Talk:Alternative education

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Alternative education:
  1. Write good opening paragraph
  2. Define a few very broad categories of AE (homeschooling, charter school, special education, etc.)
  3. Identify groups that pursue AE (Christians, counter-culturists, new-agers, etc.)
  4. Research AE internationally

please remove the second para[edit]

i think the introduction which gives defintion of alternative education is higly problematic. Here i would suggest by removing the second para where you try to contrast it with USA scenario is what is creating trouble. Why should this alternative education / school etc based on a USA situation. I would suggest it is important here to higlight alternative schooling as agianst the 'Mainstream' or "factory" schooling system.

It is so unfortunate that this article read as if alternative education is only USA phenomenon. even if one traces the anglo saxon history of alternatives AS Nells Summerhill school in UK is the first one. and Indian traditions of early 20th century are equally important to the 'factory schooling' system. Some one needs to correct this

The second paragraph doesn't imply that alternative education originated in the United States, it is merely explaining that alternative education often has a different connotation in the US than it does elsewhere. It is important to explain whether a term has multiple meanings and whether different meanings of the term are used in different areas of the world.
The "Overview" section of the article mentions people from many different countries, the section about specific types of alternative education includes forms that are not from the US (like Krishnamurti schools), and there is a section about alternative education in specific counties. I agree that the article needs a lot of work still. It doesn't clearly describe how the concept of alternative education originated (it just lists names of people influential in it's development), the section about forms of alternative education needs to be revised, the section on international practices needs to be expanded, etc. (I have listed some suggestions for specific changes near the bottom of the page in the section "Suggestions for reorganization and expansion"), but I'm afraid I don't see a US bias. Perhaps you could point out specific examples of places in the article where the views of other countries are not taken into account? Amillion 22:31, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Templates on article page?[edit]

Just had a quick look at this page - my first thought was to move the templates from the article page to the talk. Any thoughts? Jtneill - Talk 14:04, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

That is my inclination also, but the policy is here. It does seem to make more sense on the main page, but I guess their rationale is that it will clutter the main page, and that truly interested parties will be digging a little deeper into the article and find it that way. Thanks, Master Scott Hall | Talk 14:28, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Miscellaneous[edit]

I changed the Sudbury Valley School link from an outside link to an interlink. The outside link should be provided at the bottom of the SVS article. Thanks, Master Scott Hall | Talk 15:44, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

Should the category Alternative high schools be added to the category for Alternative education? Ropcat 06:03, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes. Thanks, Master Scott | Talk 13:19, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Alternatives[edit]

I learned more from wikipedia in few months than from ten years of school

DWEM's & WASP's[edit]

Don't you think article is a little heavy in dropping the names of a bunch of dead white men (i.e. Emerson, Dewey, some Swiss guy ect.), despite their importance to the subject. And it's pretty western in that it only gives examples for countries in Western Europe, North America, & Austrailia (which is Western enough). Someone should add content and such to give it a more global point of view.--Wikiphilia 03:53, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

viewpoint[edit]

I do not like this statement being included, however if this is genuinely a reflection of US usage of AE then i'm happy to concede. This is absolutley not a definition which would be recognised in the UK. --Brideshead 20:28, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

So what is the definition that is recognised in the UK? This is what it is in the US. How do I get the source for it? (207.156.196.242)

It is also the tendency in Australia to consider Alternative Education as being for "difficult" students. This particularly includes those with behaviours that are unmanageable in the mainstream schools. This is due to the fact that most 'alternative' schools are set up by the government for such children. It gives the word a bad connotation among the general citizenry.06:31, 15 March 2008 (UTC)06:31, 15 March 2008 (UTC)06:31, 15 March 2008 (UTC)06:31, 15 March 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 203.214.67.154 (talk)

Alternative education is NOT just for people with special needs[edit]

The introduction of this article says "Alternative education, also known as non-traditional education or educational alternative, describes an education that is modified or particularized for those having singular needs, such as maladjusted people and gifted children." This is not true at all. While forms of education catering to people with special needs may be considered forms of alternative education, they are not the only kind of alternative education. Alternative education refers to ANY form of education other than mainsteam education. Many forms of alternative education are geared towards the exact same people as mainstream education. Unschooling, for example, is a form of alternative education. It is not designed for antisocial children, or dyslexic children, or gifted children, or even exclusively children. It was not designed to meet the needs of any particular special group. Many forms of alternative education share this characteristic. These forms of education are alternative in their methods, not their target audience. Amillion 15:45, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Suggestions for reorganization and expansion[edit]

Right now the section about alternative education internationally appears to just be scattered plugs for a couple specific schools and programs. I propose that we should strive to make this section about all of the ways in which alternative education is and has historically been thought about and practiced in these countries. If we discuss a particular school, we should do so only to clarify and provide examples of different movements within these countries. The India section (which I moved from the Overview section) is the only one that accomplishes this currently.

