Year 2007 — Volume 1 — Issue 2

Are important and authentic Teachers members of our family?
Pages: 1-7

In this paper I would like to share an episode that happened in one of my graduate classes where we expanded the definition of teacher and therefore received a wider response to the question of who is your most important and authentic Teacher. It was interesting for me to note that only one person picked a school teacher and that of the 17 most important and authentic teachers among this groups lives 14 out of the 17 were family members.
Carlo Ricci


Holistic Education – A Personal Revolution
Pages: 8-22

This paper analyses the holistic approach inherent in unschooling, which takes learning outside of the restraints of mainstream education in order for each child to become the author of his or her own curriculum. Although educators now advocate student-centered modifications to the school system, we still view people in schools as agents, factors or products of an indispensable institutional agenda. The latest research and revisions developed in the name of reform are still generated in the context of a system that is unable perceive its own inadequacies and so projects them onto others-students, teachers and parents. Inspired by the work of Paulo Freire (1972), I contend that students must realize the pervasive oppression of schooling and gain power over themselves and their circumstances in order to become socially literate. These values of awareness, resistance and freedom involve going beyond reform to a genuine remaking of the learning environment in the spirit of holism.
Steven Taylor


Self-Directed Learning and Student Attitudes
Pages: 23-52

It is a commonly held belief that students who enjoy their experience of school perform better academically. Thus, educators often struggle with the questions of how best to motivate students and how to make learning fun. Some parents and educators, however, have simply moved away from traditional educational practices and are choosing to let students take charge of their own learning. The intent of this study is to evaluate the attitudes of students in two Sudbury model schools – schools in which students from ages 4-19 are completely responsible for their own education – and to show the positive correlation between freedom and choice in the learning environment and positive student attitudes. This study involves the opinions of 23 students from two Sudbury model schools, forming a small focus group. The schools both volunteered for the study, and students were asked if they would like to participate. The students who participated ranged in age from 4-16. Each completed a questionnaire that included both scaled questions and open-ended questions. Overall, students reported having a very positive experience of school as assessed by the questionnaire. There were also recognizable trends in their narrative answers that pointed towards an overall appreciation for the level of freedom in their schools. In general, the study proved that in the group surveyed there is a positive correlation between freedom in the educational environment and the students’ attitudes about school. This study points to the validity of self-direction in the learning environment, and notes several options for follow-up studies.
Jennifer Schwartz


Authentic Learning
Pages: 53-63

In my paper I use my own children as examples of how this way of learning might look like. They are people learning from out of their own curiosity- evolving new interests and ideas as they go along, rather then having learning imposed on them. The paper also features Radio Free School, a weekly radio program produced by my family which is reflective of what I like to call authentic learning .
Beatrice Ekoko



Year 2007 — Volume 1 — Issue 1

Unschooling Passions
Pages: 1-30

Unschooling is about learning through living. As unschooling parents we want to open up the world for our children to explore. But what if your child is passionately interested in just one thing? Doesn’t that close off his access to the world and limit his learning? I have two children who have discovered passionate interests. Instead of spending my time trying to convince them to try new things, I decided to explore their interests with them. I was amazed at how much of the world came to life when they were free, and encouraged, to immerse themselves in their deep, passionate interests.
Pam Laricchia


The Mystery of Pleasure: Thoughts on Teaching and learning Sex and Gender Relations in a Democratic Montessori Elementary Environment
Pages: 31-55

Dr Maria Montessori (1870-1952), saw the child as a ‘spiritual embryo’ naturally gravitating towards a state of ‘normalization’ through the evolving discovery of a ‘cosmic task’ that emerged from inquiring into one’s identity and role in the universe. Although she laid a philosophical framework for this ‘educating of the human potential’; she never openly discussed sexuality and sexual knowledge as a necessary part of this development. Dr Riane Eisler is a contemporary feminist systems theorist whose ‘partnership model’ of sexual politics embraces (and, in fact, openly endorses) the tenets of the Montessori approach.
Matthew Henry R. Rich


War Against the Imagination: Technology, Kids, and Autonomy
Pages: 56-62

All children’s movies produced, marketed and distributed by corporations are carefully designed sales delivery systems. They exist to sell. Secondarily, but of no less importance, they transmit ideology: even the most banal animated features transmit the social values and expectations of dominant culture. War Against the Imagination begins to develop a critical understanding of how the growing technological sophistication of story-telling media is changing both what and how stories teach young children. How are the boundaries between fantasy and reality disintegrating in the digital age, and of what impact on the lives of kids growing in our communities?


Apprenticeships: When schooling means more than doing
Pages: 63-74

This paper is theoretically grounded in an educational movement known as unschooling. Unschooling is a learner centered democratic approach to education. Jerry Mintz (2004) defines learner-centered education as “an approach that is based on the interest of the student rather than curriculum driven, where someone else has the idea of what you ought to be learning,” and he defines democratic education as “education where students are actually empowered to make decisions about their own education and if they are in a school their own school.” This paper is about apprenticeship programs and how schooling and paper certificates have become more important in determining if someone can do a particular job than them actually doing it.
Carlo Ricci and Lisa Hill