Sunday, 20 April 2014

Thoughts on Education.

  • To me anarchist thinking on education is one of it's biggest advantages over everything else, one of it's most positive projects, one of it's most ambitious - to bring out, to realize  the best of humanity. It completely opposes nihilism or apathy.
  • Teaching and leading by example.
  • Useful in anarchist theories of parenting and child-rearing.
  • No one size fit all approach.
  • there is interesting parallels between Taoism and anarchist education.
  • anarchist education is probably one of the most prefigurative aspects of anarchist thinking.
  • anarchist pedagogy   argues that  both government schooling and private schooling encourage oppressive values. 
  • Builds on thinking of Ferrer, Freire, Dewey etc.
  •  Examples to learn lessons from:    Work People's College (IWW) September 1903- 1941. Paideia, Merida Spain.
  •  Existing schooling teaches uniformity, conformity, atomization, hierarchy, obedience to capitalist and state institutions, passivity, ranking,  uncritical thinking, oppressive behaviour, selfishness, violence, division, hindered self development, hindered creativity, hindered initiative, lack of sense of collective responsibility, assumes teachers have nothing to learn and students have nothing to teach. 
  • These values encourage bullying,depression, hopelessness,rejection of education and learning.
  • Education cannot be value free. Existing schools operate with a hidden curriculum of values of existing society. Anarchist education would operate with an implicit set of values.
  • Anarchist education is neither indoctrination nor is it laissez faire.
  • Even how current schooling is structured with sets in rows and bells is mechanistic and disempowering.
  • anarchist education theory is very important and applicable in many situations  since any time we are arguing or discussing or giving a talk or having a debate  we are aiming to educate. Education is not  a special event which occurs in education institutions. It occurs all the time
  • 'disruptiveness'( e.g. talking back, talking, helping each other etc) in current schooling reflects to some extent  a challenge to it's norms and a unsophisticated attempt to propose a different set of norms..
  • By making people closer to each other they are likely to treat each other better , be more cooperative and problem solve together . anarchism is very much about creating positive flourishing communities- communities which bring out the best in individuals and individuals who bring out the best in their communities.
  • We know a fair deal about how education could be anarchist or at least more in accordance with anarchist principles, given  examples tried and comparisons to what exists. We know it is limited by the oppresive society in which we live.
  • Freedom must be learned... anarchist values must be learned not from being told them but by experiencing them.
  • Current education is used to fit you into capitalist society not to inspire curiosity, creativity, critical thought and self organizing .
  • I do not believe current schooling could be reformed to not be this way or be non capitalist.
In  opposition to current schooling,   anarchist education :

For anarchists, antiauthoritarian relations and

practices cannot come from authoritarian methods."

  • Would to some extent reflect broader anarchist society and vice versa.
  • Rejects compulsory schooling.
  • Rejects grading.
  • STRONGLY oppose corporal punishment.
  • Rejects idea of schooling separate from the rest of society.
  • Rejects rote learning or learning as knowledge distinct from life.
  • would probably happen on a more local community scale.
  • would encourage strong connections between individuals and collectives challenging the idea of the atomized self and encouraging individuals to see themselves s embedded in communities and in nature itself.
  • would oppose gender roles and the gender binary.
  • One possibly is Socratic dialogue.
  • Would be more personalized ,more folk wisdom, likely more respect for older people. Might help bridge any kind of generational gap.
  • Would teach people to behave non oppressively and democratically without hierarchy.
  • would probably use skill shares.  
  • Rejects education for career or success in capitalist terms accepting this cannot be completely rejected in capitalist society.
  • Rejects the idea people are inherently good or bad and seeks to encourage the development of goodness, of positive characteristics.
  • Probably would reject impersonal educator- student relations.
  • Rejects qualifications. anyone can teach and anyone can and should learn
  • "better individuals, better society". In an anarchist society ,education would seek  to encourage the fullest possible individual and collective fulfilment and development , the most well rounded individual possible . It would aim to encourage values to make this possible collectively and individually by aiming to encourage the best human qualities .
  • Would have a curriculum democratically  chosen by students who would adapt it to suit their needs responding to problems and changing with interests and it could be reviewing on a yearly basis and adapted as necessary.
  • No punishment but non violent conflict resolution by students themselves.
  • No grading of learning.
  • No exclusion of the disabled or old.
  •  Would not claim to be value neutral which is hypocritical of current schools which indoctrinate in capitalist values by the hidden curriculum. 
  •  anarchist educators would not claim to be value neutral and would not be laissez faire either.
  •  Instead they would actively seek to promote freedom, equality, solidarity, community, compassion , awareness of self/others/ the environment , emotional intelligence , democracy, critical thinking, good communication, non violent conflict resolution, individual and collective responsibility, opposition to oppression, self management- basically it seeks to develop the values  an anarchist society would desire to have.
  • Would seek to encourage skills in cooking and other life skills involving engagement with the community.
  • Would seek to encourage without proselytizing.
  • rejects one sided teacher to student learning like students are vessels to be filled.
  • aims to make students participants in their own learning with educators more like facilitators of that process.
  • rejects student passivity in decision making and the authoritarianism this requires.
  •  Students should be directly involved in educational decision making.
  • rejects compulsory schooling.
  •  Recognises people have different learning needs, styles and desires. Some might prefer institutional learning, some my not.
  • Would seek to make learning as practical and useful as possible breaking down theory vs.  practice divisions.


Anarchist Pedagogies Collective Actions, Theories, and Critical Reflections on Education
Robert H. Haworth (Editor); Allan Antliff (Afterword).
Anarchy in the Classroom – Paidea, Merida, Extramadura.

Anarchy in the school: Escuela Libre Paideia's_College

The Anarchist School: Education For Equality

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