Author Archives: paulr

Year 2021 — Volume 15 — Issue 30

Is Alternative Schooling Associated with Lower Bullying Incidence?
Pages: 1-15

Bullying is a serious problem in mainstream public schools. One purpose of this article is to review the literature to investigate whether other types of schools, such as Steiner schools and Montessori schools, have a lower frequency of bullying than mainstream schools. Another purpose is to determine if bullying is a common factor leading to decisions to homeschool children. The article also includes a discussion of some lessons mainstream schools can learn from alternative schools about bullying prevention. There is evidence to suggest that bullying is more prevalent at mainstream schools, and bullying is a commonly cited reason to homeschool.


What is so Alternative about the Alternative Education in Israel? The Scale of 11 Challenges set by the Alternative Education None-Mainstream
Pages: 16-41

The Israeli education system consists of public state schools and an alternative education system. This article reviews the unique characteristics of the alternative educational frameworks and analyzes the challenges they pose to the traditional and conservative state education system. The text offers a distinction between “Alternatives in education” vs. “Alternativeness in education” based on Ivan Illich others.


Managing and Disseminating Indigenous Knowledge: The Case of LIO’s Climate forums
Pages: 42-89

This study explores the complexity of managing and disseminating Indigenous knowledge. UK-Based International Organization (LIO)’s Climate forums provide a practical example of knowledge management since they capture the voices of people who have been affected by climate change in order to put pressure on governments to act on climate change. While the Climate forums are an admirable attempt to give people a ‘voice’ on climate change, the full potential of ‘voice’ is overlooked since Indigenous knowledge is not explicitly recognised as part of LIO’s knowledge management strategy. Development communication is explored as an approach for Indigenous knowledge management.


Year 2021 — Volume 15 — Issue 29

Transformative, Intercultural Learning from the Indigenous Teaching Circle: Creative autoethnographic reflections on dialogic, holistic education with place
Pages: 1-35

This reflective, creative autoethnography explores an intercultural, dialogic pedagogy of transformative learning that has historically been taught as a teaching circle in indigenous communities. The focus is on what this alternative learning process means to a non-aboriginal learner, artist/teacher, and whether the circle pedagogy can be collectively engaged in the classroom by non-aboriginal and aboriginal teachers/learners. Through a visual and poetic autoethnography, the researcher presents her thematic reflections on her learning experience. The study concludes that aboriginal and non-aboriginal teachers/learners may benefit from the teaching circle process because it is a participatory model of transformative education that is grounded in the holistic pedagogy of place.


Doctor Stockmann and Greta Thunberg: Some Implications of Intellectual Resistance, Eco-activism and Unschooling
Pages: 36-61

This paper ascertains how Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and Doctor Stockmann of Henrik Ibsen’s play An Enemy of the People (1882) represent an intellectual activism in two different contexts of world realities. Greta (2003), a Swedish teenager, singlehandedly embarks on a “School Strike for Climate” (SSC) in August, 2018 (Swedish: Skolstrejk för klimatet), which subsequently develops into a global movement being broadly labeled as “Fridays for Future” (FFF). She has now spearheaded this strike towards a worldwide climate movement. She has thus forged her identity as an eco-intellectual or climate activist but endured the backlashes and controversies of the development pedagogues and totalitarian world leaders. On the other hand, Doctor Stockmann, an alter ego of Henrik Ibsen, functions beyond his own profession to serve his intellectual responsibility. He detects fatal infection in the spa of the fictional city which garners a substantial financial sustenance for the city. He strives to disclose the diagnosis of bacterial contamination to avoid the health and economic hazards of his locale. But in so doing, he is converted into a foe of the city and finally forced to go for a social estrangement by the city mayoral administration. This paper concentrates also on all the socio-ethico-political compulsions, which pose threatening inhibitions to Dr. Stockmann but lead him to evolve himself into an intellectual rebel. By exploring these two contextual instances of intellectual activism and confrontation, this paper also locates Greta and Stockmann within a broader spectrum of eco-ethical resistance that can designate them as a thematic content in the unschooling learning spaces. This paper hinges on Greta in a particular light by presenting Greta’s resistance as a call for re-visioning the societal ideologies on children and their relationship to environmental consciousness.


The Commodification of the Female Body on Instagram: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis
Pages: 62-89

Instagram is an application that is used by both the public and numerous corporations to strategically impact the mental wellbeing of many young females for capitalist gain. In Canada’s modern capitalist culture, large corporations like Instagram use market interests to guide what users see and impact the products of which their audience can access. This small meta-analysis aims to determine how Instagram usage can fundamentally impact female youth on a global scale. These articles were gathered from a global review of the literature and included influential articles from Canada, Spain, and Australia. This research has shown that the commodification, or process of turning young females’ bodies into commodities, significantly negatively impacts their wellbeing. Furthermore, it was discovered that social media algorithms, Instagram’s Terms of Use, and the application’s accessibility of its users all impact how females build a sense of identity today.


