Travelling School of Life - Let the journey begin!
Last Saturday a small group of 5 people participated in a workshop dealing with the alternative education network Travelling School for Life (TSoL). The workshop took place within the framework of the 4th KnowledgeLab ( http://www.knowledgelab.org.uk/wiki/FourthKnowledgeLab) on the 17th and 18th February at Nottingham University. The workshop was proceeded by yet another discussion entitled “Deschooling Society”, based on the book of Ivan Illich. While this workshop focussed on the critique of current educational systems, the Travelling School of Life offers a lively alternative to the oppressive learning methods applied in mainstream institutions. After a question and answer session, the TSoL workshop indulged in an intense discussion which resulted in all the participants wanting to pursue further involvement with the education network.
The first part of the workshop consisted of a basic input on what the Travelling School of Life actually is or rather what we dream of:
Introduction to the education network “Travelling School of Life”
The Travelling School of Life is a worldwide education network of people that want to share both their resources and knowledge. We arrange alternative and free education beyond schools, universities and trainings.
You decide yourself, which areas and themes you want to study and at which time and place with whom, in which way as well as for what purpose you want to learn. Through the internet platform http://www.tsolife.org/ you can get to know people from around the globe as well as gather information and either offer or find educational experiences.
The database and network structure in still under construction. This means that we try to organise as openly as possible through wikis, mailing lists, and personal meetings.
The worldwide networking functions best if you yourself establish little educational networks with your friends and relatives and if you also think about what knowledge and skills you can offer to others who want to learn those things.
From the end of June till the beginning of October we plan to offer a broad variety of courses and workshops throughout Europe covering a whole range of themes.
The introduction to the course program will be provided through the Opening Courses in which the thematic basis of the Travelling School of Life will be communicated and established. This covers various aspects of 'Alternative Living' for example veg(etari)anism, gender-critique, anarchism, ecology, Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and much more...
The Opening Courses are scheduled preliminary as follow:
17th of June – 8th of July in France
15th of July – 29th of July in Eastern Europe (maybe Slovakia)
Interested? Information on how and when to participate can be found on http://www.tsolife.org/ in the Wiki under 'Summer07'.
Free Education for Everybody
Everybody involved in the network will have to negotiate from time to time under which circumstances and conditions the learning shall take place. Even though hosts will often have to deal with expenses for materials for example we have to try to keep financial costs on a minimum at the same time. This means that other forms of exchanging and giving will have to be tried out so that as little people as possible are excluded.
Learning while Travelling – Travelling while Learning
“Travelling educates”, states an old German saying.
Through travelling you expose yourself to unknown situations, you get to know other people and you discover other ways of life as well as other ways of looking at things. Whereas 'travelling' does not mean 'tourism' but a respectful engagement with your new environment.
To ease the access to such a way of learning, we will support each other through the Opening Courses as well as the communication platforms in the internet.
The people involved will organise in the growing 'virtual community' and get to know each other through their profiles and on a more personal level through meetings and gatherings.
Spaces for Learning could consist of individuals, a group of friends, direct action groups, housing cooperations, eco-villages, intentional communities, social centres, farming projects and communes. Together this offers a huge pool of space, materials, skills, knowledge, workshops and all other things that you might need for your learning experience.
The network helps the people involved, to get in touch with each other, to learn in a self-organised manner, to find spaces, projects and partners that can provide the resources needed and travel either together or solitary.
Learning does not happen separately from life but is completely embodied within life.
Let the journey begin.
Discussion as follow up to the presentation
Throughout the discussion it became clear that for the participants it would be crucial to be able to access the summer program well in advance so that one can decide whether to participate and to make further travel arrangements.
Another important factor mentioned by the participants was the low-cost or ideally free character of education in the Travelling School of Life. It would also be important that, if possible, food and shelter are provided by the hosts for a low contribution or in exchange for community work.
Another point that was stressed is that their should be a function within the internet database with which participants can post their personal experience at specific hosts to which the hosts themselves can reply moreover in order to respond to possible critique.
Interests of Participants
When asked in which themes the workshop participants would be interested this summer, the answers varied from “hands-on” work like ecobuilding and permaculture and local food production to language “classes” and cultural experience.
Possibilities in the UK
While the UK is still a bit of a black spot on the map of the TSoL it was also discussed which hosts could offer which learning experiences this summer. Focussing on the vital social centres movement in the UK it was discussed whether there couldn't be a course on “How to run a community centre”. Other proposals included squatting workshops, courses on the vegan-organic catering of big social and environmental events (e.g. Veggies), Rhythms of Resistance – How to get started for a Samba resistance group. A concrete offer was made by http://www.v3power.org/ to offer a Wind Turbine construction course for the Summer Program 2007.
Time was limited but in the end it seemed as if everybody was motivated to get involved in the network. Contact details were exchanged at the end of the meeting, so that one can hope that things will get going in the future and that hopefully people will also be travelling to the UK this summer in order to broaden their knowledge and horizons.
For more information visit: http://www.tsolife.org/
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