Year 2013 — Volume 7 — Issue 13

How Unschoolers Can Help To End Traditional Reading Instruction
Pages: 1-27

Unschoolers can help end traditional, de-contextualized reading skills instruction, a change which might create other beneficial ripple effects. An unschooling parent and early childhood teacher educator, the author describes how his children learned to read without formal instruction. Next is a description of how prospective and practicing teachers react to this example, to examples of how children learned to read in alternative schools, and to reading research that clearly favors a more natural approach to learning to read. Five ways in which the unschooling model can influence others are described, and three specific suggestions for advocacy by unschoolers are outlined.


Digantar In India: A Case Study For Joyful Learning
Pages: 28-44

The hearts and minds of children and young adults are wide open to the wonders of learning and the fascinating complexities of life. The school has to provide for all these experiences. However, this experience of ‘going to school’ destroys children’s spirit to learn, their sense of wonder, their curiosity about the world, and their willingness to care for the human condition. After finding an ‘extraordinary sameness’ in our schools, Goodlad (1984) wrote, “Boredom is a disease of epidemic proportions. … Why are our schools not places of joy?” (p 242) As educators, we have the responsibility to educate and inspire the whole child – mind, heart, and soul and put more joy into students’ experience of going to school and get more joy out of working inside one. It is rightly said that joyful learning can flourish in school – if you give joy a chance. This paper discusses the example of Digantar schools as a case study of alternative schooling for joyful learning.
Vanita CHOPRA & Sonal CHABRA


A Curricular Paradigm Based Upon Vedic Epistemology: An Approach To Developing The Whole Person
Pages: 45-63

The Bhaktivedanta Dharma School (BDS) provides quality but yet affordable holistic education to the local Indonesian community in Bali. The school’s educational orientation is inspired by the Vedic (Hindu) goals of fruition of knowledge (Vedanta or the essence of the Vedic scriptures) and devotion (Bhakti) to God (Krishna). The curriculum integrates the best of both the eastern and western approaches to enriching young minds. The strengths of both value systems are seen to be crucial in the all-round, dynamic development of children. Not only is academic excellence emphasized but character development and awareness of the higher spiritual purpose of life are also imparted to the kids. The role of the teacher extends beyond the taught curriculum and s/he plays a vital role in the character development of the child, through his or her own personal example. This paper examines the pedagogical effectiveness of the implemented framework of holistic education at BDS based upon the perceptions and experiences of the teachers working in the school. An ethnographic approach was employed as the main research methodology with participant observation and open-ended interviewing the primary means of data collection and analysis. A total of six teachers working at BDS were interviewed in this study. The findings of the study provide deeper insights on the differences between BDS and mainstream, traditional schools in terms of their structural and curricular characteristics and the key challenges participant teachers faced in orientating to the alternative learning culture of BDS.
Dr. Kumar LAXMAN & Aristotle MOTII NANDY


School Refusal And Home Education
Pages: 64-85

When a child refuses to go to school, the whole family is placed in a highly distressing situation. The response of school and mental health professionals in the UK is to return the child to school as soon as reasonably possible; home education is almost never suggested as a viable alternative. Nevertheless, a number of parents decide that home education will be in the best interests of their children. This mixed-method study reports on 20 such families who completed questionnaires, followed up by 5 in-depth interviews. Parents generally reported that symptoms associated with school refusal, both physical and psychological, lessened or disappeared altogether. Moreover, although they had turned to home education as a last resort, the majority decided to continue after seeing their children thrive academically and socially. It is concluded that parents of school refusers should always be fully informed about home education.
Allison WRAY & Alan THOMAS