“I Want To Do This All Day” – A Radio Documentary About Free Schools and Radical Learning

August 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm 5 comments

I Want To Do This All Day is a radio documentary about free schools and radical learning spaces in the United States. I’ve read a lot on the topics of free schools and radical learning, but this is by far one of the best discussions on these topics that I have ever been privy too. Not only is it an incredible illustration of what free schools and radical learning centers are, but it’s also a bold critique of what they could still be.

Here’s a description from their website:

In March and April of 2006, we visited 23 free schools, community centers, after school programs, summer camps, skill shares, charter schools and private schools. We interviewed students, parents and teachers about their experiences with creating and sustaining radical learning spaces. We define this as non-compulsory, non-coercive physical spaces set up for various types of learning and projects. The documentary outlines a history of both conventional and radical education, explores peoples definitions of learning, highlights some interesting spaces as examples, identifies major themes common between spaces, and addresses the role of these spaces in the wider movement for social change.

The documentarians fill this dialog with their own voices, songs, the voices of students, radical teachers, change-makers, and more. They also don’t hesitate to point out something that we’ve been discussing on this blog: the need for free schools (and other radical-learning centers) to be more dedicated to those who are not of privileged backgrounds (track 13 discusses this in length) – this includes those who have mental disabilities. However, it also discusses in length some free schools that were specifically designed for people of non-privileged backgrounds (The Albany Free School, The Met School, and The Making Changes Freedom School).

There’s a lot in this radio documentary: from the history of compulsory schools (an amazing and brief track), to discussions with current participants in the radical learning movement, from problems in the free schooling movement, to what they could adopt from public (federal) schools, to what radical learning is, to what radical learners are doing, from how radical learners/teachers are shaping our world today, to how radical learning can become a sustainable movement, and so much more. Below I’ve listed the tracks of the radio documentary, but check back soon and there might be a .zip file to download that contains all of the tracks.

  1. Setting Up
  2. Unraveling Radical Learning
  3. Problems in Education Today
  4. History of Compulsory Schools
  5. Redefining Learning
  6. Reinventing Education
  7. The Albany Free School
  8. Olympia Community Free School
  9. Making Changes Freedom School
  10. Not Back To School Camp
  11. The Met School
  12. Purple Thistle Center
  13. Themes in the Movement 1
  14. Themes in the Movement 2
  15. Motion and Change
  16. Wrapping Up

After the jump is a much more in-depth explanation from their website.

As people inspired by various philosophies of radical education, we have related a project aimed at exploring the deschooling/ radical education movement in the United States. Through conversations, interviews, field recording and other audio documentation we hope to illustrate this movement,and its overlapping, multi-faceted ideologies and manifestations, using living examples from a variety of progressive, alternative, radical, and free learning spaces. We hope to form this research into a cohesive, informative, creative, and accessible radio program for alternative/community/public radio with the following goals:

    1. To support and legitimize the radical schooling movement.

  • To create a resource and connection for people involved in this movement.
  • To increase discourse a sense of cohesive community movement.
  • To explore and compare how involvement in various types of learning and education has affected peoples lives.
    2. To inform a larger audience of the existing trends in radical schooling and show the potential for growth in this community movement (including a call to action).

  • To show the many interpretations of deschooling and inspire new interpretations.
  • To find the best examples of people holistically celebrating life and learning.
    3. To investigate for our own future benefit, and the benefit of listeners and educators/deschoolers, what approaches to radical education (techniques, infrastructures, curriculums, and degree of structure (or lack thereof)) seem successful or unsuccessful.

List of Schools Visited:

    The New School in Newark, Delaware
    Upattina’s School in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania
    The Brooklyn Free School in Brooklyn, New York
    The MET Center in Providence, Rhode Island
    Albany Free School in Albany, New York
    Dane County Transition School in Madison, Wisconsin
    The Zoo School in Minneapolis, Minnesota
    The Missoula Free Skool in Missoula, Montana
    The Purple Thistle Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia
    The Windsor House in Vancouver, British Columbia
    Puget Sound Community School in Seattle, Washington
    Clearwater School in Seattle, Washington
    The Olympia Community Free School in Olympia, Washington
    The Village Free School in Portland, Oregon
    Trillium Charter School in Portland, Oregon
    Not Back to School Camp in Eugene, Oregon
    The Santa Cruz Free Skool in Santa Cruz, California
    The Berkeley Free Skool in Berkeley, California
    Making Changes Freedom Center in San Pablo, California
    Oak Grove School in Ojai, California
    Paulo Freire Freedom School in Tucson, Arizona
    The Living School in Boulder, Colorado
    Harmony School in Bloomington, Indiana

Common attributes to “radical learning spaces”: Qualitative criteria for selecting places to visit and document (we are interested in documenting schools with any or all of these qualities):

    1. Places where living is equated with learning (recognition that learning is constantly taking place no matter what one is doing).
    2. Locally based (educational needs of particular community addressed by the place).
    4. Opinions of people of all ages are respected and valued.
    5. Public and private places that operate with free, work trade or sliding scale tuitions that accommodate people from all economic backgrounds.
    6. A self-directed approach to curriculum ranging from completely individualized (i.e. a student desires to learn about dinosaurs and is directed toward resources and tools) to student-input (i.e. while studying biology and evolution, a student wants to spend a day focusing on dinosaurs).
    7. A democratic, community approach to governing and decision-making (rules, structure, conflict resolution, etc.).
    8. A life-long approach to learning (i.e. kids can teach adults, students are not completely segregated based on age, and encouragement that learning goes beyond time spent in the place).
    9. Involvement of greater community (i.e. kids volunteer locally, parents help teach classes, local mentors are involved as guest speakers or teachers, students orient school projects outward toward local community, such as murals or oral history projects).
    10. Emphasis on experiential, holistic, interdisciplinary learning (all different learning styles and interests are valued and encouraged, hands-on experiences, contact with outside environment).
    11. Non-competitive atmosphere and assessments with alternative measures of success (without simple reward-punishment systems).
    12. Sense of belonging to or commitment to a broader concept of social change.

Visit the “I Want To Do This All Day” website here.

Posted in Reading Links.


Entry filed under: Anti-Oppression and Free Schools, General Free Schooling, Related To Free Schooling. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Recognizing Days of Anti-Oppression in U.S. History The Passive Teacher vs. The Undogmatic Teacher

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nat West  |  August 20, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Looks like #3 and #5 are broken. Can you check them?

  • 2. Brian  |  August 21, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Hm, I checked the links and they were still working – but I redid them anyway. Hopefully they’ll work for you now. If not, I’d be happy to send them to you via e-mail.

  • 3. Nat West  |  August 21, 2008 at 5:03 am

    Thanks, looks good. It’ll take a while to listen to them all.

  • […] March and April of 2006, we visited 23 free schools, community centers, after school programs, summer camps, skill shares, charter schools and private […]

  • 5. buy a car  |  May 22, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    all the time i used to read smaller content that as well
    clear their motive, and that is also happening with
    this paragraph which I am reading at this time.


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