As RR, we spend a lot of time talking about the education system, challenging it on a structural level through campaigning and creating alternatives. However, in our time examining the impacts of school we also learnt a lot about the personal effects of schooling- the way it shapes our understanding of ourselves, each other and the world. We think unpacking this conditioning is fundamental to facing the challenges we do right now, if we want to meet them together and meet them bravely. This project is a course, facilitated by young people, to explore what deschooling means - read below to find out more, and sign up! We're looking to run the course next year, so if you're interested then please fill out the interest form and we'll be in contact with more solid plans soon.
What is this course about?
Most people spend the bulk of 14 years of their lives in school, but we don’t seem to talk very much about how this experience actually shapes us. To many people school just is. Maybe it’s awful and maybe it’s good, but once it’s done it’s not worth dwelling on. The belief underlying this course is that school has long lasting and insidious effects, both personally and on a societal scale. We see school as a system and site of power, a key institution which underlies our society and shapes how we see ourselves, our world and our place within it. This course will be a space to begin to unpack the hidden curriculum of school, the things we learn which go deeper than the facts we memorise.
Inspired by the work of Paulo Friere, the Ecoversties Network, Charles Eisenstein and too many others to name, we want to explore the ways our schooling shows up in ourselves and the world. We’ll look at imagination and play and the lessons we learnt about ‘growing up’. We’ll question our relationships to authority and what it means to grow up in a schooling system based on punitive punishment. We are taught another’s success is our failure and ranked against our peers in constant competition- what does this mean for the way we work together and form relationships? How are we affected by 14 years of separating our minds from our bodies, ourselves from our communities and our learning from our responsibilities? We want to challenge the things we inherited as children and look at how these things show up in our lives and actions today.
We will likely be holding many different experiences of school in this course. As facilitators our experience is of the UK state school system in the last 15 years and we recognise that this will shape our understanding of schooling. We might have people who went to school in very different times and places, and even amongst people who went to the exact same school at the same time people’s experience of that can be vastly different. All of these experiences are important and valid and will allow us to create a fuller picture of what school means to us. In the course we’ll balance making space for the many different flavours of personal experience with looking at the underlying logic and patterns of schooling which can bridge personal experiences.
We are clear on the fact that looking at school will not give us the answers or explanations for everything, but we have found it to be a useful lens through which to look at the world. It is a perspective which holds the possibility of illuminating facets of ourselves and the world around us in unexpected and moving ways.
We want to be explicit about the fact that in this course we are seeking to create a space where we welcome in transformation. We want to let what we experience together change us. School teaches us to see knowledge as something which can exist in an abstract intellectual box, separate from our emotions and interactions with the ‘real world’. These ways of learning, born of white supremacy and patriarchy, have created a world of separation and violence. We are in times of global crisis and we cannot afford to let them shape our responses.
Application is a key part of the educational process, we won’t be prescriptive about what this should look like, but we believe that with new knowledge also comes responsibility to actively reflect on how this will shape our internal world and how we interact with the world outside of ourselves. This transformation won’t be linear and we are under no illusion that we will be able to go through the process of deep change in 6 weeks. We hope that this course will be a seed that we can plant together and then carry forwards and let grow from there.
What to expect on the course
The Format of the course will be a weekly 2 hour session for 6 weeks. The sessions will be on zoom and in a small group of no more than 15 participants. A really important aspect of this course is that we will be exploring deschooling as much through how we hold and interact with the space as through the content that we discuss. How we relate to each other and the learning process on this course will be shaped by our schooling, and we want to bring awareness to how this comes up and challenge it together. What this might look like in practice...
Challenging the Student-Teacher dynamic - breaking down the understanding of a teacher as someone who knows what is best and deposits finished knowledge into the mind of a student. We are all learners and all teachers; recognizing the learner as an equal is essential for true learning to take place.
Dialogical Learning - We take a lot of inspiration from Paulo Friere’s theory of dialogue as the foundation for transformative education. From a foundation of mutual respect and care we each must question what we know; and realize that through dialogue existing thoughts will change and new knowledge will be created.
Emergent - We want the course to be shaped by the group of people who come together in the space. Nothing is fixed or final here and we want to flow with what comes up as we go through.
Embodied - we want to engage with this experience with our whole selves - not just the analytical mind. We will actively welcome and make space for emotions and listen to the knowledge held in our bodies.This might be a bit difficult because we’ll be on zoom but we’ll do our best!
Curiosity - Curiosity means being open to being changed and shaped, rather than having a fixed idea of where we need to arrive. In order for this to be possible we must be able to trust ourselves, each other and the process we are going on together.
Playful - We will welcome an energy of play into the space, actively igniting our imaginations. We reject the idea that if you're having fun you can’t be learning!
We will be giving some prompts for reflection and to dig deeper between sessions. These tasks should take about 1 hour per week, although they will be flexible and you are of course very welcome to give more time if that feels right. This will not be homework and there will be no punishment if you don’t complete it, although it may make it harder to engage with the next session. We ask for active engagement and commitment to the collective space but will not enforce what that looks like, we trust you to know what’s right for you.