Year 2020 — Volume 14 — Issue 28

No Amount of Tinkering Around the Edges: A Qualitative Study of Teacher Narratives About Leaving Conventional School Teaching and Discovered Self-Directed Learning Spaces
Pages: 1-27

In this paper, I qualitatively analyze written and audio (podcast) accounts from eight teachers who left the field of conventional school teaching and went on to found or work in self-directed learning centers. Studies on teacher attrition tend to focus on teachers who leave education entirely (or continue teaching by working through hardships). The experience of these teachers – who neither remained in conventional schools or left careers in education – highlight an interesting middle-space. I review the similarities and differences of these former-teachers’ journeys, as well as compare their reported experience to existing literature on teacher attrition.


Willed Learning and Art as a Way for Young People to Express Their Feelings
Pages: 28-50

The homeschooling of my 6-year-old son during the school closures due to the pandemic outbreak of COVID-19 has become exceptionally easier when, after a few failed attempts, I decided to give willed-learning a try. I have been brought up in a very different educational system, and my biggest fear was to lower my standards. I thought without a fixed daily plan and a rigid curriculum, my son would waste his time, but soon I realized that my style of homeschooling is more damaging than helping. After trying the willed-learning approach, his stress subsided and he became more confident and happy in his learning journey. In this paper, I will share my story while drawing on the willed-learning approach by Carlo Ricci (2012) to argue that children will feel empowered when they have the freedom to choose when to learn,
what to learn and how to learn.


Whispers of Transformative Silence on the Country Road to College
Pages: 51-58

A doctoral dissertation that sought to illustrate the country road to college involved traveling thousands of miles to interview rural and indigenous students about their collegiate experiences. Whispers of transformative silence pointed to a distinct reality beyond what was actually said. The research involved writing-up what was actually spoken by study participants (i.e. exterior realities), not what I was actually listening into (i.e. interior realities). Reflecting on this odyssey, it seems participants were pointing towards what is often missing in mainstream higher education.


Year 2020 — Volume 14 — Issue 27

Indigenous Ways of Teaching and Learning as Unschooling: Relevant Studies and Contemporary and Indigenous Definitions of Unschooling
Pages: 1-19

Many Canadian homeschool families use different methods of learning at home, including unschooling. The methods and definitions can be challenging. The author’s review of the literature identifies both contemporary and Indigenous definitions of unschooling.  As a Metis family that is learning at home without a curriculum, the researcher questioned where are other Indigenous families who are learning the same way.   Using auto-ethnography to illustrate how the author’s family came to learning at home, this paper explores relevant North American studies of homeschooling.  The research reveals that most data are limited to enrollment data by provinces and territories. The concluding result of the study determines that Indigenous ways of teaching and learning is unschooling.
E.D. Woodford


Creating an alternative dissertation: Learning from the gates of loving inquiry
Pages: 20-30

My alternative PhD dissertation documented my practice of Loving Inquiry during a year of
living in my new home on Butterstone Farm, Salt Spring Island. Using the arts-based practices of poetry, narrative and photography, I learned to pause, breathe in and open my heart into
relationship with the human and natural beings there.
Ahava Shira


Sing, O Muse: On the Link Between Creativity and Self-Directed Education
Pages: 31-47

This article explores the connection between self-directed education and creativity.
Creativity is characterized as having the ability to produce ideas or creations that are innovative,
original, and imaginative. Self-directed education refers to a type of education in which what,
where, and how a student learns is chosen by the student, rather than strictly following a
predetermined curriculum. There are currently three primary means of self-directed education:
unschooling, democratic schools, and free schools. This article discusses five ways in which the
concepts of creativity and self-directed education overlap. These connections are: the connection between life and learning, the crucial role of play and experimentation, increased personal autonomy, a strong sense of personal initiative, and an egalitarian social structure.
Benjamin Riley


Year 2019 — Volume 13 — Issue 26

Healing Through Unschooling
Pages: 1-13

A parent of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), this author began homeschooling one of her children when he was unable to cope in the mainstream system. When the supports that were working for the child at school were removed, he became violent and aggressive causing him to face multiple suspensions. Together she and her child explored homeschooling, then unschooling where they found hope and healing.
Debbie Michaud


First They Came for the Unschoolers: A Faircloughian Critical Discourse Analysis of Queensland Home Education Policies
Pages: 14-47

Increasing numbers of Australian parents, like me, are choosing to home educate. US estimates suggest, within home educated populations, 5 per cent of home education cohorts (Riley, 2018) follow an unschooling, or self-directed education (SDE), approach. In the past, these parents registered with the government department; however, policy changes made in Queensland in May 2018 make registration almost impossible for unschoolers and discriminate against families whose registration was based on a philosophy such as SDE.
Rebecca English


In Praise of Illegible Learning: Reasons for and Difficulties of Challenging Artificially-Ordered Schooling
Pages: 48-73

The history of American k-12 schooling can be best understood as an attempt to make illegible processes legible – that is, a process of taking informal and often localized educational practices and reorganizing them in a more formalized way so that they can be standardized and understood by those not involved in those processes. Conversely, self-directed forms of education (such as unschooling and “free”/democratic schooling), are best seen as reactions against this trend toward legibility, as attempts to reintroduce illegibility into the learning process.
Kevin Currie Knight