I also think that the overview section ought to describe the history of all forms of alternative education (instead of just progressive education). We should explain what factors caused modern mainstream education to come into existence in different areas of the world and when different forms of education began to emerge (or re-emerge), and what these alternative forms were. It might be a good idea to make the overview section into a short paragraph which briefly reiterates that there are several forms of alternative education which vary in purpose, methodology, intended pupils, and philosophy, (education for kids with special needs (disabled, disiplinary problems, malajusted, gifted, etc.), progressive and wholistic education, home education, etc.) and then to tell their specific histories in their own sections. We might also put them in order of historical emergence to make the article flow better.

It might also be a good idea to make a section for different educational structures, like schools-within-schools, home education, charter schools, etc., one for different philosophies, like holistic education, unschooling, etc., different methods, like unit studies, conventional curricula, etc., and one for different target groups, like disabled, malajusted, or gifted people. Basically we should separate the different components of the administration (not the best word, but good enough) of an education; to whom are they administering it, how, why, what are they administering, and in what kind of educational structure. Amillion 22:43, 19 December 2006 (UTC)


Here's a rough skeleton of what I propose -


  • Introduction: defines alternative education, states that it is a general term encompassing all forms of education outside of traditional education, briefly states the origin of the concept, describes the different meanings the term might have in different contexts, describes similar terms and their uses and connotations, explains that forms of alternative education may differ in their basic educational and administrative structure, their philosophies of education, their methods of providing that education, and their target pupils.


  • Educational and administrative structures (each category contains a description of the definition and history of each type)

1.1 Stand-alone schools within a mainstream school system- like charter schools (may be paid for with public money)

1.2 Stand-alone schools outside of mainstream school system (not government funded)

1.3 Alternative programs inside of mainstream school (probably government funded)

1.4 Home-based education (probably not government funded)

1.5 A function of, but separate from, mainstream education- like correctional education or special education


  • Educational philosophies (again, each category contains a description of the definition and history of each type, description of methods used)

2.1 Holistic education

2.2 Student-led education -2.2.1 Unschooling -2.2.2 Autodidactism -2.2.3 Democratic schools

2.3 Montessori method

2.4 Waldorf method

2.5 Special education (there would probably be several subcategories under this)

2.6 Correctional education (there would be different types of this as well)


  • International practices (each category will have a description of the meaning and history of alternative education in that country and a description of movements and forms found in that country)

3.1 Canada

3.2 England

3.3 Australia

3.4 United States

3.5 India Amillion 01:23, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

recent changes[edit]

First of all, alternative schools were catered for students with special educational needs as well as those who would like to experience school differently. Saying it is for "at risk" students is a little bit negative. At risk students are special education students. I think saying special education is more positive than saying at risk students. Tell me what you think. (209.177.21.6 - Talk)

It doesn't say that alternative education only caters to at risk students; it just says that that is a quite common connotation the phrase holds in the United States. Education for at risk students is different from special education in that the term "special education" commonly refers to education geared towards students with disabilities (especially intellectual disabilities), whereas at risk students generally do not have disabilities. Special education is generally conducted seperately from education for at risk students. For examply, look at this definition drafted by the Massachussetes Department of Education: http://www.doemass.org/alted/about.html?section=definition

"Alternative Education is defined as "an initiative within a public school district, charter school, or educational collaborative established to serve "at-risk students whose needs are not being met in the traditional school setting." Students who may benefit from an Alternative Education include those who are pregnant/parenting, truant, suspended or expelled, returned dropouts, delinquent, or students who are not meeting local promotional requirements."

