1. Sweet Land of Liberty
"The most overwhelming reality of school is CONTROL. School controls the way you spend your time (what is life made... http://tl.gd/9v3073
I just had a conversation about this with another educator. She described the day she decided to release control in her classroom and let herself become a facilitator and co-learner as a transformative experience. She described a situation very similar to what I experienced when I decided to do this myself. Letting go of control is hard but it is so worth it. In some ways, this letting go of control is akin to the kind of language religious people talk about. It is trusting in faith; faith in student's own natural curiosity.
It seems like whenever I talk to teachers who have made this transition from a classroom manager to a co-learner/service provider there is a born-again quality to how they talk about how they teach now as opposed to how they taught then. Perhaps there are secular equivalents to this religious idea. It is like an awakening, a resurrection, new life, etc.
In the past I have written about this phenomenon using many analogies borrowed from popular culture: Plato''s Allegory of the Cave, The Matrix, Darth Vader, etc. A new one comes to mind though, Schindler's List. While I understand Mrs. Llewellyn's argument for encouraging students to drop out of school I do think this advice is irresponsible to give outright. Unschooling seems to work only if certain other factors are in place, namely a strong support structure and access to resources. For most students, dropping out of school is still economic suicide. Therefore, I prefer to focus on the teacher rather than the student. In many ways, the unschooled teacher is a lot like Oskar Schindler. Oskar Schindler shepherded and protected the Jewish people under his care from the negative and oppressive actions of the Third Reich saving hundreds from almost certain death. In the same sense, the unschooled teacher protects their students from the negative effects of schooling and nurtures that within students that school attempts to kill.
Which is better? To liberate children but risk exposing them to economic suicide or liberate their teachers who can protect many more children from the oppressive forces of institutionalized school? As I read this book I keep coming back to this dichotomy.
"people within an oppressed group often internalize their oppression so much that they are crueler, and more judgme... http://tl.gd/9v31u1
"the people who infringe most dangerously and inescapably on your freedom are those who say they are helping you, t... http://tl.gd/9v33i4
I can't help but think of nosey people from when I was single who always tried to act as match-maker for me.
"What educators apparently haven't realized yet is that experiential education is a double-edge sword. If you do so... http://tl.gd/9v3irt
Exactly what is wrong with scripted project-based curriculum.
"This concept that teenagers should obey simply because of their age no longer makes sense to me." Llewellyn
"Maybe after we abolish compulsory schooling we can set up voluntary month-long camps where people sit at desks and... http://tl.gd/9v3qn2
"you will never be so wise or perfect that you don't do stupid things." Llewellyn
"Our brains and spirits are the freest things in the universe. Our bodies can live in chains, but our intellects cannot." Llewellyn
"We are all born with what they call 'love of learning,' but it drives off into an elusive void when we go to school." Llewellyn
"Curiosity puts itself on hold when it isn't allowed to move at it's own pace." Llewellyn
@anderscj What book are you quoting from? I like what I'm reading on your tweets!
@allanalach The Teenage Liberation Handbook
"The day after the test, or the week after school's out, will you even take time to kiss your fact collection goodb... http://tl.gd/a0f49a
This reminds me of the last day of school bonfires my friends and I would have in high school where we would burn all of our notebooks, worksheets, and other paraphernalia we no longer wanted. Come to think of it, I remember my father also did this with his fellow teachers every year. Hmmm...
"Feeling like a failure is a self-fulfilling prophecy, which is why most high-school dropouts make statistics that ... http://tl.gd/a0f5dl
"Schools present learning backwards, emphasizing answers instead of questions. Answers are dead ends, even when the... http://tl.gd/a0fjpa
"It's not necessary to manipulate someone if they already want to do or learn what you want them to do or learn." Llewellyn
I completely agree with this. It is also a wall I always found myself bumping up against as a classroom art teacher dealing both with intrinsically motivated students and often with principals who expected to see how I was motivating students extrinsically.
"Teachers would be infinitely more helpful if they knew a lot and cheerfully answered questions, dispensed wisdom, ... http://tl.gd/a0fue3
This sounds a lot like John Holt.
"the big wet world is reality and school should serve only to help us live better lives in that reality, not to block it off." Llewellyn
"In the end, the secret to learning is so simple: forget about it. Think only about what you love. Follow it, do it... http://tl.gd/a0g9si
"Another reason we have schools even though they prevent learning is that schools are intended not only for learnin... http://tl.gd/a16m8j
"Many teachers start teaching in the first place because they think school is a bad place and they hope to make it better." Llewellyn
"Unfortunately, most of these teachers either end up quitting or else compromising their ideals" Llewellyn
So, it appears Mrs. Llewellyn addresses my concern here. But, I think she has given up too easily. Just because a struggle is difficult doesn't mean it should not be fought.
"Teachers' job descriptions leave no way for them to treat you with the respect they would show their friends." Llewellyn
"We need people who do what they most love, and do it well, and let others hang around or join in unforced, and sha... http://tl.gd/a1r6as
"When choice, freedom, and individuality are introduced into a teaching situation, it can be great for everyone involved." Llewellyn
"People who are fully and permanently awakened to the wildness and beauty in and around them make lousy wage-slaves." Llewellyn
"School puts you into intense, forced contact with people who are only your own age. It discourages you from making... http://tl.gd/a3qlhm
I have for quite some time now felt this is one good reason to promote online schools.
"Perhaps school's greatest danger is that it may convince you life is nothing more than an institutionalized rat race." Llewellyn
@anderscj You mean it's not a rat race?
@anotherschwab I don't think that's what Llewellyn means. I think she means there is more than just the rat race.
"School conditions you to live for the future, rather than live in the present." Llewellyn
"'We are always getting ready to live, but never living,' wrote Emerson. Don't let the schoolpeople write that on your tombstone." Llewellyn
@anderscj u r quoting from the book that pushed us off the edge!
@aenclade you inspired me to read it. I'll be with this one for a while...it's freaking long!
"Adults control and humiliate teenagers, and teenagers even things out for themselves by controlling and humiliating each other." Llewellyn
@anderscj How sad. Hopefully, we are improving. re: control & humiliation: adults vs teenagers, teenagers vs teenagers (can't vs adults)
@anderscj the first part is the best part
@aenclade this book is extremely well researched. In some ways it is unfortunate how it is packaged.
@anderscj yes, I agree. I met grace a few yrs ago at a conference. I was surprised how young she was when she wrote it. early 20s