Alternative Education

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Alternative Education
EDCP 508
Section: 032
Instructor: Dr. Wayne Ross
Office: Scarfe 2301 (by appointment)
Office Hours:
Class Schedule:
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

This wiki page was created to fulfill a requirement for a graduate level course, EDCP 508: History, Theories and Practices of Alternative Education. This page aims to address a variety of articles, books and media relating to both methods and teachings of alternative education. Structured around an annotated bibliography, this page seeks to expand knowledge and awareness of alternative education from contexts all around the world.



Since the 1980s, schools have been subjected to increased standardization, test-based accountability, and corporate management models, trends often labeled as the global education reform movement or GERM. One of the key effects of GERM on curriculum and teaching has been the search for low-risk ways to meet learning goals, undermining alternative and experimental pedagogical approaches and risk-taking in the classroom. This seminar will explore histories, ideologies, and practices of alternative education movements. A key aim of the course is to examine the various cultures of learning, teaching, and curriculum embedded within the diverse landscape of alternative education and the implications for formal and informal education today. Emphasis will be placed on (but not limited too) the liberal/progressive and anarchist/libertarian traditions of alternative education, including movements such as Socialist Sunday Schools, Modern Schools (Ferrer Schools), democratic free schools, as well as the deschooling movement.


Alternative Education Programs for At-Risk Youth: Issues, Best Practice, and Recommendations

Tobin and Sprague’s paper focuses on alternative education for students who are at risk of school failure, dropout or delinquency. This report is unique in its kind as it seeks to provide an outline of the common features that are found in alternative education programs.

While the limitations of the review are listed in the paper, it does not take away from the fact that this is a very comprehensive review of what alternative education should incorporate in order to serve those most at risk. For instance; (a) -smaller class size; (b) highly structured classroom management; (c) positive rather than punitive behaviour management; (d) adult mentors at school. Although more research is needed on types of delivery systems and specific strategies, with a strong research base recommendations for alternative educational programs in any setting can be provided.

Tobin and Sprague continually reinforce the importance of alternative education programs being supported by the entire community. Emphasized on numerous occasions is that with community backing in terms of space, funding, donations etc. alternative programs are far more likely to develop. Not only do the schools suffer from dropout rates but also the community, as the displaced youth attempt to find their place in a society without adequate preparation. Alternative education programs have already helped many youth and hold promise for the future if they are, expanded creatively [1]

Alternative education sites and marginalised young people: ‘I wish there were more schools like this one’

The authors, researchers at Griffith and Queensland University, argue that those who dropped out school and are less educated tend to be influenced by low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds, which leads to low achievement, low self-esteem, disengagement, absenteeism, suspension, or expulsion. The researchers use the data from involved observations and interviews with young people maginalised from mainstream schooling, workers in five alternative education sites in Queensland in order to investigate the young people’s personal circumstances, reasons for attending alternative schools, and what kind of characteristics these sites have. These young people experienced a wide range of difficult life circumstances such as highly frequent moves, homelessness, teenage pregnancy, and cultural/language barriers, which points to being main contributors to their disengagement from mainstream schooling but they are enthusiastic for learning in the sites that offer flexible and inclusive environments founded on supportiveness and respect with future-oriented relationship between teachers and students, and this should be supported as viable alternatives within schooling sectors. [2]

Alternative perspectives on early childhood education

Kessler investigated the notion of developmentally appropriate versus inappropriate practices by situating the discussion within the broad field of curriculum studies. Kessler (1991) stated, that one of the major issues in early childhood education today is the concern for what is perceived as the academic nature of the curriculum in many preschool and, especially, kindergarten classrooms. The emphasis in some programs for 4 and 5 year old children has moved away from a concern with children’s development and moved toward a concern with the teaching of specific academic skills, many of which were formerly taught in the first grade.

To begin, Kessler (1991) notes several problems with the justification for child-centered practices based on developmental theory which are set forth. Next the article unpacks, the philosophical, historical, and political dimensions of a curriculum based on appropriate practices which are highlighted. Finally, an alternative model based on the concept of early childhood education as schooling for democracy is suggested as an alternative justification for a child-centered curriculum based on the principles of developmentally appropriate practices. [3]

Closing sex education’s knowledge practice gap: The reconceptualisation of young people's sexual knowledge

Allen (2001) discusses the findings of her study that assessed the gap that exists between teenager’s own sexual practice and the knowledge they receive in sexual education classes. She notes such classes could be made more appealing to teenagers by including information they are more interested in, and indeed, the very avenues of sexual practice they are actively exploring. The study indicated that teenagers invested more time and interest in a discourse of erotics. The teenagers indicated that their interest in erotics discourse was greater than knowledge, and felt it was currently missing in sexual health education classes. Evidently, there is a particular way in which teenagers are expected to act as sexual beings, or in many cases asexual beings; Allen (2001) writes on p.111: sexual health education oftentimes inadvertently misses its mark. In attempting to ensure that young people do not court perceived health risks, it dispenses knowledge regarding sexuality that does not reflect young people’s lived experiences. Those portions of education programmes that focus not on knowledge, but behaviour are seen as more relevant and useful to young people[4]

Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government’s “free schools” in England, The

Hatcher’s article examines the free schools component of the Conservative-led Coalition government’s school reform program in England. The article focuses largely on areas of contention and controversy such as: application process, funding issues, evidence for/against improvements in social equality based on the free school model in Sweden and charter schools in the US, the role of for-profit companies, impacts on teachers and existing schools and the issue of democracy and accountability. In discussing the evidence for and against improvements in social equality and academic success, Hatcher relies on various informal studies, as well as sources like the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as well as the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). Interesting to note, is that although free schools do not have to follow the national curriculum, these organizations are using standardized tests and narrow/traditional definitions of success as a way of measuring the achievements of free schools. Ultimately, Hatcher’s conclusion is that although there is no evidence that free schools offer a better form of education, and give a lot of control and money to for-profit corporations, they are at least challenging the education system as it stands today, and are making way for progressive changes.[5]

