[p2p-research] Suggestions wanted for education to p2p practices and attitude
Paul D. Fernhout
pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Thu Oct 29 13:34:12 CET 2009
M. Fioretti wrote:
> here's a question: if you were preparing a proposal for education in
> the 6-12 years age range, what would you write in it in order to
> educate the children to a p2p-like attitude and practice with respect
> to nutrition, (self) healthcare, protection of the environment?
My child in about that age.
We are focusing on things like: :-)
* being in nature,
* eating a variety of "organic" things grown in our garden or picked
themselves from the refrigerator and seeing the parents eat,
* whatever else is of interest to the child at the moment, with a bit of
"strewing" by parents of books and ideas and DVDs throughout the home.
For example, we "strewed" medical supplies (bandages, stethescope, other
safe medical things), and our kids has taken them up in play (some stuffed
animals that pretend they are doctors animated by me helps, too).
Some arguments against doing that by people mostly convinced that the "real
world" is a prison so you'd better get kids used to that early, even as they
make some other interesting points:
With that said, I'm presuming you're looking at developing propaganda
content in an institutional setting, not actual experience or setting a good
example? So, you've kind of limited what can be done to all the stuff that
is questionable, where "the medium is the message" -- and what is the
message of school -- do what you are told by authority, eat what you are
served (probably non-organic junk in the cafeteria), and imitate the
ignorant same-age juveniles and bullying adults around you. There's not too
much one can do with propaganda to fix that. Best would be to reorganize the
school entirely to teach all that by example, with a garden, caring adults,
a mix of ages learning from each other, self-directedness, a play-based
curriculum, and so on, like here:
See also, for more ideas:
As codirector of the Albany Free School, Chris Mercogliano has had
remarkable success in helping a diverse population of youngsters find their
way in the world. He regrets, however, that most kids' lives are subject to
some form of control from dawn until dusk. Lamenting risk-averse parents,
overstructured school days, and a lack of playtime and solitude, Mercogliano
argues that we are robbing our young people of "that precious, irreplaceable
period in their lives that nature has set aside for exploration and innocent
discovery," leaving them ill-equipped to face adulthood. The "domestication
of childhood" squeezes the adventure out of kids' lives and threatens to
smother the spark that animates each child with talents, dreams, and
As Mercogliano explains, however, there is plenty that those involved
with children can do to protect their spontaneity and exuberance. We can
address their desperate thirst for knowledge, give them space to learn from
their mistakes, and let them explore what their place in the adult world
So, the best thing would be to propose things along the line of what Chris
Mercogliano suggests. Why not contact him directly? Or at least read his
books. He has more than thirty years of free school teaching experience
doing exactly what you propose, to great success. He can tell you much more
than I can.
"[p2p-research] ADHD or lack of Vitamin D? Albany Free School connection?"
But sure, one can invent exercises. One can "study" democracy in
authoritarian schools too. At the Albany Free School, kids learn democracy
by living it and making democratic choices from a young age. There are no
such schools listed in Italy -- maybe you could start one? :-)
Of course, free and democratic schools are a bit of a sham, in that what we
really need is a democratic society, including one where parents don't have
to park their children somewhere all day so they can "work" at mostly
meaningless guarding jobs. A homeschool resource center is another approach
to this, to help homeschoolers do a better job (assuming homeschooling is
legal in your country -- outlawing homeschooling was one of the things
Hitler did, and the Germans have not budged on that since.)
Looks like it is legal in Italy:
Homeschooling is illegal in Germany, yet it and other educational
alernatives are now gaining reconsideration, as this publication attests.
For information about Teach Your Own in German visit Genius Verlag.
Is there an Italian translation of that book? Or an Italian translation of
Chris Mercogliano's book? That might be another thing to propose. :-)
> mean, what do you think the children should learn and how? Which
> practices? Which success and failure stories (please let's keep in
> mind the age range, that is use only simple examples in limited time,
> only suggest things/activities that children that age may do
> personally, etc...!) should they know?
Different kids are ready to learn different things at different times.
Ideally, most education should be learner directed, within a supportive
environment where healthy and wise community members have set up the
potential for many positive experiences, including setting good examples.
"At Sudbury Valley School, students from preschool through high school age
explore the world freely, at their own pace and in their own unique ways.
They learn to think for themselves, and learn to use Information Age tools
to unearth the knowledge they need from multiple sources. They develop the
ability to make clear logical arguments, and deal with complex ethical
issues. Through self-initiated activities, they pick up the basics; as they
direct their lives, they take responsibility for outcomes, set priorities,
allocate resources, and work with others in a vibrant community. "
Again though, I think ripping "education" out of the general community and
restricting it to state-managed schools is an evil that we have not yet
begun to wrestle with globally, even though people like John Taylor Gatto
and others have started.
> Context: I am preparing a talk which should also touch the theme
> above, and hopefully there will also be space for examples from other
> parts of the world. Right after the event the talk will be published
> with a CC license at http://mfioretti.com .
See, you're leading by example. Great!
> Sorry for vagueness, but my schedule for the next days changed without
> notice this morning (nothing bad) so I have to leave the computer
> right now and don't know how much I'll be at home in the next hours/
> Thank you in advance for any feedback
I'd suggest the translation route as an easy start. Contact those people and
see if you can translate the books. Still, those books are not under free
licenses, so you might want to consider making other free materials in Italian.
