Education and Anarchism

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Ya_Pasta
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Nov 29 2011 23:09
Education and Anarchism

Hey everyone, I'm interested in the history, theory and practice of education in Anarchism, esp. the education of children.

Has anyone read the new book published by PM called Anarchist Pedagogies? Any other recommends? I just got the book by Suisa, which is interesting and seems good so far (haven't finished it)..

thanks for the tips

Ya_Pasta
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Nov 29 2011 23:13

(ps, Admins: I'm new here. Is there any way I can change my username? It's lame and is annoying me!!)

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Railyon
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Nov 29 2011 23:29

Here's a first-hand account of education during the Spanish Civil War:

http://www.theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Manolo_Gonzalez__Life_in_Revolutionary_Barcelona.html#toc4

Sorry I can't help you out with more, was the first thing that sprung to mind.

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qbbmvrjsssdd
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Dec 1 2011 04:20

That book looks interesting, I'm a tutor and I've been interested in experimental and non-hierarchical education for a while, but haven't looked too much into schools rooted in anarchist philosophy, I do know, though, that free skools are definitely good examples. But, I would assume that the teacher's position among their pupils is greatly diminished so that it's not such a unilateral relationship. The way that teaching is done in general is that the teacher dispenses knowledge and the students receive it. However in an "anarchist education" the teacher's role as the authority of knowledge would be reduced to merely the sharer of knowledge. Right now in general, too, the curriculum of the school is determined by the school authorities and the students have no say in the creation of the classes they are allowed to take. I think that one of the fundamental principles of an anarchist education would be that the children/pupils are given the opportunity to not only choose which classes are offered to them by the "faculty" but can also decide what classes they would like themselves. This would obviously manifest itself in a lot of different ways depending on the age group involved, but if for example it's college-level pupils, then the students could form their own classes and mutually educate one another and the "faculty" would never assume any prominent position of teacher but instead participate as another member of the class, who only through their own merit and abundance of knowledge would so to speak become a prominent member in the class. But as a member of the "faculty" they would of course organize classes where more formally they would disseminate their knowledge, but still in the egalitarian spirit which the school embodies. Anyways, something like that, which would be very fun to get involved in.

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Auld-bod
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Dec 1 2011 07:15

Though not specifically anarchist, A.S. Neill’s book ‘Summerhill’ is an interesting read. It was the first thing I’d found, where the children had an equal say in how the school operated (one person one vote). A girlfriend of mine had attended in the 1960s, and had mixed feelings about it; mainly I think because she was already a teenager when she arrived and was not ready to fully enter into the egalitarian system.

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knotwho
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Dec 5 2011 23:55
Ya_Pasta wrote:
I just got the book by Suisa

Which one's that?

Ya_Pasta
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Dec 6 2011 00:13
knotwho wrote:
Ya_Pasta wrote:
I just got the book by Suisa

Which one's that?

http://www.pmpress.org/content/article.php?story=JudithSuissa

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knotwho
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Dec 6 2011 22:47

Both the Suissa and Anarchist Pedagogies books look interesting. (Looks like Anarchist Pedagogies is set for release in January.) I'm getting ready to do a teacher licensure program, and this is the type of material I would love to have, since I don't think it will be required reading. Have you read Paolo Freire? I've only read a bit, but the dude's mentioned all over the place.

I work at a science center that focuses on informal learning. It's not explicitly anarchist (the management structure is far from that), but the model is implicitly anti-authoritarian/hierarchical. Basically, the exhibits are all designed for people -pretty much regardless of age- to engage in science at their own pace and draw their own conclusions. Everything is small-scale, built of simple materials, and designed to challenge existing assumptions.

Previously, I taught ESL, and the training I got beforehand was excellent because it helped me focus on having the students drive the learning. As opposed to deciding "They will learn this" and cramming it down their throats at all costs, I tried to assess where they were at, and how I could help them get to the next step. Most of the time, students are interacting with each other, not listening to me talk.

Again, none of this is explicitly anarchist in terms of talking about class struggle (though you can incorporate that stuff, too). But the model is definitely anti-hierarchical.

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Serge Forward
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Dec 6 2011 23:03
Ya_Pasta wrote:
(ps, Admins: I'm new here. Is there any way I can change my username? It's lame and is annoying me!!)

I quite like your username. Keep it as is please.

Ya_Pasta
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Dec 7 2011 20:03
knotwho wrote:
Have you read Paolo Freire? I've only read a bit, but the dude's mentioned all over the place.

I've seen his books at the used bookstore when I was looking for books by/about Francisco Ferrer. Paolo Freire sounds interesting too, for sure. Thanks

The Suissa book is not bad. Definitely worth reading, for me; I picked up a few things from it. I'm gonna read Avrich's The Modern School Movement next, when my library gets it in...

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Ernestine
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Dec 8 2011 00:37

Ivan Illich's 'Deschooling Society' is a classic. It's ages since I read it, but it contains gems like,
'Many self-styled revolutionaries are victims of school.'

He also says,
'School is not yet organised for self-protection as effectively as the nation state...'

Unfortunately the forces of repression may have read the book.
School is becoming a tool for teaching what to think above how to think, and depth of study is being compromised for target culture. Part of the result of this change is that a lot more pupils are starting to hate and despise the school system, funnily enough.

Another I'd recommend is 'Teaching as a subversive activity' by Neil Postman and Charles Weingarter. Lots of stuff about language structure and forms of communication.

Neither will tell you how to go about libertarian education however. They give a good critique of how not to.

I do think you can use aspects of the national curriculum creatively, though it is typically a tool for limiting the content of teaching. The idea of an presenting an introduction to each lesson, followed by practical tasks, followed by a recap. can be nicely used. Providing you write your lesson plans imaginatively, you can use the recap. as a feedback session and include the pupils' suggestions in the study programme. This was how I tried to work before I got the sack for swearing in class.

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Khawaga
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Dec 8 2011 00:49
Serge Forward wrote:
Ya_Pasta wrote:
(ps, Admins: I'm new here. Is there any way I can change my username? It's lame and is annoying me!!)

I quite like your username. Keep it as is please.

I think it's an awesome name. made me laugh fer sure so please keep it.

Comrade
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Dec 9 2011 09:04

http://libcom.org/library/fransisco-ferrer-modern-school-emma-goldman read read read

parsaposhia
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Mar 21 2013 19:39

i am very glad to get this site...