Considering the Community Classroom

Katherine Schweitzer’s “Considering the Community Classroom” is a brief discussion of the common limitations within the traditional single-grade classroom, and the numerous benefits that could stem from a mixed/multi-aged classroom. Schweitzer also addresses the shift away from multi-aged classrooms as a response to the push for grade level testing, and how this focus needs to be re-evaluated in light of the difficulties students experience with the unrealistic division based solely on age. Considered in this discussion is the difficulty single-grade classrooms have in meeting the varied abilities of students, with Schweitzer claiming that mixed grade classrooms allow for a more natural and accepting differentiation. Schweitzer uses examples within alternative education (such as Montessori, Waldorf, and Whole Schools) where multi-aged groupings have been acknowledged as a beneficial structure for both the academic and social well being of students. The article continues on to emphasizes the positive aspects of role-modelling, as a practice for solidifying knowledge and as a possible solution to the bullying epidemic. Nevertheless, Schweitzer also address possible issues with simply adopting a mixed-grade classroom, without adopting the teaching methods. Therefore, the adoption of mixed-age classrooms requires a shift in the current teaching philosophy practiced in traditional schools. As Schweitzer notes, mixed-age classrooms have a student centred approach that allows student movement and for more cooperative learning. [6]

Deliberating through Group Differences in Education for Trust and Respect

In this article, the author deliberates on and develops Amy Gutmann’s notion that schools can promote respect through implementing the principles and procedures of deliberative democracy in a “politics of recognition” or public acknowledgement of minority cultural beliefs and their significance for political, social, and educational policy. The author argues that Gutmann’s form of deliberation falls short of the moral ideal of civic equality that fosters mutual respect. It is because, although communal pledge, obligation and commitment play an important role of maintaining a group's creed, not only does a dominant group in a cultural community tend to coerce the members of minority culture to accept its practices/beliefs, but the dominant identity can be against an individual identity. In a multicultural society like school, it is difficult to teach deliberation as a means of fostering respect since a major culture participation in deliberation might entail the legitimacy from virtue of status and distrust. This article also includes an argument that necessary are the introduction and exploration of the culturally situated position as well as dialogic inception as a solution. [7]

Democratic School Governance

By Jerry Mintz [8]

School governance is becoming a heated topic of discussion as educators begin to realize the importance of participant empowering in educational processes. The more empowered a student is in making decisions about their own education, the more responsibility they take over for their own education. Jerry Mintz was one of the founders of Shaker Mountain School in 1968 that had a democratic school setup where everyone has a vote in all decision-making. At the beginning of the school, all decisions were made by a majority vote. Meetings were also held each morning for daily announcements as well as special meetings were held when requested by a staff or a student. As Mintz is describes the governance system at his school, he points out that the meeting system success depends on the respect of its participants. If people feel that they are not really the ones making the decisions, participation and creativity declines and apathy prevails. Attendance to the meetings was not necessary, unless it was voted to be a “super meeting” where everyone would need to attend. Jerry Mintz discovered that through the mere attendance of students to meetings, average student vocabulary increased 2 and half times that of their public school counterparts!

Some school democracies choose to elect a chairperson who chairs the meetings for a period of time, as it is done in Summerhill. At Shaker Mountain, everyone takes turns chairing the meetings because that way everyone can learn how to run a meeting. Chairpersons are nominated and then elected at the start of each meeting by the majority vote of students. Sometimes, in the midst of a meeting a majority indicates that they think there should be a new chairperson, and then a new chairperson is nominated and elected. Each meeting is logged in a log book.

If an unusual decision was made, then when the majority vote was counted, if more than 5 people opposed the vote the discussion continued until another vote was taken. The chairperson learns to be skilled in noticing when people had raised their hands and in what order, but they can call on people who had not spoken yet or who raised their hands after others who have already spoken. There is also no veto power over decisions made in school meetings. Staff could also not make any decisions about the school without calling a school meeting and going through the voting process. There was also a “stop” rule created; when a student wanted another student to stop doing something they must say “stop”. At Summerhill, students were fined from their allowance but at Shaker Mountain people were generally with low income so warnings and strong warnings were given form the discussions in the meeting.

This process of conflict resolution was so effective that the school would often go an entire year without any physical altercations. The meetings did also have the power to suspend or expel students from the school. Those students were sent to a second smaller committee composed of elected people. Overall, this democratic method created an atmosphere where everyone in the school was respected for who they where and what they said. As a group, the school was able to solve any problems that came along. Jerry Mintz left the school and successfully started several other schools using this democratic governance method.

Examining the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education

In her article, Hewett (2001) discusses the popular Reggio Emilia approach in early childhood education, which draws from the ideas of many great thinkers, yet can be understood as much more than a heterogeneous blend of theories. Drawing on the notion put forth by Piaget, that children are investigators; Reggio Emilia stresses the importance of the role the child plays as researcher in their learning. John Dewey (1969), as one of the many theorists who inspired the Reggio Emilia approach, more plainly stated “all thinking is research”. This statement lies as the heart and soul of Reggio Emilia, and what makes it stand apart from other schools. The children are celebrated as natural researchers as they question, and inquire about their world.

With that in mind, Hewett (2001) stressed the following points concerning the learner, the instructor, and knowledge serve to guide the Reggio Emilia approach to educating young children: the learner possesses rights, is an active constructor of knowledge, and is a social being; the instructor is a collaborator and co-learner along with the child, a guide and facilitator, and a researcher; and knowledge is viewed as being socially constructed, encompassing multiple forms of knowing, and comprised of meaningful wholes. [9]

From “Contested” Multiculturalism to “Localized” Multiculturalism: Chinese and Vietnamese Youth in Osaka, Japan

In this article, Okubo explores Japanese government policies and reforms related to ‘Tabuka kyōsei,' which means multiculturalism and coexistence. The author uses the data gained through a case study and interviews with young activists and students in Osaka, Japan. The researcher explains that the inception of ‘Tabuka kyōsei’ policy was influenced by the needs for resolving social, cultural issues between Japanese citizens and those who have different nationalities and ethnic background such as Chinese, Vietnamese, Ainus, Okinawans, Buraku (the lowest-class people), and Koreans (descendents of war labors), and the concept of this was created to accommodate foreigners into Japanese society in the 1990s but became more politicized, which the author called ‘contested multiculturalism.' The author indicates the positives from young people’s every day experiences in multicultural education programs and ethnic club activities, which is ‘Localized Multiculturalism’ to reduce a conflictual relationship to the state. [10]

Mapping Alternative Education: The present status and prospects of alternative education

In this magazine article, the author, a publisher of Mindle, explores Korean alternative educational status, classifying it in four categories; Approved, Unapproved (urban, rural secondary schools, and alternative elementary school), Commissioned alternative schools and Home schooling. He reports that there are about 200 alternative schools in Korea, and they, since 2000, started to appear. Different from most other countries, the first Korean alternative school was for 'high school students,' which shows that the standardised Korean public education system only for the college entrance exam and the drawback of it led to alternative education. He argues that there need a strict examination agency in approving alternative schools and methodology to revitalize the falling public education, keeping strict precaution to the distortion of the true meaning of alternative education resulting from unidentified private educative institutes changing into alternative schools. [11]

Motivation: Kept Alive Through Unschooling

By Magda Levin-Gutierrez [12]

Motivation is an important virtue that guides our actions and makes us set and finish our goals. Fostering motivation is a key factor in child learning. To help us understand how we can foster motivation in our students we can look at two theories: Expectancy Value Theory and Three Elements of Intrinsic Motivation.