Amillion 19:58, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

At risk students are students that have singular needs. Special education is not only for students with singular disabilities. You can go on http://www.dictionary.com and they will tell you that special education includes students with singular needs. What do you think? (209.177.21.6 - Talk)

Special education is for students with disabilities. If you look at this site: http://www3.ksde.org/leaf/survey_on_education_costs/at-risk.pdf you can see that legally (here it is discussing Kansas statutes specifically) an at risk student is a student that meets one or more of a number of criteria (they are a potential dropout, they are failing, etc.) but does not qualify for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. While education for at risk students is similar to special education in that it is geared towards a particular audience whose needs can not be met (in the judgment of lawmakers or educators) in mainstream education, and both forms of education are in fact functions of mainstream education (even though they are separate from it) they are not the same thing. Amillion 01:04, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Saying at-risk students is negative, but saying they have singular needs is much more positive[edit]

Click on this link: definition of special education. Saying at-risk to describe them sounds so negative. Doesn't it sound better when it says singular needs? Special education has changed a lot. It was once only for people with singular disabilities but now it is also for those with singular needs too. People with a mental illness have difficulty with learning and they too need special education. (209.177.21.6 - Talk)

Yes, but the dictionary.com definition is hardly evidence of a definitional trend. The fact is that Special Education IS DIFFERENT THAN education for at risk students. They are not the same, they are not conducted in the same facilities, and they are not geared towards the same students. A student who qualifies for special education WILL NOT attend a program for at risk students. It is not a matter of what term "sounds better." These are simply fundamentally different things. Students with disabilities severe enough that they are unable to function in a mainstream classroom will go into special education. Students who are teen parents or are failing their classes for reasons OTHER THAN having a disability (a.k.a. at risk students) will go into programs for at risk students. You claim that education for at risk students is special education because these students have something you call "singular disabilities" or "singular needs." How exactly do you define these terms? Can you find evidence of their use outside of dictionary.com? These so called "disabilities" are not really disabilities at all if they do not qualify the children for special education. And if we examine the term "singular needs," which I can only imagine means "a single problem which results in a child's removal from mainstream education," we can see that at risk children often have more than one "need" (so their needs are not "singular") and children receiving special education sometimes only have a single need (so their needs are "singular"). These children do not differ in the number of their "needs," but in the type. Children go into special education because of medical conditions which interfere with their ability to benifit from a mainstream classroom (including mental illness). They go into education for at risk students because they make poor choices. These are very different things. I'm going to revert your edit. Please leave this version until we resolve this discussion, so that we don't get into an edit war. Amillion 06:45, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
You also might note that "at risk" is not a derogatory term. It simply refers to the fact that these students are at risk of dropping out. If you did not understand what I attempted to explain in the previous paragraph, you might want to take a look at the second site I cited when we discussed this in the "recent changes" section of the talk page. The site refers to a legal definition of at risk students: http://www3.ksde.org/leaf/survey_on_education_costs/at-risk.pdf I can find additional examples of specific legal and academic references if you believe that my claims need more evidence. Amillion 07:15, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Way too PC. These so-called "at risk" students are simply lazy or unwilling to accept the authority of a teacher. What is needed is for them to take responsibility for their own life and prepare for the future. If they put as much effort into their own education as they put into socializing, music, sex, etc., they would do much better and not be a drag on the rest of society. 71.214.70.246 (talk) 09:56, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Overview POV[edit]

I've done a cursory edit, but it needs more work. In particular, I don't think we should suggest that all or even most alt-ed folks were opposed to compulsory education, per se. Ethan Mitchell 22:35, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it needs a lot of work. I agree with you; alternative education is an incredibly broad category encompassing an almost unimaginable number of ideas and points of view. We should not suggest that proponents are all for or against anything at all.
I've just looked at the article briefly, but I noticed an apparent lack of mention of the common US use of the term. This usage is so widespread that if you mention "alternative education," even to a professor of education at the university level, you will almost inevitably find that they associate the term with education for "at risk" students to the exclusion of any other definition. This is only my personal experience of course, but it seems to be backed up by the manner in which the word is defined by various departments of education in the US. Amillion (talk) 03:05, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Indian section[edit]

There seem to be some additions in the second para which talk about new forms of religious education and not necessarily alternative education. this need to be corrected. Are there sections in education that talks about various forms of religious education, it may be useful to create such pages. that para also seem to be an attempt to promote a particular point of view. --amg 05:03, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Explanation of my removal of "mainstream education"[edit]

Let's take example of a student who prefers to do homeschooling. This student prefers homeschooling NOT because they want to be outside of the mainstream. (If mainstream education was included in the article, it would sound like we are excluding students from society) Student who prefers homeschooling want to do something different from the USUAL practices that society deems acceptable. And also, mainstream education also refers to education in mainstream schools. Mainstream schools are schools that practice mainstreaming. As you can see, mainstream education means many different things. Traditional education focuses on the long-established and generally accepted custom. Students who choose alternative education want to do something different. This does not mean they want to be out of society. There are alternative schools that practice mainstreaming. Are you saying that those schools are NOT mainstream schools? Exactly, mainstream schools are NOT the correct term. Traditional education is the correct term. Even though they are mainstream schools, they are NOT part of traditional education. I hope I have clarified my point clear. --Ladii artiste 16:52, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Regarding "drop out prevention" alternative education[edit]

