Small steps towards revolution

Today’s question over at Camp Creek “how do we start the revolution”.

I think the most important piece to creating real change in education is having a clear  idea of the world we want our children to be part of creating. We can talk for hours about the negative effects of schooling and it’s origins but what I have seen so often is that this just leads to people only trying to turn the current system on its head.  From there we have to look wider at what we would like society to look like on a larger scale, and how it can be changed and still function (someone still needs to collect the trash).  This leads to the other important piece of this; it can not be done in a vacuum. If you want to make serious changes in our education system, and therefore our society, then you need a large group of parents and children from different backgrounds and socio-economic strata working together otherwise the change will be isolated.

So what do a bunch of people with little in common sitting in one room talk about? The one thing they do have in common, their children and their hopes for them. The important thing here is that the conversation not be started by enthusiastic educators but by the parents. Like religious leaders, alternative educators can become charismatic leaders to their particular vision of education but that can create a situation where some parents end up taking a step back from the process and allowing the educators to take over. It is the educator, no matter how well meaning who have always told the parents what is best for their children, to create a true revolution we need to take back this role of deciding what is best for our children.

The logical place to start would be by homeschooling your own child using the philosophy and methods that you want (this is the choice in our family). While this option does give the families full control over the educational philosophy not all parents want, or can, educate their children at home (and the world). Therefore these “working groups” of parents who want to create a different education for their children are imperative. By creating a vision of what they want for the world and their children they can also figure out how and why they want their children to learn.

It is these groups of parents who can really start a revolution with real potential for change. But of course this is only the beginning of the revolution the very first step.

Some books on Alternative Education (I know sort of contradictory to what I’ve written but still inspiring)

What Are Schools For by Ron Miller

Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks

An Essay about bell hooks and her approach to education.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire (and this summary of theory)

The Geography of Childhood by Stephen Trimble and Gary Nabhan

John Holt