The Expectancy- Value Theory is a cognitive theory that can help us understand how motivation guides our actions and behavior. Completed tasks can have attainment value, interest, utility (usefulness) or cost (effort) value to us. A great example would be when a child places all four value types on a game such as Minecraft. The game allows people to be creative and construct their own world using blocks. The amount of knowledge/information a child gains from playing and exploring the game cannot be matched to any prescribed curriculum. Expectancy is the probability of success recognized by an individual, also referred to as self-efficacy. Unschoolers are often told that they are capable of doing anything if they really want to. Adults/educators/parents cannot determine a child’s capabilities, only the child themselves can do so. This is because our evaluation of a completed task is based on our own expectancy value and not the child’s. For example, if a child is coloring and left some parts blank, we may think that the task has not been completed, even though it may be completed to the child’s expectation. The important thing to remember is that our expectations as adults/parents/educators are not the same as those of a child. Growing in an environment where kids are guided by their own expectations can further foster motivation.

The Three Elements of Intrinsic Motivation Theory recognizes that extrinsic motivation is successful at mechanical tasks, but for creating and long lasting motivation, intrinsic motivation can be gained through autonomy, mastery and purpose. In public schools children are given very limited autonomy, usually consisting of deskwork and guided problem solving. Mastery is usually assessed with rubrics and grades. Unschooled children, on the other hand, are given substantial autonomy to by providing an environment to learn based on personal interest. When the child is given autonomy, no assessment can be given to determine if mastery is achieved or not, because it is a self-evaluative process driven by intrinsic motivation. Lastly, finding and recognize purpose is a purely individual process and cannot be predetermined by a given curriculum as it is in public schools.

One of the key components of success is intrinsic motivation. Public education often tends to kill or suppress intrinsic motivation and increase extrinsic motivation in the form of grades and other rewards. Unschooling, on the other hand, can provide a place where intrinsic motivation is maintained.

One school principal’s journey from the mainstream to the alternative

This article presents the crucial role school leaders play in the success of alternative school models using focussing on the philosophies of Commitment, Community and Culture and Curriculum connectedness. It is written via a narrative method from a school principal of an alternative school, focussing on preparing students for a career in the contemporary music industry.

The research is significant in showing how an alternative model like Harmony High is able to (re)engage students who have been disengaged from schooling through the fostering of a sense of commitment to the community of learners. It also provides insight as to how educational leadership can be (re)imagined in counter-hegemonic ways. Drawing from experiences of Neil, the school principal, it shed light on his commitment to Deweyean notions of democratic schooling and a strong social justice. He attributed the failure of mainstream schools to engage students resulting in a lack of social improvement for the least advantaged. His philosophy that the institutions should serve the students and not the other way round is achieved through high levels of engagement and buy-in to the school culture which strengthens the sense of community. The success of Harmony High lies in ensuring connectedness in the curriculum by taking into account students life-worlds and the avoidance of conflating success as determining post- school pathways, but rather stressed on the relevance and provision of opportunities in the music industry. [13]

On ignorant schoolmasters. In Jacques Ranciere: Education, Truth, Emancipation

Ranciére’s essay critiques compulsory schooling’s reliance on an educator to provide knowledge for those less educated, and postulates that despite its appearance of providing equality, the relation of ‘knower’ teacher and the ‘unknowing’ student perpetuates social inequality. Compulsory schooling claims to be negating inequality, yet it creates inequality in its process. This traditional ‘transmissional’ form of pedagogy assumes that we are unequal; the educator possesses more of this gift called education, and thus will help to make students equal by the dissemination of this knowledge. The essay is a good read for those interested in alternative educational practices, as it questions the reliance on a knowledge expert/teacher figure and argues that compulsory schooling will only lead one studying within it further away from their own ‘emancipation’. Ranciére tells the anecdote of the schoolmaster Jacotot, who in 1830s Holland and France proclaimed that “uneducated people could learn on their own, without a teacher explaining things to them, and that teachers...couuld teach what they themselves were ignorant of” (Ranciere, 2010, p.1). Students of Jacotot were provided with a bilingual text of Flemish French (a language Jacotot had no knowledge of). Despite this ‘ignorance’ students proceeded to learn the language the French language on their own. Ranciére explains how the process and content of compulsory schooling remains ignorant to the fact that schools reproduce inequality through students’ “stultification”; schools are thus unable to bring about social justice and actually impede individual thought and equality. Ranciére states that “there is no social emancipation, and no emancipatory school” and that because “[s]ociety is a mechanism ruled by the momentum of unequal bodies. Only individuals can be emancipated” (p.6). A fundamental shift needs to occur in order for emancipation of a student to occur; “by denouncing the paradigm of explanation” commonly utilized in compulsory schooling, Jacotot beleived that “explanatory logic is a social logic; it is a way in which the social order is presented and reproduced” (Ranciére, 2010, p. 6). Thus the essay raises good questions about what one escapes in terms of psychic limitations through participation in compulsory schooling and its illusion of producing equality, as well opening the door to imaginings for what individual intellectual ‘emancipations’ might look like for those outside of the mainstream schooling system. [14]

Philosophies of educational research

In this paper reviewing epistemological positions and definitions of knowledge and learning in educational research, Bredo reviews the history of different movements in educational and psychological research. Namely, he outlines the distinction between external relations: (empiricism) with positivism, and post-positivism, and internal relations: (subjective idealism), with structuralism, and post-structuralism. He then goes on to discuss dialectical and transactional relations: (absolute realism /dialectical materialism), with its corresponding critical theory, and pragmatism. Of note for this project is Bredo’s discussion of critical theory and dialectical epistemological models. Critical theory emphasizes how certain forms of knowledge can be prejudiced, subjective, and exploitative. Bredo stresses the importance of educational research moving into this critical and social justice praxis, and acknowledges alternative ways in which educational research can be conducted and the pitfalls of staying within positivist and post-positivism designs. [15]

