities that are designed, planned, and monitored for 'your own good,' and other non-official ones. It is the difference between a simplistic elementary classroom math exercise that is called 'learning' and kids talking about hockey statistics and adding point totals and dividing games played by goals scored that is called something else (usually wasting time)". -Matt Hern (Field Day)

Unschooling: A locally-based, organic process of rejecting education/schooling and reclaiming natural learning. Unschoolers see their communities and the whole world as their classroom and direct what and how they learn themselves.

"Unschooling doesn't denote anything...it's talking about what we're taking ourselves away from. it's about choosing not to participate in the conventional model of learning and educatio n. So, what that leaves behind is not any particular system, it's an empty place...a place from which to look at all kinds of things and discern how we can best live and learn. And I say live before learn because the whole idea that society has that education and learning are a separate domain from life, that's part of the whole construct we are trying to get away from when we call ourselves unschoolers. It's deeper than saying an unschooler is figuring out the best way to study this or that...It's about starting from scratch and asking 'How do I want to live my life?' It's not, 'How am I going to learn everything academic that everyone else knows by the time I'm 18?'... the question is 'What is important to me in life and what can I draw on to create that?'" -paraphrased from an interview with Grace Llewllyn (author of the Teenage Liberation Handbook)

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Books

    hooks, bell
  • "Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom"
  • "Engaged Pedagogy: A Transgressive Education for Critical Consciousness"
    Gatto, John Taylor
  • "Dumbing Us Down"
  • "The Underground History of American Education"
    Greenberg, Daniel
  • "Free At Last: The Sudbury Valley School"
    Hern, Matt
  • "Field Day"
  • "Deschooling our Lives" (ed.)
    Holt, John
  • "Instead of Education"
  • "Escape From Childhood"
  • "Freedom and Beyond"
  • "Teach Your Own"
  • "Learning All the Time"
    Illich, Ivan
  • "Deschooling Society"
    Kozol, Jonathan
  • "Savage Inequalities"
    Llewellyn, Grace
  • "The Teenage Liberation Handbook"
  • "Guerilla Learning"
    Mercogliano, Chris
  • "Making it Up as We Go Along: The Story of the Albany Free School"
    Neill, A.S.
  • "Summerhill"
    Postman, Neil and Charles Weingartner
  • "Teaching as a Subversive Activity"
  • "The Soft Revolution"
    Prakash, Madhu Suri and Gustavo Esteva
  • "Escaping Education: Living As Learning Within Grassroots Cultures"
    Tolstoy, Leo
  • "Tolstoy on Education"

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Organizations

    World Prosperity, Ltd.
    Suite 601
    600 20th Street, NW
    Washington, DC 2005
    office( at )world-prosperity.org
    Live and Learn Conference
    118 Steeplechase South
    Columbia, SC 29209-4810
    803-776-4849
    kbcdlovejo( at )aol.com
    Rethinking Education
    3013 Hickory Hill
    Colleyville, TX 76034
    817-540-6423 or 817-545-3599
    barb( at )rethinkingeducation.com
    Rethinking Schools
    1001 E. Keefe Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53212
    414-964-9646 or 800-669-4192
    rsonline( at )execpc.com
    Seattle Young People Project
    2820 E. Cherry St.
    Seattle WA 98122
    206 860 9606
    info( at )sypp.org
    Shikshantar: The Peoples Institute for Rethinking Education and Development
    Vimukt Shiksha Publication
    83-Adinath Nagar
    Udaipur, Rajasthan-313004, India.
    (91) 294-245-1303
    shikshantar( at )yahoo.com
    www.swaraj.org
    Teaching for Change
    PO Box 73038
    Washington, DC 20056
    info( at )teachingforchange.org
    800-763-9131 or 202-588-7204

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Websites

  • learninginfreedom.com
  • unschooling.info
  • freechild.info
  • sandradodd.com/unschooling.html
  • livefreelearnfree.com/resources.htm
  • afamunschool.com *
  • * The above websites are excellent resources but are dominated by white people/experiences. This one is specifically for African American un-schoolers.

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    Radical Learning Spaces

    Coming soon!

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    Other Media

      Free to Learn
      Free to Learn is a 70 minute documentary that offers a "fly on the wall" perspective of the daily happenings at The Free School in Albany, New York.
      www.freeschoolmovie.com
      info( at )freeschoolmovie.com
      Voices from the New American Schoolhouse
      Voices from the New American Schoolhouse explores life outside the usual educational box. Narrated exclusively by students, the film chronicles life and learning at the Fairhaven School in Upper Marlboro, MD which practices an undiluted form of freedom and democracy that turns mainstream education theory on its head.
      www.newamericanschoolhouse.com Contact: Danny Mydlack
      3611 Parkside Drive
      Baltimore, MD 21214
      410-426-255
      dmydlack( at )towson.edu
      Detroit Summer Live Arts Media Production
      Rising Up from the Ashes: Chronicles of a Dropout
      Detroit Freedom Summer
      PO Box 32108
      Detroit, MI 48232
      313-333-6779
      www.detroitsummer.org
      info( at )detroitsummer.org

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    Lesson Plans

    A question that has come up for us throughout researching and producing this documentary has been:

    "Who is going to use this resource?"

