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Shifting the education paradigm one small step at a time.

‘Perhaps it’s time to toss the very word “management” onto the linguistic ash heap alongside “icebox” and “horseless carriage.” This era doesn’t call for better management. It calls for a renaissance of self-direction.’ – Daniel Pink, Drive
Visit the Facebook page Homeschoolers Supporting the Remake of Public Education and join the effort that will give you real options.

An effort is underway in Ottawa to raise awareness of the potential for self-directed learning to develop the community-building powers of public education and the ability of neighbourhood schools to foster student well-being. It begins with a few small pilot studies designed to answer the question: “What happens when timetabling is eliminated for a cross-section of secondary students? The thesis is that the absence of timetabling presents new opportunities for children to develop 21st Century learning skills, and that attention to building a community of learners leads to stronger relationships and a greater sense of well-being among students and teachers. The pilot programs mark the start of an orderly redesign of public education.

Currently the people most involved in self-directed learning are working outside public education. Peter Gray, Jerry Mintz, and Ken Danford are three of its biggest advocates. Peter is behind Alternatives to SchoolJerry is the founder of AERO, and Ken started North Star.  Compass, a centre for self-directed learning in Ottawa, is based on North Star. In the trailer to the film Class Dismissed, Jerry Mintz says, “The best way to have an impact in the direction of the education revolution is to go outside the system.” The view being pursued here is that the best way to impact it is to build on evolutionary changes already taking place within public education.

The animated Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson, titled Changing Education Paradigms, found at the Schooling the World website makes a good case for the proposed studies. A couple of links that help to further present the need to pursue new directions are The War On Kids and Suli Breaks’ video “I will not let exam results decide my fate”. The Ottawa Carleton District School Board document titled Unleashing Potential – Harnessing Possibilities gives hope that large public school boards have the will and the capacity to reform themselves.

This Ottawa initiative is in its infancy. Preliminary talks underway are aimed at building a broad coalition of partners who support its aims. From these talks a team of advisors and directors will be assembled. The team will then decide on a name for the initiative. An official website will follow, the contents of which will be constructed to reflect the group’s views on how to best acquire the support educators need to undertake a thorough investigate of what self-directed learning has to offer.

Whether you speak for just yourself or for a group, your views are welcome. To share your thoughts or to be included on our email list you can leave a reply below or visit our Contact Us page for other ways to communicate with us.

A 30 minutes message that everyone is being asked to consider:
John Gatto: The Six Purposes of Modern Schooling (7 minute video)
Stephen Dill: How Forced Schooling Harms Children – Alternatives to School (5 minute article with additional links)
Schooling the World is a powerful full-length documentary exposing how we are destroying ourselves with the inappropriate education of our young.
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