Playful Learning and Montessori Education

Lillard begins this article by defining ‘playful learning’ as occupying the space between free play and guided play on a spectrum of play. She then gives a brief overview of the history of Montessori Education as well as an in-depth comparison of playful learning to Montessori Education. Lillard provides a summary of the ways that Montessori is similar to the concept of playful learning (both are a combination of freedom and structure, involve interaction with both teachers and peers, and are intrinsically motivated), as well as a summary of how they differ (views on fantasy and pretend play, semantics of ‘work’ vs ‘play’ and intended outcomes). Throughout the article, Lillard draws on multiple studies to support the methods of Montessori education and incorporates her own predictions of Maria Montessori’s opinions on topics that were not addressed during Montessori’s time. To conclude the article, Lillard argues in support of the efficacy of Montessori Education, using both theory and current research studies to support the claims that there are both cognitive and social benefits to the Montessori approach.[16]

Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose

The authors, experienced educators and advocates for young children education based on play and well being, used neurological and scientific evidence to show that children in kindergarten are not ready to read. However the Common Core State Standards require that by the end of kindergarten, children must “read emergent-reader text with purpose and understanding”. As a result, teachers have been forced to take an instruction-based approach that has substituted the more active, play-based one. The authors argue that the lack of play in kindergarten education have negative consequences in social behaviour later in the life of the children in addition to an increment in stress in children and teachers to reach the expected results. Therefore, the authors propose a revision of the standards from the Common Core and the cessation of high-stakes testing. Furthermore, they suggest that deeper research is needed to identify and develop strategies that enhance children to become fluent readers. [17]

Religious segregation and the emergence of integrated schools in Northern Ireland

Smith gives a background on how the first set of alternative education schools arose in Northern Ireland. He allows the reader to grasp a great understanding of both the historical and future obstacles in bringing children from both a Catholic and Protestant background together. The opening sections explain the historical background of how the Catholics rose under Anglican rule and formed their own government in Dublin, claiming 26 of the 32 counties, currently know as the Republic of Ireland. The review also explains how the immediate segregation developed as governments of their respective country choose to alienate the other.

During the 1970’s the first kind of alternative education arose in Northern Ireland, commonly known and refereed to as integrated schools (an equal number of both Protestants and Catholics attending the same school). Contrary to popular belief these schools mainly developed from parental involvement rather than government initiatives, symbolic of many of the alternative education schools today. Many concerned parents came together and formed the group All Children Together (ACT) in 1974, opening the first school in Belfast in 1981. The important consideration with integrated schools was that they were not controlled by either the church nor the government.

The ability of the integrated schools to have an equal balance in representing both protestant and catholic beliefs in the syllabus is the main reason as to why so many parents choose to send their children to the schools. Another main attraction was children whose parents marriage was of a mixed religious background or from a family that had no religious background.

More and more schools started to appreciate this method and despite continuing bombing and rioting between the two separate terrorist organizations, these schools thrived. In September 2014, there were 61 integrated schools containing 21,000 students, representing 9% of the schooling population [18]

Relationality as an Educational Philosophy

By Rona Zollinger [19]

How do we teach and model the moral and ethical values of sustainable living in ways that engage students? Teachers are often unable to transmit those values because up to one third of students in American public schools drop out before they graduate. Rona Zollinger has created an innovative program that targets those “at risk” youth. The Environmental studies academy (ESA) , near San Francisco, California is a self-contained classroom of 24 “at risk” youth and has a goal of creating a school that is more like a community center. The program is based on relationality where students are connected with each other and the world around them.

The program is experiential and based upon the ecological principles of sustainable education and partnership education. The students work on hands-on, ecologically focused, community based, real life projects, as well as independent study coursework. Throughout the program Rona was able to identify 10 essential processes that are necessary to foster and maintain engagement in the ESA. They include: social action (action oriented projects), acceptance and diversity (trust and team-building), mutual accountability, relational values (creating classroom community with strong sense of connection), purposeful intergenerational relationships (between students, partners, volunteers, community members), inspirational appreciation (public demonstration of projects), critical thinking, emergent learning, personal ad community health, courage and renewal.

Astonishingly, student attendance increased by 12%, behavioral problems decreased by 85%, and students scored on average 24% higher on standardized testing. Further, over 90% of students enrolled graduated form the program. The ESA program gives a great example that promoting relationality, environmental sustainability, and community health can be a place where students are academically successful.

Schools as damaging organisations:instigating a dialogue concerning alternative models of schooling

In the article, Schools as damaging organisations: instigating a dialogue concerning alternative models of schooling, Francis and Mills talks about ways in which schooling is damaging to young people and teachers. The choice of the words ‘injurious’ and panopticon emphasized the psychological damages and inequality created by the current education system. The paper also serves to instigate dialogue on possible alternative forms of schooling that will avoid the damaging effects of the present system. For most part, the articles highlighted and gave examples on how schools are platforms from which inequality is encouraged through a process of distinction. The neoliberal agendas in education has undermined efforts to improve social inclusion but instead made inequality more pervasive through competition. The school as a panopticon of rigidity and surveillance exacerbate practices of hierachisation and exclusion. Such is not only damaging to students but to teachers as well. While both authors acknowledge in their dialogue the presence of alternative forms of education and their philosophies through mention of the Summerhill and Swedish schools example, they did not however, go into detail into the support of such but rather appeal to the audience to consider alternative improvements in the current system, like curriculum changes, to address the failures of the existing system.[20]

Sexuality, schooling and adolescent females: The missing discourse of desire

In her radical work regarding sex-education curriculum in the U.S., Michelle Fine defined four discourses associated with teenage sexuality: sexuality as individual morality, sexuality as victimization, sexuality as violence, and a missing discourse of sexual desire. Fine discovered a discourse (from the teens themselves) of desire that disrupted common understandings of sex as a dangerous act for teenagers exaggerated by sex education curriculum. Fine (1988) discovered a discourse of desire operating amongst young women that clashed with many of the stereotypes associated with, and common sexual discourses surrounding teenage girls through talking with teenage girls about their sexual experiences. In part, Fine discussed how relationships with class and race were not acknowledged by American curriculum, as well as typical female roles that can hinder a young woman’s personal, professional or social life, such as docility, economic reliance on males, expectations to be married and maintaining a meek, domesticated manner.


The home education movement in context, practice, and theory: Editors' introduction

This article presents to the readers what homeschooling is and what it is not through the examples of how different nations craft their education policy. It also tries to explicate the reasons behind the growing popularity of this movement in some countries and the controversies it is creating in others. It is interesting to note that the author has likened homeschooling to a social movement as much as it is an educational alternative. The paper also examines how homeschooling works in the USA through the pedagogy of the home educators and the outcomes of education. In that he mentioned that while the teachings is idiosyncratic to each family, he shed light on how the movement also faced issues with the laws. He also looked at ways in which the outcomes of homeschooling can be viewed- with respect to the child’s growth and towards society.[22]

The Impact of Homeschooling on the Adjustment of College Students

Cynthia Drenovsky, a professor of Sociology at Shippensburg University and Isaiah Cohen, BA in political science with a minor in sociology, conducted a survey and analysed the data to test their hypothesis that individuals who participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, volunteer opportunities and scouting prior to attending college, have a better adjustment to college regarding self-esteem and depression. They focus particularly in the differences between students who have been homeschooled versus those who had no homeschooling experience. They found that there were no differences in the levels of self-esteem between college students who had been homeschooled and those who had not. But they found that college students who just received traditional education had significantly higher depression scores than those who were homeschooled. Furthermore, the authors noticed that homeschooled individuals tend to rate their college experience more positively and show greater academic success. [23]

The politics of homeschooling new developments, new challenges.

In the politics of home schooling, this paper presents the historical and philosophical beginnings of home schooling in the United States. It presents how home schooling with its origins as an ideological movement, built around conservative Christian beliefs to a movement which have a political, legal and social force to be reckoned with. The article documents and gives examples of the politicised nature and development of home schooling through court cases showing how advocates of home schooling fought against the state for their belief that they hold the right to educate their children. [24]

“We Teach All Hearts to Break”: On the Incompatibility of Education with Schooling at All Levels, and the Renewed Need for a De-Schooling of Society.

Christian Garland’s "“We Teach All Hearts to Break”: On the Incompatibility of Education with Schooling at All Levels, and the Renewed Need for a De-Schooling of Society,” is a brief discussion of issues within all levels of schooling that is caused by the capitalist system. Garland focuses largely on how schools are authoritarian in nature and are not about true growth or knowledge. Garland uses multiple examples of universities forced to limit their range of degree subjects, and research, and teaching to whatever can “prove its market worth.” Ultimately, universities become about “a relative upward re-skilling for the knowledge economies of these countries, and has little to do with education or knowledge for its own sake.” Furthermore, the hierarchical and bureaucratic experience of schooling, at all levels, intentionally diminishes students capacity to think critically so that they will become pliable workers in the capitalist economy. Garland assures the reader that there is ample resistance to this through such movements as student walk-outs and strikes, however he suggests society needs a radically different way of ‘doing’ that “resists and opposes the imperatives of market discipline, of hierarchical power, and state-determined wisdom.” [25]


Alternative Approaches to Education – a guide for parents and teachers

This pint-sized guide, although focused on schools in the United Kingdom, is suitable for any parents or children exploring the terrain of alternative approaches to compulsory schooling. In “Part 1: Alternative approaches to education”, the book provide a synopsis of many alternative education methods (such as Steiner Waldorf, Montessori, Democratic Schools and Regio Emilia). In addition, each is also accompanied by a brief overview of a.the philosophy of the approach, b. how it views childhood, and is c. accompanied by a thoughtful “Questions often asked about_____” section, dealing with questions one unfamiliar might typically have of the programming or specific situations their children may encounter in the educational environment. Also useful is the listing of schools by region in England, which include statistics such as when the school was established, the age range of pupils, number of pupils attending, number of staff, and curriculum. “Part 2: Doing it yourself”, lays out a due process for setting up a small school or how to implement home-based education, within a British-located context. “Part 3: Alternate approaches in the state system” gives an overview of state schools (similar to British Columbia’s government partially-funded private schools) that attend to social and emotional learning of participants, and emphasize community learning and democratic participation. Because state schools are often smaller in size, there is also a case study of small magnet and charter schools in America included in the analysis of successful schooling opportunities outside of mainstream schooling, whose goal is arguably to create an obedient citizen ready to work and participate as a consumer in the economic system. The book is a good starting place with those who have little to no knowledge of possibilities for alternative approaches to education for elementary and high school age youth.


Compulsory mis-education

UBC Library

In this book, Goodman presents a set of arguments and ideas about the US contemporary schooling system, he argues schools have become “a universal trap” for middle and poor class youth. For him, children and youth are overly exposed to institutionalized schooling, which is reflected in the detriment of their independent thought and their freedom of expression. The author based his comments on the lack of freedom that schooling offers. For him, education does not allow students to enjoy life and pursue human cultivation. In this book, the author argues against any educational reform and advocates for restructuring the system drastically, one of the most important suggestions he makes, is the elimination of schools as social and physical institutions. According to the author, “The schools less and less represent any human values, but simply adjustment to a mechanical system” (p.10, italics in the original).

This book is divided in three parts, the first part is dedicated to elementary education, the second to high schools and the last one to college education. To convey the argument in favor of restructuring public schooling, Goodman situates schools as spaces of conflict, where social and personal values collapse and create contradictions. He states that education should be about offering students a variety of opportunities for learning. For Goodman, “education must be voluntary rather than compulsory, for no growth to freedom occurs except by intrinsic motivation” (p.27). Some other ideas he offers to restructure education are: to abolish schools for first graders and empower communities (neighbors, friends and families) to take charge and educate kids. To dispense with the schools buildings and open up the use of spaces in the cities, which benefits real life learning situations over abstract knowledge. To relay on people from different backgrounds to teach and guide learning. To make class attendance not compulsory, letting students the option to quit and resume their studies freely. To disperse big urban schools in small groups and enhance the relation between schools, farms and youth organizations.

To finalize Goodman argues that it is necessary to give youth free time and open up to them opportunities to navigate life and learning, find a job and try out different experiences. Goodman argues that youth need to develop the maturity necessary to assume their learning and disrupt the dependence on “extrinsic valuation and motivation” (p.54). He considers that young students will benefit enormously from the elimination of the grading system, the abolition of the compulsory attendance and the freedom to step in and out of the university. [27]

Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

Dumbing Us Down is a good example of Taylor’s writing as a critic of American compulsory schooling’s (un)intended damaging effects on students at its best. Fiercely critical of mass education, Gatto proclaims that it “ is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety” (p. 27). In this 104 page book, Gatto weaves his experience teaching in both elite and poverty-stricken parts of New York City with his own upbringing, philosophies of education from leading 20th century theorists, and compelling pleas for local, community based education to be a better choice than government mandated compulsory schools. In four concise sections, Gatto moves from outlining American compulsory school’s ability to inhibit and detract from local ways of knowing, or the development of personal awareness and growth. Referring to his own process of growing up, Gatto proudly asserts that “in Monongahela by that river everyone was my teacher” (p.40), and that it is there, not in classrooms that real education occurred: “in Monongahela, [is] where I learned to teach from being taught by everyone in town, where I learned to teach work from being to shoulder my share of responsibility...and where I learned to find adventures I made myself from the everyday stuff around me—the river and the people who lived alongside it” (pp.42-43). He advocates for “the local” informing one’s way of knowing themselves and the world around them, and states that “mass-education cannot work to produce a fair society because its daily practice is practice in rigged competition, suppression, and intimidation” (p.77). Dumbing Us Down is an engaging manifesto of Gatto’s passionate stance of opposition to compulsory schooling, and the plea to validate the local and outdoor experiences of youth as credible sources of educational value.


