What does Alternative Education mean and what are some examples that interest you?

Since writing first entry below, I started another blog on the relationship between social democracy, the folk school movement and happiness or well being. http://folkschool.wisrville.org/
I would still like to be part of a discussion on alternative education. This sounds as to the point as the well used term, “social change,” without the context of what you are changing from; alternative to what? “Alternative education” has been used to mean an alternative to what is normally accepted as the way to become educated. This is a broader concept than just higher education, which means beyond primary and secondary and includes informal, or nonformal and community based learning. Wikipedia’s first paragraph is useful:

Alternative education, also known as non-traditional education or educational alternative, includes a number of approaches to teaching and learning other than mainstream or traditional education. Educational alternatives are often rooted in various philosophies that are fundamentally different from those of mainstream or traditional education. While some have strong political, scholarly, or philosophical orientations, others are more informal associations of teachers and students dissatisfied with some aspect of mainstream or traditional education. Educational alternatives, which include charter schools, alternative schools, independent schools, and home-based learning vary widely, but often emphasize the value of small class size, close relationships between students and teachers, and a sense of community.

I’m interested in discussing what thrives and what directions educational organizations are going in. Certainly the mainstream has an important purpose however it is supplemented by other options which can challenge its premises.

What schools do you know about or appreciate that are alternative? What are their strengths and weaknesses? I will share some that intrigue me and if you know about them or others, please share that as well. I look forward to hearing your comments.

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4 Responses to What does Alternative Education mean and what are some examples that interest you?

  1. Cynthia Lawrence says:

    This is the day for us to comment on whatever we can find about blogs at WISR. This is new technology and I think I am much too old to begin new things.

  2. John Bilorusky says:

    I’ve googled “WISR” and have found that there are some blogs, or forums on the internet where people discuss nontraditional higher education. I’ve noticed that people even discuss whether one should get an unaccredited degree at WISR and there are people who have come forward and said that WISR is a very solid place, but whether they should get an unaccredited degree is a matter of professional goals. And, there is a discussion of many other matters such as the recent AB 1889 which would have outlawed unaccredited doctoral programs in California. It would be worthwhile for us to comment on some of these forums and then tell them about this blog if we want to get greater participation, publically on this blog.

  3. Profile photo of wpoehner wpoehner says:

    A good friend of mine ran a school called Temba, (http://www.temba.org) for many years. The schools primary principle is based on honoring the person as a whole, which meant including their emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual self too. This model allowed youth to thrive, rather than put things on the shelf. The youth were encouraged to fully express themselves and to fully receive others as well.
    I also witnessed how information was presented. Math was the key to discovering the Universe, reading meant you tapped into the worlds history and resources.. Learning was shared as fun, exciting and practical. If we only had these resources for all children.. or at the very least this approach.

  4. I looked at the website and got the impression they may teach mediation skills, at the least it states: “…TEMBA, a K-8 academic school based on the tenets of nonviolence and founded on the conviction that children who have the opportunity to practice peace in the classroom wouldn’t just survive school – they’d thrive.” http://www.temba.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3&Itemid=5
    It also talks about the importance of building connection which was a theme of Sherri Kimbell’s talk on how to help veterans at WISR’s last conference.

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