Re: other learning communities...

Robin Martin (roses9@IDT.NET)
Fri, 23 Jan 1998 10:53:24 -0700

At 10:52 PM 1/22/98 -0600, you wrote:
>What are Folk Schools for adults? Are there such things for kids?
>

Folk schools are a movement tied to popular education (popular in the sense
that it is for, of, & by the people). The most well-known one in this
country is Highlander Folk School, in Tennessee, started by Miles Horton,
whose philosophies & approaches to education are quite similar to Paulo
Friere (another well-known name in popular education).

Folk/popular/emanicipatory education (whatever you want to call it!) is a
radical paradigm shift in viewing what education and learning ought to be
about. In a little sheet I have put out by the Folk Education ASsociation
of America (printed at Goddard College no less), it says: "Folkd education
is learning that happens when individuals and communities come together to
celebrate culture and life, to critically analyze challenging, especially
oppressive situations, to build a knowledge base and apply that knowledge
to reframe and create alternative possibilities for the institutions in
which we live and work."

Although this form of education focuses more on learning about oppressive
situations & social issues, the "form" it takes in allowing the learners to
initiate & guide the directions that it takes is quite similar to
democratic schools. Plus, community & holistic learning is very much a
central aspect of what it's all about, as well as learning that is directly
RELEVANT to the learners.

I recently wrote a paper on shifts in the conception of "program planning"
as related to folk education, which I posted at:
http://www.public.iastate.edu/~rmartin/reflections/folk-ed.htm
--if you're interested in learning more about it.

Oh, and as far as "for kids," the Connecticut Valley Community Folk
Schools, I beleive, are for youth as well as adults, but most folk schools
tend to attract adults. Plus, folk schools aren't usually regular
day-to-day meetings; they're more like a group of people who choose to get
together now and then.

Robin