September 12, 2008

I Care About Learning, And That Is Why I Left

With my new iPhone, I installed an RSS reader (Learn what RSS is by clicking here) and get prepetual updates from my favorite blogs, websites, and other web publications. Over the past few weeks I decided to do this over reading the bland myranderings of a coglomerated Canadian media (both in Vancouver, and Canada as a whole). Blogs and citizen media present an amazing way to communicate with the world in an easy access and free resource. Hey, it's why I do it!

Here is a quote from a blog I read this morning called Life Without School. They have different unschooling parrents and sometimes unschoolers blogs about all things unschooling related. In today's post A Look at Interest-led Learning, I really appreciated this quote.

Public schoolers look at life and learning differently than we do, and that's why they come to this conclusion. To most everyone in our society, learning is scripted and preprogrammed by someone else. Learning is like a machine you enter, have things done to you, and when you come out the other end, you are "educated." Some of those prescripted things are fun, some aren't, and if you could possibly refuse to partake in some elements, you would come out "defective."

I dropped out of high school when I was supposed to be in grade 12. Stange eh? In all actuality, I was more like in grade 10, 11, and 12. I had only 32 credits, where I needed 80. I was becoming more lost in terms of things with my life. My instincts and sense of self where at a contractdiction to what was actually happening to me. Something felt off. I attended a Leadership Conference hosted by the BC AFN where the facilitator posted an idea that stuck with me ever since.

If you are not in a place of contributing or learning,
move to a place where you can contribute or learn.

It struck me so hard. I started ditching classes more and attended other conferences, speaking at schools and youth forums, attended ceremonies, being apart of First Nation Youth Caucus's. Although my paradigm of "learning" hadn't completely changed by then, it begun the process. It wasn't until he passed on a book called The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education. Simply put, it changed my life. It has changed my family. Hopefully, it will change my community.

I rebelled and was at odds with the establishment of the school since grade 8. I was indignant (at age 13!) about the treatment of my people (native youth) and our education. I've cared deeply about education since I was in grade 6. And by education, I mean what we learn, how we learn, and how that knowledge is used. I only now realized I lacked the self-confidence or self-esteem to effect real change at the time. It's different now.

But that quote just reminded me of what's really at play in the hearts and minds of schools and parents who were schoolers. As the school season starts, or the process of eliminated passion, inquisitiveness and talent from our young people begin, I am happily reminded of the strong choice I made for myself, and how damn right I was in that choice.


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