Learning without classrooms

Learning without classrooms

200 people gathered at the Freedom to Learn conference at Summerhill School on 6th, 7th and 8th of May. I ran a workshop on different ways of learning particularly focused on learning without using classrooms. I generally find when talking with many people about learning that they have a bit of a blank in thinking of alternative ways of learning which don’t require the classroom. Somehow an approach which doesn’t need any classrooms can seem aberrant. The reality is that the classroom is a rather odd alternative that has been relatively recently created in human history. For most of the […]

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Letter to The Observer Editor

Sonia Sodha in her article “Is the state sometimes wiser than parents?” (6 Nov 2016) goes too far. She proposes banning home education and suggests; “Some may be getting an adequate education – we just don’t know”. The reality is we do know because there has been plenty of research showing that such education is largely very effective. Her stance is mirrored by that of the state in wishing to ignore inconvenient evidence. Let’s take another example. The Government’s own research has shown that every year at least 10,000 children get worse results at GCSE just because they are summer […]

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What is a parents’ role in education?

What is a parents’ role in education?

Much has been written about how important parents are to a child’s education, but often the advice is not all that helpful. Here are a few thoughts on the what, how, when, where and why of education that parents might consider.   WHAT. The press and the education establishment go on about GCSEs, grades, exams and so on as the most important areas for parents to assist their children. A recent research report suggested that children doing Saturday jobs could get lower grades at GCSE. What the report did not mention is that if school students want to learn about […]

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GOING TO THE BIG SCHOOL? Choices in secondary education.

GOING TO THE BIG SCHOOL? Choices in secondary education.

SIZE MATTERS The transition from a small primary school into secondary education is an issue for many parents. There are serious choices to be made for children at this age. We know that many children feel nervous about going into a large, more impersonal school where they do not feel known by teachers. In a typical secondary school a teacher might see over 250 children in a week and cannot get to know all of them really well. In addition the national data show that schools are getting larger year by year. This issue of size is serious. The research […]

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A better way to educate

Self Managed Learning College is part of a global movement bringing traditional 19th century education into the 21st century by paying attention to solid evidence of better ways of educating young people. The case I will make here is that the role of adults and of schools should be to support young people in taking charge of their own lives and, centrally, of their own learning. I will mention a few examples of solid evidence about learning before indicating how to respond to this evidence. Evidence All young people are different. Specifically all the research shows that people (young and […]

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