Experience & Education

Dewey’s book offers a solid analysis and comparison of both ‘traditional’ and ‘progressive’ education, and argues that neither is sufficient, as they do not apply the principles of a carefully developed philosophy of experience. As such, he argues for a rejection of the ‘Either-Or’ philosophy, and rather for education to be treated as a system built on experience, where both progressive and traditional elements are adopted. He further argues that it is not enough to simply have ‘experiences,’ it is the quality of these experiences that truly matters. As a further critique on what could be called false experiences, Dewey argues that one of the problems with education is the insistence on providing experiences in preparation for the future. We live in the present, and therefore our experiences should be a manifestation of our present conditions and needs. To paraphrase Dewey, if we cannot gain meaning from our present experience, we will not be able to gain meaning from the future’s ‘present experience.’ [29]

Freedom and Beyond

UBC Library Link

“Universal compulsory schools are not and never were meant to be humane institutions, and most of their fundamental purposes, task, missions, are not humane” (p.242, italics in the original)

In this book, Holt presents a critique of the education system and the ideas grounding it. The author problematizes the relations of freedom and authority in the education system and explores some of the complexities between different alternatives of education, the current system of schooling and freedom. For instance, he uses his experiences teaching, playing with kids, and visiting schools to exemplify the limitations and possibilities of freedom. Some of the topics he explores in a great detail are authority, discipline, deschooling and the problem of making choices. For the latter, Holt uses his experience in a teaching setting to present scenarios where students struggle to take ownership of freedom at the face of open and alternative approaches to education. For the author, authority, discipline and freedom have different social structures, uses, limits and tensions, and are influenced by the educational setting, social values, kids’ past experiences and future expectations. This book has a number of advices and suggestions for readers interested in running alternatives (to) schools or freeing their schooling experiences.

Holt dedicates two chapters to talk about the relation of education and poverty. According to Holt, the form how traditional schooling is designed converts the schools in obstacles to poor kids, it is because the schooling model keeps kids at the bottom, competing in a no fair situation. In Holt’s words, “Schools, far from being the means by which poor and minority group kids may escape discrimination, are instead a very powerful instrument of discrimination.” (p.198) The schooling system, according to Holt, makes kids believe they have the opportunity to overcome poverty and if they don’t take advantage of the situation, it might look like it was their own fault. [30]

How To Establish an Alternative School

Kellmayer seeks to describe how you as a reader can start your own alternative education. Having developed ideas based on students who fall under the ‘those at risk’ category and comparisons with other minority groups a number of important considerations are identified. In the opening chapters Kellmayer explains how many of the current and most successful alternative education schools have developed under the supervision of everyday parents who had a real drive and want for change. Kellmayer explains that usually their rationale is based on bad personal experiences or they simply don’t see the positives from the current options available. More often than not, other parents feel the same. Kellmayer highlighted some steps and tips in order to dealing with opposition and how best to counteract this.

The following chapters highlight 10 characteristics of effective alternative education programs. For instance, a characteristic is to be clear and concise as to what your alternative school stands for and what qualities you will look to instil in your students. Others include identifying the main leadership group, who is running the school and who in charge of finances and other logistics. This flows into the final stages of the book, where Kellmayer highlights the importance of finding a feasible sight, choosing staff and developing a curriculum to name but a few.

The importance of community funding and volunteering is reiterated a lot during the book. Interviewing parents to find volunteers who have particular interests in certain areas; arts, music, coaching, maths etc is crucial to getting volunteers on board. As the book is targeted towards at risk children, there is a framework for curriculum development outlined, which explores the role of technology and curriculum options such as crisis intervention, substance-abuse prevention programs, internships, and peer mediation. [31]

Inside Summerhill

Through photographs paired with journalistic memoir texts, Popenoe captures his experiences at as a student at the Summerhill School in the U.K. over a four year period before returning to America. The end result is a unique and enlightening visual journal of a child in the late 1960s experiencing a democratic free school environment similar to what was advocated at the time within the United States. Photos that accompany textual passages give a rare first person account of the physical space of Summerhill. Within the book, there are intimate moments illustrating children at play or participating in democratic community meetings. Summerhill, as a free school where it is not compulsory to attend any classes, is often treated with curiosity for those only familiar with mainstream schooling. As A.S. Neil famously once said, ”freedom is not license”; an individual’s freedom is not to do whatever they want at any given moment, and relational to the other individuals at the school. Popinoe describes his own journey of claiming freedom, and his first-person narrative provides credibility for the agency and emotional intelligence that children innately possess. For example, upon first arriving at the school, he grapples with being able to do whatever he likes, and is suspicious, describing trying to find what the “strings attached” are of Summerhill, not trusting its promise to allow one to proceed however they see fit as long as it does not impinge on other’s freedom. Popinoe describes this process as a rite of passage at the school, where each new student member goes through where they “discover the limits of acceptable behaviour and the payment for over-stepping” (Popinoe, 1970, p.4). Yet instead of finding this sweet spot of “gone too far”, what the student of Summerhill ultimately discovers is that “there ARE no strings” (Popinoe, 1970, p.4). Popenoe’s documentation of his time as a student of Summerhill succeeds in transporting the reader to an environment where school is about individual freedom and choices rather than coercive rules. For those who do not have time to visit, the text and photographs depict the school as a social space encouraging children to use their agency and responsibility while experiencing joy, freedom and a unique sense of belonging to the democratic school environment as well as thee world around them. [32]

Learning in Social Action. A contribution to Understanding Informal Education

UBC Library Link

In this book Foley constructs a theoretical framework connecting learning with social struggle. For the author, “the most powerful learning occurs as people struggle against oppression”, and it is result of everyday live. The significance of every day learning is not always recognized as a valuable learning in context of adult education, the author argues that the majority of meaningful learning essentially happens “informally and incidentally” and it is product of life and social relations.