You will have access to and be encouraged to use an online space on Slack to communicate with us and other participants between sessions, but if you would rather not use this then we will also be able to communicate by email.
A crucial part of how this course is run is the fact it is facilitated by us as young people. This might challenge the assumptions of some people participating and we will explore this as we go. The process of young people running a course for adults is in itself a challenge to dominant methods of education, which are built on the idea that experience and knowledge accumulation are the most valuable ways of knowing, and that teaching is a transferral of information from one brain to another. We have spent the last 18 months diving deeply into the effects of schooling, learning from our own experiences, those of other young people and elders in the field. A lot of what we will be exploring over the sessions is our conditioning and ingrained patterns of thinking, things which are solidified the more years you live with them and act from. We ask that you trust us as facilitators, we may at times do things that you might not expect or which might feel a bit weird, and we ask you to remain open to the discomfort and see where it might lead you. Of course we won’t always get it right (if there even is a ‘right’ way to do things) and so we actively welcome questioning and challenging, we want the space to be flexible and shaped by all of us in it. As facilitators we are on this deschooling journey alongside you.
Practicalities - Dates & Prices
Dates & Time: tbc
We are asking for a financial contribution to support the running of the course as well as the wider work we are doing as RR. Registration cost will be offered on a sliding scale based on your relative financial standing. Ultimately, the payment system is designed for those with more access to wealth to cover the costs of those with less access to wealth; we trust your discernment of how you personally fit into this economic context. We've suggested 4 prices ranging from low access to wealth to high access to wealth. If you would like to pay a price outside of these brackets then please get in contact.
A: £25 B: £50 C: £100 D: £150
Some factors to take into account when deciding how much you can contribute:
your current financial situation; how reliably you can cover all your material needs and how much disposable income you have
your access to income and financial wealth, both current and anticipated (how easily could you earn more income compared to other people in your country and in the world? do you expect to receive an inheritance?)
people counting on your financial livelihood including dependents and community members
historical discrimination faced by your peoples
If you have any questions or feel challenged by the financial requirements of participation then please drop us an email at email@example.com
Who are we?
Radical Restart is a grassroots collective of young organisers which have been facilitating workshops, organising gatherings and developing ideas together for a couple of years. We formed in April 2020 as a youth-led response to the moment of collective crisis that the Covid-19 pandemic caused - and the wider societal crises- from ecological to economic- which it exposed. We organised over 50 open workshops online during spring and summer of 2020 exploring topics like youth, education, solidarity and movement building, and a 2 week summer camp oriented around the themes of collective commitment and radical imagination. Currently we are working to create a physical space for mutual learning and solidarity between youth activist groups in the UK. A space to build solidarity and a movement-wide learning community, informed by radical praxis, movement elders and resistance histories.
More info on the About RR page
Meet Your Facilitators
Hi my name is Edda (she/her), I’m 20 years old and left school a year and a half ago at the beginning of the pandemic. Since getting involved with Radical Restart I’ve spent a lot of time exploring schooling initially on a systemic level and then digging into what school has meant to me personally. I was always good at school, and I’ve begun to unpack how that has shaped my identity and how I interact with the world. One of the biggest things for me has been realising how school has separated me from my feelings and intrinsic motivation as a guide for how I'm living my life. I’m massively inspired by the glimpses that I’ve gotten of what a learning space can be, both in personal experience of collective learning but also through hearing and reading about alternative spaces and practices across the world. I love knitted jumpers, massive mugs and cooking and eating together with people.
My name is Meg (she/her), and I’m a circus coach when I’m not doing activism :0) My favourite meal is jacket potato with beans and (vegan?!) cheese or space raider hash browns which probably tells you a lot about me :p I’ve been involved in Radical Restart for around 18 months, starting around the same time I left school. My frustration with school has shaped a lot of what I have explored since then and I now see challenging the school system as a fundamental part of the struggle against imperialism and global capitalism. I’m especially keen on looking at things through how the personal links to the political- how the ways we are affected by school as people impacts society on a bigger level and how we can work together to challenge it. I’ll never stop being outraged that you can’t go to the toilet without permission.
Who is this course for?
Essentially this course is for anyone who is curious about deschooling and committed to the process of change, both personal and societal.
This course is for you...
if you are willing to reflect on and share your personal experiences, as well as listen to the experiences of others with curiosity, respect and care.
if you have questions, lots of them - and feel able to bring these to a collective space without needing to immediately get answers.
if you can prioritise coming to all 6 sessions (dates above).
if you want to actively engage in the space - to shape it and be shaped by it.
if you will have the time and energy to engage with the process outside of the sessions- either through our prompts or otherwise making space for reflection and to grapple with what comes up between sessions.
if you are willing to get uncomfortable and bring what you discover into yourself and to the world around you.
Note - We’re aiming the course at people who have finished school- you’re welcome to come if you are still in education but just be aware that it might be a bit more tricky if you don’t have much emotional and practical distance from school.