Reimagining education is the first step
to reimagining the rest of the world.
Guest Post by Genevieve Shade
If we want to create a new world, it must include transforming the way we look at education. Often, I feel that education is ignored in discussions about transforming oppressive systems. There are very few people talking about real, radical alternatives to traditional schooling.
One powerful method for transforming education is self-directed education (SDE). Self-directed education is defined as “education that derives from the self-chosen activities and life experiences of the learner” by the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. It is youth-led and the ultimate example of consent in education. Unlike traditional schooling, young people are never forced or coerced. SDE prioritizes mutually respectful relationships rather than hierarchical student/teacher and child/parent relationships. It is founded on the idea that young people know what is best for themselves and that they simply need resources and time to pursue their interests.
Self-directed education is about more than just education, though. It is about beginning to create communities outside of capitalism. It is about collective liberation. If we are to create alternative community-based systems of food, medicine, etc., we must also start creating community-based systems of education. We must give young people autonomy, love, respect, and freedom if we are to live in autonomous, loving, respectful, and free communities.
My partner and I are both 18-year-old unschoolers (unschooling is a form of SDE). We’re creating a documentary series about self-directed education called Learning and Liberation. In the series, we’ll cover eight different models that fall under the broader umbrella of SDE. This will include democratic or free schools, unschooling, Agile Learning Centers, Flying Squads,self-directed community centers, and Liberated Learners Centers. We want to provide a broad scope of the different self-directed options that exist.
We want to create a free and accessible resource for anyone interested in learning more about self-directed education. The full series will be released for free on YouTube, and we are planning on providing downloads to anyone who wants to screen the series. We would love to see infoshops and other community centers organize monthly screenings! This series will have no paywalls and no profits.
Our greatest hope is that people will watch the series and broaden their scope of what is possible, in education, and in their lives. We want young people to realize that if they are struggling with traditional education, there are alternatives out there. Yes, people can live happy, full, and successful lives without school. And maybe we could even live happy, full, and successful lives without capitalism.
We are currently in pre-production on this series. Three weeks ago, we launched a
crowdfunding campaign to fund part of this project. Now, we have just about a week left to reach
our goal of $18,000! Our campaign ends on April 2nd, 2023, at 6:45 pm. If you would like to
support the important work we’re doing, we would greatly appreciate any amount you could give
to our campaign! Sharing with your networks is also incredibly helpful if you’re not in the position
Love and solidarity,
Genevieve Shade and Ben Rehrman