For the Love of Learning Episode 76
Agile Learning Center Network
Monday October 3, 2016 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday October 4, 2016 1:00 am – 3:00 am BST
Agile Learning Centers are an expanding network of micro-schools leveraging agile tools to support self-directed education.
Agile Learning Centers restore the joy of learning with a surprisingly effective educational approach: intentional culture supporting self-directed learning reinforced by agile management tools.
Some things are central to what ALCs are about, while other elements are flexible and may vary between communities. We use a metaphor of a tree to illustrate this aspect of the ALC educational model more clearly.
The soil we grow from is trust: in students, in each other, in you. The four assumptions—roots—which ground us are as follows:
- Learning: Learning is natural. It’s happening all the time.
- Self-Direction: People learn best by making their own decisions. Children are people.
- Experience: People learn more from their culture and environment than from the content they are taught. The medium is the message.
- Success: Accomplishment is achieved through cycles of intention, creation, reflection and sharing.
Tomis Parker has been working with self-directed education models since 2008. After four years with the Manhattan Free School and some freelancing in the EdTech world, Tomis helped birth the first Agile Learning Center in NYC. In 2013, he began running the ALC in NYC where he remained the Director through the 2015-16 school year. During that time, he oversaw the launch of the Agile Learning Centers brand, trained new leadership, consulted with The Mosaic School (now ALC Mosaic), co-organized the first Agile Learning Facilitator training program, and co-founded the ALC Network. Tomis has experience in both facilitating with young people in a self-directed environment, as well as with the administrative and entrepreneurial aspects of the work. He is currently organizing the launch of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education with a growing group of folks from around the self-directed education world.
Nancy Tilton founded ALC Mosaic in August of 2013 and currently serves as the Director of Primary Education for the school. She has been studying child development and working with children for 18 years. She graduated high school with 24 early childhood credits through her local community college and then moved on to study Elementary Education at the University of Maryland. From there she taught in public schools for 3 years, and then moved on to help build a private Quaker school in Charlotte for 3 years. After these experiences, she decided to embark on an adventure creating a community school that works in collaboration with parents and students, something she didn’t see happening in conventional schools. ALC Mosaic opened in 2013 with 12 students and is currently serving over 35 students now as it begins its 4th year in operation. Nancy also piloted the Agile Learning Facilitators program in 2014 with Tomis Parker, which has just completed its 3rd year serving adults around the world who are interested in learning about self-directed education & Agile Learning Centers.
A central figure at Agile Learning Center NYC since day one, Ryan’s background includes several degrees and time teaching in a variety of environments. He is currently co-director of ALC-NYC, but is better known in the ALC community for his amazing beard, his sincerity and playfulness, facilitating meetings (and ‘Werewolves’ games), and co-creating spectacular Minecraft worlds.
Hany’s first career was in the tech world, where he honed his analytical and executive management skills. He has since grown into a facilitator of all things that help people connect more deeply to each other, from intergenerational improv, to relationship coaching, to community mediation. He is a children rights advocate, and has taught kids and adults in many settings over the years. He loves to interact with kids of all ages through play, service learning, and engaging their curiosities. He co-founded ZigZag ALC with his wife Keli in 2016. Hany has a Masters in Computer Science.
Rebecka Koritz is a school entrepreneur, pedagogical visionary and harsh school critic. She is an author, lecturer and former language teacher. For fifteen years she has been training teachers and giving workshops for parents, teachers and psychologists. The last seven years she’s dedicated herself to starting up and running several alternative educational projects: Papalotes in Oaxaca (2009) and Papalotes in Puerto Escondido (2012) – both Waldorf initiatives, La Casita – a Waldorf inspired kindergarten and Explora – an Agile Learning Center in the form of a youth club/after-school program (both 2016).
In June 2016 her book A School From Scratch was published in Swedish in Sweden. It is, on one hand, the exciting story about the challenging journey of starting up alternative schools in one of the poorest states in Mexico. On the other hand it provides the reader with some serious philosophical reflections on the theme “why do we have schools, and for whom?”. Rebecka is originally from Sweden, but has lived in Mexico since 2003 where she can freely unschool her son who has Asperger’s syndrome.
More on Rebecka: www.rebeckakoritz.com
A School From Scratch: www.enskolafranscratch.se
As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website RaisingMiro.com and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teenage son at: ProjectWorldSchool.com. You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.
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