    Will it be on the radio? Will we simply be preaching to the choir? How will young people access it? And how can we reach an audience wider than the spaces we were researching in the first place?

    In order to create more uses for "I Want to Do This All Day," we are creating a series of lesson plans that uses small segments of the documentary paired with discussion questions to spark create conversations between people. Check it out!

    1. Lesson plan for a history/social studies/current events teacher in a middle/high-school classroom (on the history of education and visioning current learning)
    2. Lesson plan for group discussion of people working in radical/democratic/free education (on the question of "accessibility" vs. power in community organizing)

    O N E . Lesson plan for a history/social studies/current events teacher in a middle/high-school classroom (on the history of education and visioning current learning)

    The goals of using this in a classroom would be:
    - to encourage critical thinking about the system of education we have in America and where it comes from
    -to encourage students to define and express for themselves how they could change their own education to meet their needs and desires

    Introduction (Some background info on the documentary):
    In order to look at the above questions and conversations, sections of the audio documentary "I Want to Do This All Day: Redefining Learning and Reinventing Education" may be useful. This documentary was created in 2006-2008 by two young women who felt frustrated with their own education and decided to go on a journey to look at other ways that people are learning in their communities. We visited public schools, private schools, "free schools," community centers, and after-school programs. And the process, we learned alot about the history of our education system in America as well as what some communities have done and are doing to break down the equalities in our schools or do create something different. Since the information is just audio, it might be helpful to have either art materials or other kinetic materials to occupy/activate students hands and brains.

    P A R T 1
    Here is some history about education, looking at the roots of where our system comes from:
    listen to:
    Disc 1, Track 4: The history of compulsory school

    Questions:
    Are there ways that your school reflects this history? (are there ways your school does NOT reflect this history?)

    What issues do you see in your school that you want to see change? (i.e. buildings falling apart, classes are boring etc.)

    P A R T 2
    Lets look at this one community and what problems they identified and what they did to change them:
    listen to:
    Disc 2, Track 1: Making Changes Freedom School

    Questions:
    What would your ideal classroom or school be like?

    P A R T 3
    Heres some more examples of people in the past who looked at their dreams and made them real:
    listen to:
    Disc 1, Track 2 starting at 10:00: Radical History

    Questions:
    What could you do in your school and community to change the problems you identified? How could we make this classroom or school more like your ideal?

    Who could help you with this? What would you need to achieve your goals?

    references:
    philly students union www.phillystudentunion.org
    baltimore algebra project www.myspace.com/batimorealgebraproject
    chicago freedom school www.chicagofreedomschool.org/
    indigenous youth sovereignty project www.iysp.org
    education liberation project http://www.edliberation.org/

    T W O . Lesson plan for group discussion of people working in radical/democratic/free education (on the question of "accessibility" vs. power in community organizing)

    The goals of using this in a discussion of people working in radical/democratic/free education would be:
    To engage in a critical analysis of the kinds of spaces we are creating and how they serve and coalesce with our own and others' communities in creating change. AND to look at the following themes and questions:
    1. "Access is not the door to the house but how the house was built and who built it."
    2. How can radical learning intersect with a movement for equity, justice and social change?

    Keep those in mind as you listen!

    Introduction (Some background info on the documentary):
    In order to look at the above questions and conversations, sections of the audio documentary "I Want to Do This All Day: Redefining Learning and Reinventing Education" may be useful. This documentary was created in 2006-2008 by two young women who felt frustrated with their own education and decided to go on a journey to look at other ways that people are learning in their communities. We visited public schools, private schools, "free schools," community centers, and after-school programs. The selections included in this lesson plan introduce the documentary then zoom in on the themes, paired with discussion questions.

    disc 1 track 1 -- which just explains the trip and introduces the documentary

    then two examples we visited:
    disc 2 track 1 -- the making changes freedom school
    disc 2 track 3 -- the MET school
    What questions or ideas does these examples bring up?
    How does the question of "accessibility" relate to these spaces?
    How does these project differ from the work you are doing? How are they similar? And how are they relevant?

    disc 1 track 2 -- starting at 10:00 to the end of track 2 we go through a few examples of radical learning spaces from the past that aren't always included in the free school cannon of radical learning history
    Have people heard of these places? What other interesting examples can people think of from the past of communities deciding for themselves what learning should look like?
    Another interesting thing to think about is that in each of these projects, education and "radical learning" were one part of a multi faceted strategy for social change, a means to an end not an end to itself. How do you see that relating to your vision of learning of learning and society?

    disc 2 track 5 through 8 themes in the movement, motion and change, wrapping up
    any or all of these questions:
    How does "accessibility" get talked about in your work?
    What communities are you a part of and what communities are you working with?
    Are you aware of issues people in communities OUTSIDE your own are dealing with around learning and education? How are this issues and the strategies for addressing them different than in YOUR community?
    What overlaps can you see with your work and the work and struggles of other communities?
    How can you intersect your work or create coalitions with other communities around common struggles, or common visions? What would that look like for you in your town?
    How can the ideas of self-determination for the individual be extended to self-determination of communities?

    DOWNLOAD LESSON PLANS AS A WORD DOCUMENT

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