PROPOSED TIMELINE AND GENERAL STRATEGY FOR STARTING A SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING CENTER IN THE PHILIPPINES (AND EVENTUALLY CHINA)
Hold a seminar-workshop on self-directed education with Yaacov Hecht and Simon Robinson as speakers. Yaacov and Simon will talk about his experience with democratic schools and the workshop after will discuss the following:
- What are the possibilities for a self-directed school or a self-directed type of education in the Philippines?
- How can ideas of self-directed education be practiced within existing schools in the Philippines?
- How can a self-directed school or learning center be started in the Philippines?
Attend the Asia Pacific Democratic Education Conference (APDEC) in Tokyo and months before the event, promote this in the Philippines and in China so that more people will know about it and those who are really interested can attend. We need to build a network of people who believe in this kind of education.
Hold a talk-workshop with Peter Gray about the Alliance for Self-Directed Education and share examples of schools, centers and organizations which believe in and practice self-directed education such as the Sudbury Valley School. This would be a follow-up session on the July workshop that would build on the momentum started with Yaacov and Simon. Hopefully a core group would emerge from the people who attended in July and in October and who will eventually initiate a self-directed learning center in the Philippines.
Aside from the Sudbury model, another model that could be considered is the Macomber Center because in the Philippines, there is already a growing number of homeschoolers and unschoolers. Members of the Macomber Center are all registered homeschoolers and they “pursue their interests in their own way, at their own pace and are free to explore the world in a way that they find meaningful.” They have “no formal curriculum or guidelines for achievement. Instead, they trust that children will thrive (and learn!) when given time and freedom to play and explore within a community of other young people, with support from knowledgeable, helpful adults.” The “school” or “center” does not even need to have a physical space or address. It could be a network or an alliance similar to the one set up by Peter Gray, the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. People can come together as they choose and the whole city, the whole country, the whole world is the school. Venues change as needed and as opportunities allow.
WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE FROM NOW UNTIL JULY 2017
- Introduce and promote the idea of self-directed education and ensure that the talk of Yaacov and Simon will be well-attended. The target number of audience is 100 so we need to target much more than that – probably 200 or 250.
- Promote the Tokyo APDEC in the Philippines and in China to see if there are people who would seriously consider attending the conference. Use social media and our personal networks to reach out to as many people as we can.
- Promote Peter Gray’s talk about self-directed education in Manila. Coordinate dates with the conference organizers who originally invited him to Manila.
And how does all these efforts connect to China? My friends who attended the APDEC in Taiwan, Donna and Lucy also dream of setting up a self-directed or democratic school in China but as a strategy, we could start in the Philippines where the opening is wider. In the future, we can invite Chinese students and teachers to experience this for themselves, too.
Here’s a bit of Peter Gray’s background from his blog, Freedom to Learn, Psychology Today:
Peter Gray, Ph.D., research professor at Boston College, is author of Free to Learn (Basic Books, 2013) and Psychology (Worth Publishers, a college textbook now in its 7th edition). He has conducted and published research in comparative, evolutionary, developmental, and educational psychology. He did his undergraduate study at Columbia University and earned a Ph.D. in biological sciences at Rockefeller University. His current research and writing focus primarily on children’s natural ways of learning and the life-long value of play. His own play includes not only his research and writing, but also long distance bicycling, kayaking, back-woods skiing, and vegetable gardening.