By the way, here are some Catholics developing support for the idea of a
basic income: :-)
As they say on their main page:
A journal of Catholic patriots
For the Social Credit monetary reform
Through the education of the population
And not through politicial parties
Again, maybe translation opportunities?
I wonder if there could be a general theme of peer-to-peer translation of
peer-to-peer ideas? :-)
Sorry to not have the specific ideas you are looking for. You might also
"Open Educational Resources"
But really, there are endless sites on the web now about kids and
environmentalism. There are movies like Wall-E (avoid the video game, it is
violent, even if it is "just" human-looking robot-on-robot violence) that
can be food for discussion. The Wall-E credits and that Peter Gabriel song
can still bring tears to my eye:
That's my whole current life aspiration right there in those credits. :-)
At least the first half of them -- before the video game-like section in the
middle -- so up to the big tree part, as much of the rest is about robotic
With my own child, I have talked about things like 3D printing someday being
able to print toys. That got a good reception. :-) And how someday we may be
able to move beyond (wartime) rationing based on ration units called
"money". Someday. It's hard to both educate a child about how the world
works now, and still give them a sense it could be different. I sprinkle
provisos like "in our current culture" or "in this current society" to help
But seriously, these are much bigger issues to tackle right now:
"he War Play Dilemma: What Every Parent And Teacher Needs to Know"
“Childhood is dramatically different today than it was just a generation
ago, but children still need an environment that encourages healthy play, a
sense of security, and strong, loving relationships. Whether you are a
parent or teacher, my goal is to help you prepare and succeed in supporting
children’s optimal growth in these challenging times.”
– Nancy Carlsson-Paige
Again, maybe translate her works to Italian?
"How One Book Made a Difference"
For the next week, several of us sat with the children, one by one, reading
the book Swimmy. To my amazement, every child used Swimmy’s tale as a
vehicle for telling his or her own story of hiding from soldiers, feeling
scared, or witnessing atrocities. Every child talked and talked, and then
they drew and talked some more. Most kids embraced the central message of
hope conveyed in the book. Over and over, I heard statements like this one
from Dora: “We are united in our community just like the little fish. We
have courage and we can continue on because we stay together.” And then she
added, “Thank you for the story of Swimmy.”
Towards the end of our visit, the art teacher in our delegation showed
everyone how to make a gigantic stuffed fish out of paper, decorate it and
hang it from the ceiling of one of the classrooms. The children worked
together--cutting, coloring, tying and gluing--and they were delighted. I
thought about all that had grown up around this one little paperback book.
The children had shared their stories, fears and feelings with their sister
city visitors who listened with compassion and offered reassurance. Through
Swimmy’s story of survival and the activities it led to, along with the
loving relationships that formed that week, the children of San Jose Las
Flores gained a renewed sense of hope and support. And the delegates, those
of us who lived for a short time in a village pummeled by war, returned to
our safe city altered by what we had seen and inspired by the strength and
spirit of people engaged in a struggle for democracy and justice.
The "War play dillema" is mostly about the problems boys face as targeted
consumers. Her coauthor on that book wrote another book about the problems
girls face as target consumers:
Popular culture and technology inundate our children with an onslaught of
mixed messages at earlier ages than ever before. Corporations capitalize on
this disturbing trend, and without the emotional sophistication to
understand what they are doing and seeing, kids are getting into increasing
trouble emotionally and socially; some may even to engage in precocious
sexual behavior. Parents are left shaking their heads, wondering: How did
this happen? What can we do?
So Sexy So Soon is an invaluable and practical guide for parents who are
fed up, confused, and even scared by what their kids–or their kids’
friends–do and say. Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D.,
internationally recognized experts in early childhood development and the
impact of the media on children and teens, understand that saying no to
commercial culture–TV, movies, toys, Internet access, and video games–isn’t
a realistic or viable option for most families. Instead, they offer parents
essential, age-appropriate strategies to counter the assault.
* Help your children expand their imaginations by suggesting new ways
for them to play with toys–for example, instead of “playing house” with
dolls, they might send their toys on a backyard archeological adventure.
* Counteract the narrow gender stereotypes in today’s media: ask your
son to help you cook; get your daughter outside to play ball.
* Share your values and concerns with other adults–relatives, parents
of your children’s friends–and agree on how you’ll deal with TV and other
media when your children are at one another’s houses.
Basically, it has been profitable for some to saturate the life of young
boys with war toys and war media, and to saturate the life of young girls
with sexualized products and media.
I think they underestimate the value and ease of turning off broadcast TV.
I can't imagine what our life would be like with a broadcast TV -- at least
I can't imagine it being any better. Selected DVDs and supervised use of a
computer in the kitchen can provide as much media as young kids should have.
An important issue is that audio and books allow children's imagination to
scale stories to what they can handle, whereas graphic media (even cartoons)
force children's imaginations to go in ways that may be inappropriate and
harmful for them, with the child having no way to tone down the stimulus (so
for example, it's one thing for Raffi to sing a funny song about Zombies and
Werewolves, it's another to see a two hour film of Zombies and Werewolves
doing horrible things to people, even if you know intellectually it is fake,
and kids have trouble knowing the difference until they are seven or older.)
So, also writing some really good children's books (the best appeal to both
children and adults) could help.
You could translate this one to Italian if it is not already:
But there are lots of such stories that are worthwhile. Making free
children's books for the web is a possibility. Or just finding them and
translating them to Italian. Or, if they are out of copyright, even adapting
them using the old pictures in new ways?
Anyway, glad to "help" more if I can. :-)
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