4 minute read

So you’re rethinking the idea of schooling. Wondering whether schooling is really necessary for learning. You know, that deep meaningful kind of learning, not the learn-it-for-the-test kind of superficial learning. Maybe, you’re doubting the value schooling has added to your life or is adding to your kid’s life. The feelings are strong, but you’re not sure, because everyone around seems fine with the idea of schooling, more than fine, they’re devoted to the idea.

You’re not alone. Let’s jump right into some discussions. The first stop is this short (20 min), entertaining and thought provoking presentation by Sir Ken Robinson on how schools are killing creativity. Sir Ken Robinson is a leading thinker on creativity. In this very popular talk he makes a strong case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

Once you’ve watched it, and pondered over it, read his reflections on the reasons for the popularity of this talk. After all, this is the most viewed ted talk ever – 36 million views.

To create a system that nurtures rather than undermines creativity, we first have to Escape Education’s Death Valley.

You might be wondering what lies beyond education’s death valley… There are as many answers as there are people asking it. Ken Robinson suggests that we change our education paradigm.

Of course, Ken Robsinson isn’t the first and only person to be talking about the failure of schools. Seth Godin has some strong views too. In this Tedx talk, Stop Stealing Dreams, Seth Godin talks about the future of Education and what we can do about it. His free ebook – Stop Stealing Dreams – has been downloaded millions of times since publication.

Carol Black is superbly inspiring in this presentation on Alternatives to School. She suggests that instead of the chaos that our schooled minds envision from removing the compulsory from schooling – we might just get some amazing collaboration and creativity. But listen in for yourself and see how this speaks to you.

Carol Black: Alternatives to Schooling from The Economics of Happiness on Vimeo.
You can also pop over to Carol Blacks’s website and read her essays breaking down the myths of Modern Industrial Schooling.

Removing the compulsory from schooling requires a lot of trust. Jerry Michalski shares with us in his Tedx Copenhagen talk – What if We Trusted You – we can achieve much with TRUST.

What does trust look like? It looks like unschooling, democratic schools, Agile Learning Centers, Learning Co-ops. etc. They all have a common thread that runs through them. That of Self Directed Education. The Alliance for Self Directed Education has put together a lovely series of videos distilling Self Directed Education

My personal favourites from their list is this one by unschooling advocate, Akilah Richards

And this one by unschooler Marley Richards (aged 12),

Other notable unschoolers that you might want to listen to are:
Callie Vandewiele is now studying for a PhD at the University of Cambridge in Latin American Studies

And Astra Taylor on an Unschooled Life… Don’t skip the Q & A at the end – it is rich!

And of course Jenayne and Tarsha Leigh Jenneker speaking at the Learning Reimagined Conference

Other inspiring or informative talks:

The Truthiness of Schools
This one falls under the criticism of school category.  There’s some interesting and disturbing stats on children and animals in captivity.

The following fall under the INSPIRING Category… 
Satish Kumar ~ Education With Hands, Hearts and Heads:
Satish Kumar draws attention to the pervasive lack of a genuine understanding of nature in our education systems, which is contributing to the gross mismanagement of our planet. Kumar makes a compelling case for a more holistic approach to education, connecting our hands, hearts as well as heads.

Gever Tulley ~ Reimagining Education
Gever Tulley urges us to stop thinking of education as something that we *do* to people, and start thinking of people as voracious self-directed learners. He provides lots of examples of kids engaging in self directed learning in a variety of fields. Great talk to watch to help you learn to trust the learning process.

Bunker Roy ~ Learning from a Barefoot Movement
In Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men — many of them illiterate — to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. It’s called the Barefoot College, and its founder, Bunker Roy, explains how it works. Highly Inspiring

Schooling The World:
If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it?  You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th century when it forced Native American children into government boarding schools. Today, volunteers build schools in traditional societies around the world, convinced that school is the only way to a ‘better’ life for indigenous children.
But is this true? What really happens when we replace a traditional culture’s way of learning and understanding the world with our own? SCHOOLING THE WORLD takes a challenging, sometimes funny, ultimately deeply disturbing look at the effects of modern education on the world’s last sustainable indigenous cultures.

In 1997, Tony Blair’s new Labor Government took steps to improve standards in education. Ironically, this would threaten the existence of an unusual little school in Suffolk called Summerhill… So begins an extraordinary documentary about an exemplary school in England, in which the students, the staff and a few formidable barristers take on OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education) and Tony Blair’s Labor Government to fight for its existence and the lifeblood of alternative education throughout the world. It was a fight that not only saved the prestigious institution, but proved the very educational principals on which the school was founded. In the process, some remarkable young people were given a chance to see how they had grown within Summerhill’s unique democratic system and an up close lesson in modern government.

Learning Transformation – Voices of another Education
What role does the current education system play in maintaining the destructive economic and social system ruling our world? How do we reimagine education? Collected at the World Social Forum 2015 in Tunis. Listen to the thoughts of
* Uchita de Zoysa of Sri Lanka
* Nomvula Dlamini of South Africa
* Richard Sanders of Australia
* Marta Benavides of El Salvador
* Asish Kothari of India
* Aya Chebbi of Tunisia

Rethinking Modern Schooling
An edited sequence for The Economics of Happiness that ultimately did not make it into the film. It offers a critical look at modern schooling in both the global North and South. With Manish Jain(Coordinator of the Indian NGO Shikshantar and co founder of Swaraj University), Eliana Espillico (with the Peruvian group PRATEC), Transition Town founder Rob Hopkins, and ISEC Director Helena Norberg-Hodge.

Six Conditions for Self Directed Learning
Peter GrayProvides a quick short yet important analysis of the education of children in Hunter Gather Societies and how this relates to self directed learning. He provides 6 important conditions for self directed learning


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