Free school: Wikis

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A anarchistic free school (also anarchist free school and free skool) is a decentralized network in which skills, information, and knowledge are shared without hierarchy or the institutional environment of formal schooling. This organisational structure is distinct from ones used by democratic free schools which permit children's individual initiatives and learning endeavors within the context of a school democracy and from Free education where 'traditional' schooling is made available to pupils without charge.

Contents

Overview

Anarchist free schools (or free skool), can be a decentralized network in which skills, information, and knowledge are shared without hierarchy or the institutional environment of formal schooling.

The open structure of this type of free school is intended to encourage self-reliance, critical consciousness, and personal development. These free schools have their roots in the anarchist Escuela Moderna of Spain in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They are, at heart, non-institutional, non-authoritarian, and counter-cultural. Generally, these are formed at a grassroots level by a group of individuals acting collectively and autonomously to create educational opportunities and promote skill-sharing within their communities. These free schools often operate outside the market economy in favor of a gift economy. Nevertheless, the meaning of the "free" of free schools is not restricted to monetary cost, and can refer to an emphasis on free speech and student-centered education.

History and Philosophy of Anarchist Free schools

Spanish anarchist Francisco Ferrer (1859–1909) established "modern" or progressive schools in Spain in defiance of an educational system controlled by the church. Fiercely anti-clerical, he believed in "freedom in education," education free from the authority of church and state [1]. Murray Bookchin wrote: "This period [1890s] was the heyday of libertarian schools and pedagogical projects in all areas of the country where Anarchists exercised some degree of influence. Perhaps the best-known effort in this field was Francisco Ferrer's Modern School (Escuela Moderna), a project which exercised a considerable influence on Catalan education and on experimental techniques of teaching generally." [2]

Radical experiments in non-hierarchical education with anarchist roots have given rise to temporal and permanent free schools. They are often termed "free skools" to distinguish them from what supporters view as an oppressive and institutional educational industry. Temporal free skools offering skill-shares and training have become a regular part of large radical gatherings and actions. More permanent skools in cities large and small have popped up across North America offering a wide range of workshops, classes, and skill-shares.

Free Skool Santa Cruz in California is perhaps typical of a new batch of free schools that are explicitly rooted in an anarchist tradition of collectivism, autonomy, and self-reliance, and feature informal, non-authoritarian learning outside of the monetary economy. From the Free Skool Santa Cruz website: "More than just an opportunity to learn, we see Free Skool as a direct challenge to dominant institutions and hierarchical relationships. Part of creating a new world is resistance to the old one, to the relentless commodification of everything, including learning and the way we relate to each other."[3]

These are on-going, informal learning networks, that focus on skill-sharing among adults as well as children. The boundaries between students, teachers, and organizers are consciously blurred, with some free skools claiming, "we are all teachers, and we are all students." Free skool "classes" are often autonomous workshops held in informal settings in homes, cafes, and community centers. Free skools typically offer a monthly or quarterly-produced free skool calendar.

Currently active free schools/skools

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Australia

Canada

United States

See also

References

  1. ^ Francisco Ferrer's Modern School
  2. ^ Chapter 7, Anarchosyndicalism, The New Ferment. In Murray Bookchin, The Spanish anarchists: the heroic years, 1868-1936. AK Press, 1998, p.115. ISBN 187317604X
  3. ^ Free Skool Santa Cruz

External links


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