If you want to control, you design organizations for accountability.
If you want to accomplish, you design for commitment.
– Tapscott and Caston, Paradigm Shift
Self-Directed Education (SDE) is emerging as the learning model we’ve been seeking. OPERI’s mission is to build awareness of its benefits and how we can start offering it to students in public schools.
The OPERI Facebook group is our primary tool for sharing information. It contains a wealth of articles, videos and quotes that shed light on the value of SDE and how to apply it. The OPERI Recap, produced approximately 8 times a year, is provided to help people manage and share the many items being posted to the group. The Recap highlights posts of particular interest from the previous month and is sent out by email. It also serves people who do not have Facebook accounts, but who want to stay informed about the emerging new age of learning.
Democratic schools, community learning resource centres, and unschoolers have done most of the pioneering work that is bringing SDE to the tipping point, and we support these efforts. We need them to keep leading the way and to provide good learning environments for young people who can take advantage of them. There is fear, however, that if public educators do not offer real SDE choices in community schools, people who are able will continue to abandon them. This has a ghettoizing effect on public schools, which further victimizes society’s most vulnerable.
OPERI is promoting a simple pilot program to address this problem. The program introduces a small level of SDE into public schools, but it has the potential to incrementally transition big systems to the new model with a minimum of disruption . Well over 90% of students attend public schools and many of those have no other options. The pilot program provides them with an opportunity to experience SDE while remaining in their community schools. If anyone knows of SDE type programs being run in public schools, or of any schools that would like to undertake a pilot program, please let us know.
People need to be skeptical when told that good traditional schools are serving some students well. There is growing evidence that even students who appear to be succeeding in public systems are in fact being under-served and even harmed. The following past posts in the OPERI Facebook group support the view that no one can afford to be complacent.
- Why Grades Shouldn’t Exist by Alfie Kohn
- Wondering What Happened to Your Class Valedictorian? Not Much, Research Shows published by Time
- Is the U.S. Education System Producing a Society of “Smart Fools”? published in Scientific American
To be kept informed of the latest information on SDE, we urge you to join the OPERI Facebook group and to send us your email address to receive The OPERI Recap. Also, by bringing SDE to the attention of others, you help to ensure that people are making informed decisions about the learning needs of children and youth.
For people who want to know more about the coming new age of learning, we recommend reading Peter Gray’s article titled Differences Between Self-Directed and Progressive Education and joining the Alliance for Self-Directed Education – ASDE. The following list contains additional links to videos and articles by some of today’s most forward thinking educators.
Videos from the Ottawa Community
- Will Richardson – 9 Elephants in the (Class)Room That Should “Unsettle” Us
- Team Kate – Chaos in the Classroom or a Resource-Starved Full-Inclusion Policy
- Sara – School adjustment symptoms. What is ‘normal’?
- Michael Reist – Too Many Kids Are Suffering At school
- Laura Grace Weldon – Five Ways to Transcend the School Mindset
- Parents speak – If you’re a parent, what issue/questions worry you most about the education of your kids?
- Luba Vangelova – Steve Hargadon: Escaping the Education Matrix
- Carlo Ricci – Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning