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+7 votes
What are modern anarchist thoughts, outside of the reformist modern/free school method, on schooling?
by (410 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
An approach of information and facilitation would be better than education.  Focusing on:
a) Not to focus on "right" answers but how to find answers.
b) How to think rather than what to think
c) Problem solving and critical thinking
d) Cooperation with others that promotes diversity of thought through reason
e) Development of individual abilities, skills, and fields of interest
f) Emotional and psychological development: understanding how these affect our lives.
g) A practical approach that creates curiosity, that asks questions to further thought and understanding.  
h) To be focus on personal passions, interests, and things that bring happiness to each life.

No person should present themselves as a master or mentor, but as an assistant or guide to the other.  The focus should not be on the learner to become like or think like the teacher/trainer but that the learner develop according to his own path and potential.

Discipline and rewards should be encourage from within.  Control is something we should only apply to ourselves to experience fulfillment and enjoyment of life.
by (2.0k points)
edited by
This is a very interesting approach. Is it one you have come up with on your own through experience, or just your thoughts on the subject matter?

I have worked with children for many years now and am ill at ease with just about every piece of educational theory I have come across...all seem to want to suppress free-play and experiential-type learning.

Although, I think that there is nothing "wrong" with guidance in learning through mentoring. Quite obviously, there /are/ people who know more about/are more proficient at certain subjects and skills than others and their skills can be passed down and taught. I do not think that the mentor/mentee relationship in and of itself aims to mold the individual learner into a carbon copy of the mentor themselves.
It is a notion that I have come up with in an effort to go past established pattens of  processes of thought and most people's inability to go beyond those processes.

Or maybe it s a matter of relevance?  Let's say with the question, Is there a God?  A question that seems very relevant, but actually one where an absolute answer answer cannot be determined and actually ought to be answered as a matter of preference or inner conviction of the hearer than of the conviction and intentions of the speaker.  It is a matter that has little to do with society itself but is a choice of personal lifestyle and conscience.  It neither adds or subtracts to who or what we are, but how we personally see the world and our approach to life.

The answer to whether there is a God or not is a choice, not an answer.  Such an approach to many debated issues would defuse the matter of endless debates which do not attempt to seek an answer, but  to determine who is right rather than whether there is a God or not.  

Critical thinking should be applied in finding answers not debate.  Debate is an obstruction to logic and understanding.  When we get children to stop asking why we then fill their minds with all of our won right answers.  When we strive to be right we are no longer looking for truth, and become our own source of truth.  When this happens part of the mind begins to shut down.  

One of the most useless of statements is "I agree".   At least when used as a stamp of approval or validation.  We should neither agree or disagree in such context.  We should look for the understanding of the thought, then either apply a question to further that thought (possibly in another objective direction) or offer a possible progression of that thought.  

I think a guide is still a better approach to the aspect of mentor, because one seems to focus on one and the other on the student.  Perhaps it is because many do not trust the student to find their own way, they must be shown what is the right path rather than giving them the best information and ability to process the answer for themselves.

If we could just start from a clear slate create all new systems not based on tradition but create a design based on purpose, so that the purpose directs the design, and not continue to let the design the purpose.   What would "education actually end up looking like?  What would the objectives be?  Where would functional life applications within personal understanding; and social interaction and resolution be on that list?  Why were they never really on the list in the first place? But that is a whole different aspect.  But is that area humanity still exists in the dark ages.   

As an educator, I think you have greater insight than I do, and appreciate your thoughts and feedback.
So you're going to train, say, doctors like this? Well, good luck with that. If you ever overthrow all the authority in the world, though, I hope you don't get appendicitis.
Facilitate may be a better word than training.   Why not allow doctors to develop their own ways.  Present the best information and options, and the best procedures, but also allow each to formulate their own techniques and research.  Along with collaboration who knows what rate advances could be achieved.   

Ending authority does not make people less intelligent or capable.  It just takes away the agenda, arrogance, and close mindedness of its control.
+2 votes
Anarchists believe that the current "education" system is both bureaucratic and nugatory. They believe on the principle of autodidactism. The current system bureaucratic because of it's emphasis on high grades. But students will then focus on how good they are at doing a specific task, hence they won't learn for the sake of learning. For example, a student will only do his seatworks because his teacher commanded him to and not because he wants to learn from it. On the long run, students learn nothing.

Personally, I see this pseudo-education system as a tool by civilization to impose absurd status symbols on individuals. If you have a diploma, you get a job; if you don't, you're a worthless scum.

I think that the most effective way of educating the students is to let them explore. And by "students" I mean all of us. As long as we're alive, we're learning. All of us are both a teacher and a student. I am my own mentor.
by (260 points)
A quote which summed up my thoughts and feelings on this quite well was Alan Moore's; "All too often education actually acts as a form of aversion therapy, that what we're really teaching our children is to associate learning with work and to associate work with drudgery so that the remainder of their lives they will possibly never go near a book because they associate books with learning, learning with work and work with drudgery."
+2 votes
I think there are at least three different issues at stake in this question:

1.How should we understand the role of schooling as it exists in modern society?

2.How might anarchists act within this institution? How can one get through high school? Does it make sense to become a college student or a professor -- are these viable positions from which to attack capitalism?

3.How might we create other arrangements if we want to become smart people without relying on the education system?

My answer to (1.) is that I believe the primary purpose of schooling is the production of good citizens, people capable of participating in democracy, having families, and so forth. As such it is a project that I assume anarchists would want to oppose entirely, even if some of the strategies still appeal to us, or have appealing side effects.

2.I think these questions would have to be answered on an entirely individual basis because the answer would have to depend on one's ideas about which ways of fighting back are the most fun/urgent/relevant.  I have known a few anarchist professors personally and all of them were people I respected a lot in part because they were all totally cynical about the institutions they were a part of -- no pretense that simply being a teacher made them a part of some kind of idealistic venture.

3. I have no idea, although I totally reject the idea of reforming school or of allowing parents to take over this task.
by (7.9k points)
I think that it is quite interesting that this is the trajectory that answers to my initial question took. maybe it is because I asked the question too broadly/incorrectly originally.

I am well aware that anarchists (myself included) are not into educational /systems/. I, personally, am not down with "schooling" at all. Which is why I posed the question. Seeing as I like learning and I know others that like learning and I work with kids...how can I interact with them and their learning (along with my own) and step away from the traditional mindset of schooling.

it is easy, in theory...but in practice is the difficult part...how does one move away from the student/teacher mentality? and what does that look like?
I don't know! My only answer to this question is that I think it would also be necessary to do away with the structure of schooling as well as its mindsets. Not that it is necessarily such a bad idea to teach as a career.
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