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 need for modern day public education. OPERI’s mission is to build people’s appreciation of it and of how it can be offered 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 monthly OPERI Recap is produced to help people manage and share the many items being posted to the group. It highlights posts of particular interest from the previous month and is sent out by email. The Recap also serves people who do not have Facebook accounts, but who want to stay informed of SDE developments.
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 their efforts. We need them to keep leading the way and to provide good learning environments for today’s young people who can take advantage of them. There is a fear, however, that if public education systems do not offer a real SDE choice in community schools, people with means will continue to abandon them. This has a ghettoizing effect on public schools, which further victimizes society’s most under-privileged citizens.
OPERI is promoting a simple pilot program to effectively address this problem. This program introduces a small level of SDE into public schools, but it has the potential to incrementally transition big systems to a new-age of learning. Well over 90% of students attend public schools and OPERI is dedicated to the goal of providing all of them with an equal opportunity to experience SDE. 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.
The idea that good traditional schools are serving some students well is something OPERI is asking people to question. There is growing evidence that even students who appear to be succeeding are in fact being under-served and even harmed. The following recent posts in the OPERI Facebook group support this view:
- 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 when providing for the learning needs of children and youth.
For people who want more background on SDE, 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 the most forward thinking educators today.
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