Learning for a Change Think Tank

At our first few meetings at WISR in 2014, the three of us present talked about what to call ourselves and decided to use the term think tank as we want to invite others from the community to be a part if they wish and we want to meet monthly. Our goal is to learn about educational models that bring about a fair and healthy society. Part of Nasira’s relevant background is with Quaker Schools and Marilyn’s with the folk school movement. Marilyn is working with the reviving board of the Folk Education Association of America and Kaylia has been a music educator for many years.

Nasira is interested in what alternative models exist that are better than the conventional models.  Her Quaker school experience in junior high and high school was holistc with a feeling of community and family.  She felt it was similar to the folk school model as students shared chores and outside of class, students interacted with teachers and staff in informal, positive and friendly ways.

Kaylia brought up intentional communities and we talked about co-ops (including senior ones), communes as well as Mondragone community in the Basque region of Spain.  She is also passionate about the importance of music in the schools.

We also talked about the mediation and conflict resolution movement as teaching ways to build a more harmonious world.   Marilyn brought up the Movement for a New Society and their “monstor” manual or Guide.

Here’s a recent post Marilyn made on the Folk School/People’s Education FB group page on this subject on August 8, 2014:

I was meeting with others in the Folk School Association (FSA) and Folk Education Association of American (FEAA) networks today and found myself talking about this Movement for a New Society (MNS) that influenced many shared cooperative homes and also the nonviolence movement in the US. It reminds me of the folk school movement as people lived together for a long period of time and interact in learning together to make social change. Though they don’t see themselves as a folk school movement they are influenced by the Quakers and perhaps there is a link if we look, to the folk school movement. Do any of you know about MNS? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movement_for_a_New_Society

Nasira brought up the Latin word educare, which means to draw out, as in to resonate with ones own sensibilities.  We talked about other terms used including building knowledge vs. growing knowledge.  Questions we asked were what is productive education? and how to tap into what motivates this? Also, Nasira pointed out that there was a Harvard study that proved that conventional education, i.e., reading and lectures is the least effective form of ed as compared to internships, apprenticeships and hands on forms of learning.

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