For Foley, incidental and informal learning is particularly present in context of social struggle, where the interest of people’s learning is deeply related to emancipatory ends, social transformation and contestation. Foley draws from cases in United States, Australia, Zimbabwe and Brazil to point out and underline the different forms in which learning happens. For example, Foley illustrates how the learning takes place mostly “as they [activists] struggle to make sense of what is happening to them and to work out ways of doing something about it.” (p.2)

The book has a notable influence from historical materialism and Marxist ideas. For instance, Foley sustains that struggles have been a constant in human history, and they are expressions of “the efforts of people to maintain and extend control over their lives” (p.9). He stands that “a genuinely emancipatory politics and economics must be socialist” (p.11) and he believes learning plays a vital contribution to the development of a just and democratic society. Foley’s beliefs and intellectual influences are notably present in his approach to research and in his methodology. He uses social phenomenology to represent how learning was lived by those involved in social action, following a participatory research approach. The author participates closely to the movements, and includes an analysis of the conflicts between learning, ideology, discourses and macro/micro politics experienced by the activists.

Ideology and discourse play a central role in Foley’s understanding of the learning happening in social and political struggles. The author defines ideology as an active process in which social meanings and structures are “produced, challenged, reproduced and transformed”. Likewise, discourses are defined as “spoken and written language” that can be interpreted linguistically and as a social phenomenon. In chapters two and three, the author articulates the role of ideologies and discourses within the learning taking place in social action, he shows how activists within the movements unlearn dominant, oppressive and discriminatory ideologies and discourses, and replace them with counter ideologies and discourses. In that way, activists make sense of the situations they are living, work out tactics and contestation strategies.

Chapter four is a full analysis of the relations between education and capitalism, Foley develops a comprehensive argument about the importance of bringing capitalism and its influence to critical research in education and research in learning and social action. He expresses how social moments struggle against the power and dominance of capitalism, patriarchy and paternalism, which reproduces oppressive relations in a macro and micro level. He asserts that learning in social action is complex, contested and contradictory. He invites critical scholars and scholars in adult education to go beyond the individual transformation that learning provokes, and see further to the meanings of learning for emancipatory ends and in day by day struggles for justice, emancipation and democracy.[33]


Build a School in the Cloud

(TED talk) [34]

Sugata Mitra, a profesor of Educational Technology and researcher in the University of Newcastle in the UK. He is interested in children education, self-organization systems, and remote learning. In this TED talk he argues that the current educational system is obsolete. He states that learning is an outcome of educational self-organization and educators should focus on promoting self-organization. In order to achieve this, he proposes the creation of Self-Organized Learning Environments (SOLE), where teachers work as mediators who present challenging questions for children to research and answer working in teams. However, there are some that argue against Mitra’s proposal by saying that children get distracted and questioning the sustainability of the project.

Changing Education Paradigms

By Ken Robinson (TED talk) [35]

Public education is being reformed in every country around the world because we are seeking new/better ways to educate children to take their place in 21st century economy and at the same time transmit cultural identities in a globalized world. The problem is that we are trying to improve the old and not creating a new way of educating. Our current education system was designed for the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution. During that time, intelligence was thought to be the knowledge of deductive reasoning and classical literature, also known as academic education. This view is still engrained in our educational system that divides people into academic and non-academic groups.

This view of “intelligence” has given the rise of the modern epidemic of ADHD. Ken Robinson believes that it is a fabricated epidemic that has suspiciously risen dramatically along with the growth of standardized testing. He points out that the world around us is so stimulating and interesting, yet we wonder why children are distracted and further penalize them for it by medicating them.

Many types of intelligences fall victim to the current prevailing mentality of academic vs. nonacademic. For example, the Arts value aesthetic experiences- ei. experiences involving all of the senses. Anesthbetic is when you shut your senses off, and a lot of the ADHD medications do just that. The goal of education should not be to anesthetize children to the world, but to wake them up to what is inside of them and to explore the world. Our education is modeled on Industrialism and acts like a factory with bells, specialized facilities, and batches of students organized by age. Education should not be about conformity and standardization, it should be about the exact opposite.

How to escape education’s death valley

(TED talk) [36]

Sir Ken Robinson is a British educator and writer expert in creativity and good quality education. In this TED talk he explores the idea that the current educational system is not adequate for children to thrive. Robinson argues that there are three principles that must be considered in order to help children develop and flourish: 1) Individuals are naturally different and diverse, 2) Curiosity, and 3) human life is inherently creative. However, the schools we have nowadays are based on a dominant culture that is no longer focused on educating, but on testing. Consequently, students are limited to learn an established curriculum, reach certain standards and learn how to pass high-stakes tests.

Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America's Achievement Culture

An emotional documentary that offers insight into the negative effects of the current public education system in the United States. It discusses how the capitalist system is a driving force guiding the preparation of students in schools, and how and why the goal has shifted from learning to obtaining good employment. This discussion includes a brief history of societal and political conditions and events such as the No Child Left Behind act, which have influenced the development of the current schooling system. The film provides an analysis of the current push on ‘resume building’ while in high school and contrasts it with the idea of education as learning and enjoying life. The perspectives of students, parents, teachers, professionals (psychologists, doctors, professors) and alternative education advocates are explored throughout the film. Students commonly cite stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and suicide as being a response to the pressure they feel to succeed academically and socially in school, and teachers often stated that their educational philosophies were incompatible with the schools systems, leading to teacher burnout within the first five years. To conclude, the film examines the alternative ‘Blue School’ in New York, and advocates for greater alternative education opportunities.[37]

School’s Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten

In Langnau am Albis, Switzerland, parents can send their children to a Forest Kindergarten; this school opportunity is a “two year public school program where children 4-7 are out in the forest every day, rain or shine”. Molomot’s film juxtaposes scenes from a traditional mainstream U.S Kindergarten in New Haven Conneticut. On one hand, the Forest Kindergarten provides the scenery of young children spending the majority of their school day in nature, moving, laughing, and exploring, While the indoor American kindergarten focuses on developing numeracy, literacy and social skills within a highly structured environment. In terms of curricular goals, within both indoor and outdoor Swiss kindergartens there is no development of reading, writing or math skills. The emphasis is placed on students being able to work on their social relations, developing on a skill set that includes communication, negotiation and problem solving. Despite the fact that children in Switzerland begin “schooling” in terms of reading and math two years behind American students, and “catch up” in terms of reading, writing and math by age 10. Within mainstream North American schooling, Kindergarten is the first stop in a K-12 system that begins to train children into a particular subject, obeying invisible social rules while at the same time participating in the indoctrination of a government mandated curriculum. This often has very little to do with the body, or the cognitive self-awareness needed to see oneself as part of a greater world, both in terms of society and nature. The film shows how Swiss children, when given the opportunity, display responsibility and agency of children as they attend school in all forms of weather, and do things such as play unsupervised, whittle with sharp knives and make their way to and from their school day without the accompaniment of parents. This short documentary calls into question what the purposes of any government sanctioned public schooling aims to achieve, and how socio-cultural environments shape one’s experience of compulsory schooling.


Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?


In February of 2006 Sir Ken Robinson presented a passionate speech at a TED Talks conference in Monterey, California. The focus of the conference was on three topics; the immense capacity of human creativity, the unknowable future, and education. Sir Robinson particularly focuses on education and creativity, claiming that everyone is invested and interested in education, as it is supposed to help us move towards a future we are unsure of. However, Sir Robinson claims that due to this uncertainty of the future it is exceedingly difficult (if not impossible) to educate for the future job market. Thus, a key component to future success is creativity, as it will give students the tools to adapt to the changing economy. Sir Robinson defines creativity as “having original ideas with value,” and he claims this skill is largely trained out of people by the time they reach adulthood. With the current education system there is a hierarchy of subjects; math and languages at the top, humanities in the middle, and the arts forever at the bottom. Furthermore, a hierarchy exists within the arts, with music and visual arts above drama and dance. This structure, according to Sir Robinson, results in schools educating only “peoples heads and mainly one side.” Ultimately, the education system is based on industrialism and what is believed to be the most useful knowledge required to get someone a job. Sir Robinson challenges the hierarchical system of knowledge, that he claims demeans some peoples knowledge while applauding others. In conclusion, Sir Ken Robinson maintains that the current system “has strip-mined our minds for a particular commodity, but in the future it won’t work,” the only hope for the future requires “a new conception of human ecology.” That we must remember the richness of human capacity by rethinking the fundamental principles with which we educate children. [39]

Susan Cain: The power of introverts


In March of 2012 Susan Cain presented her speech at a TED Talks conference in Longbeach, California. The focus of the speech was on introverts, and specifically how society has placed so much value on extroverts, that the introvert is left to conform or remain an outlier in both schools and the workplace. Cain explains that introversion is not merely shyness, which is about fear of social judgement, but more about how one responds to stimulation. Cain goes on to explain that historically society has always valued the ‘man of action’ over the ‘man of contemplation,’ however there was still a respect for contemplation and an understanding that it had its benefits. Nevertheless, the twentieth century brought a shift from agriculture to big business, and with it the movement of people into cities, where they had to prove themselves to strangers. This has been dubbed the ‘culture of personality’ and it has continued to thrive within schools and workplaces. Despite studies by psychologists that demonstrate group dynamics can actually impact how people think, as people will unconsciously mimic one another, there is still a belief that group work will present the best quality product. As a result the push for group work and an outgoing and engaging demeanour has resulted in many introverts becoming a cause for concern in the classroom, labelled as outliers or worse as problem cases. Cain clarifies that this does not mean schools should abandon collaboration outright, but rather that schools and teachers must remember the value of silence. Cain recommends more privacy and autonomy, in work and schools. That students need to work on their own (at least sometimes), because that is where/when deep thought occurs. Susan Cain goes into further details regarding the power of introverts in her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. [40]

The Puzzle of Motivation

By Dan Pink TED Talk

Dan Pink’s Ted Talk is based on his book Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us. Pink’s intended audience is business and corporations, but we can argue that at the core, our schools are structured in much the same way as a corporation in terms of management and productivity needs. Pink’s convincing theory on what motivates us; in work, school and in our personal lives is backed by four decades of solid scientific research on human motivation, and highlights the extreme mismatch between the human capital practices that organizations use and the practices that really work. Pink begins his talk by describing the practice of scientific management that was devised in the early 1900’s. Fredrick Winslow Taylor, was the mastermind behind scientific management which is grounded on the premise that all work consisted largely of simple, uninteresting tasks, and that the only viable method to get people to undertake these tasks was to incentivize them appropriately and monitor them cautiously. In other words, in order to get as much productivity out of your workers as conceivable, you must reward the behavior you seek, and punish the behavior you discourage, known as the carrot-and-stick approach.

This theory assumes that the main drive which powers human behavior is the drive to respond to rewards and punishments in our environment. As Pink notes, this suggests “human beings aren’t much different from horses – that the way to get us moving in the right direction is by dangling a crunchier carrot or wielding a sharper stick.” Pink goes on to discuss a relatively new theory in psychology called, self-determination theory (SDT). SDT suggests that human beings have an innate drive to be autonomous, self-determined and connected to one another, and that when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live fuller lives. Pink argues that organizations should focus on fostering these drives when managing their human capital by creating settings which focus on our innate need to direct our own lives (autonomy), to learn and create new things (mastery), and to do better by ourselves and our world (purpose). [41]


- Toni - Relationality as an Educational Philosophy; Motivation: Kept Alive Through Unschooling; Democratic School Governance; Changing Education Paradigms

- Lia - Alternative perspectives on early childhood education; Examining the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education; The Puzzle of Motivation

- Mimi - articles: 2.14 On ignorant schoolmasters. In Jacques Ranciere: Education, Truth, Emancipation, books: 3.1 Alternative Approaches to Education – a guide for parents and teachers, 3.3 Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling,3.7 Inside Summerhill, media: 4.5 School’s Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten

- Ewon - Alternative education sites and marginalised young people: ‘I wish there were more schools like this one’; Deliberating through Group Differences in Education for Trust and Respect; From “Contested” Multiculturalism to “Localized” Multiculturalism: Chinese and Vietnamese Youth in Osaka, Japan; Mapping Alternative Education: The present status and prospects of alternative education

- Stephanie - Considering the Community Classroom; Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?; Susan Cain: The power of introverts; “We Teach All Hearts to Break”: On the Incompatibility of Education with Schooling at All Levels, and the Renewed Need for a De-Schooling of Society

- Emily - Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition government’s “free schools” in England, Playful Learning and Montessori Education, Experience & Education, Race to Nowhere: The Dark Side of America's Achievement Culture

- Pearl - One school principal’s journey from the mainstream to the alternative, Schools as damaging organisations:instigating a dialogue concerning alternative models of schooling, The home education movement in context, practice, and theory: Editors' introduction, The politics of homeschooling new developments, new challenges.


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