I made a few changes and flagged the end of this section as incomplete, because this last sentence seemed like the beginning of a new topic: "A very different variety of drop out is the student who does not face severe personal problems, but leaves school due to his or her philosophical opposition to traditional education." I'm open to discussion about it, though. Anyone have additional information, or an alternative opinion on the matter? Forestgarden (talk) 18:31, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

A section about the dropout prevention movement which examines the reasons students may leave school ought to endeavor to present all notable reasons. When I wrote that sentence I was primarily thinking of teenage unschoolers who leave school of their own, and not their parent's volition (many of whom are influenced by books like The Teenage Liberation Handbook), but I'm sure there are other movements as well as individuals acting alone whom are represented by this statement. Perhaps it does require elaboration through; we ought to have an examination of the way in which those students fit into the ideological framework of the dropout prevention movement. Amillion (talk) 07:48, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

WP:HOME[edit]

I have removed the link to WikiProject Homeschooling. Alternative education isnt a part of homeschooling, homeschooling is a part of alternative education. As WikiProject Alternative Education is being merged with WikiProject Education, i have removed the WP:HOME project tag and added the WP:EDU project tag. Twenty Years 17:08, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Individual schools[edit]

The description of alt. education in various countries is in need of cleanup. Much of it is little more than a list of a random selection of alternative schools. Some of these are notable (Summerhill); others probably do not stand out from others not mentioned. I am tempted to suggest deleting the whole batch but do not want to throw out the baby with the bath water, tepid as the latter is. hgilbert (talk) 01:40, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Wow. Four and a half years later these issues are still there. OK, so it's taken me a while to get around to this, too. In any case, I've made some strong edits taking out almost all individual school names, leaving movements and directions and a rare, historically especially notable school. hgilbert (talk) 18:39, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Removed POV[edit]

Have removed the following unsourced "intro":

Education in its broadest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another.

Traditional education generally implies a master - pupil relationship between an adept or skilled individual who take the role of teacher and one or more pupils. A group of pupils learning together is usually called a class. Since human survival was, until recently, rather uncertain, traditionally classes were large and highly structured simply because there was no realistic alternative method by which the accumulated wisdom of predecessors could be transmitted reliably to the young - many of whom would predictably die. Religion and education were thus intertwined, since the young had to be taught not to fear war or death. Traditional schools therefore have a teacher teaching several dozen pupils by means of speaking and repeating, illustrating and copying plus dictation and writing. The traditional relationship is hierarchical and paternal and usually employed corporal punishment. As sanitation and medicine began to prolong life expectancy, children became more highly valued and attempts were made to find a method of using positive rewards to induce enthusiasm for learning instead of mere diligence and obedience induced by fear of retribution. This implies that, in alternative education, the teacher's structural authority is diminished and is replaced by sapiential authority. School indiscipline arises when a teacher fails to win respect and is unable to punish.

If anyone can clean it up, please return to text - but not as lede to an article on Alternative education.--Technopat (talk) 14:33, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Educação Horizontal[edit]

Vassouras, 08 de março de 2010.

       Sou Antônio Luiz Bianchessi e apresento-me como autor do artigo “o desafio dos educadores” traduzido para o idioma inglês.

Agradeço pela atenção a mim dispensada. A WIKIPEDIA acolheu meu artigo. Isso para mim representa motivo de grande alegria. Meus parabéns pelo interesse, tantas vezes, manifestado em prol da melhora da educação mundial. Apresento-lhes síntese de 50 anos de pesquisas, experimentos e análises na busca de um sistema educacional que propalasse a responsabilidade do educando na própria formação. Surgiu, então, a EDUCAÇÃO HORIZONTAL que se apresenta como alternativa à Educação Vertical vigente. Algumas características básicas que definem o novo sistema, como: 01) Uso de Paradigmas Internos; 02) Uso equilibrado dos Estímulos Positivos; 03) Diálogo Evolutivo; 4) Técnicas Específicas de Trabalho em Equipe; 05) Desenvolvimento Ativo e Efetivo das Potencialidades; 06) Reforço de Comportamentos Adequados, Visando à sua Repetição; 07) Habilitar o Educando para a Solução de Problemas sem litígios e com a Apresentação de ideias; 08) Formação de Clima Educacional Favorável ao Desenvolvimento Emocional e Intelectual; 09) Promover o Uso da Alfabetização Emocional; 10) Propalar o Uso Adequado do Presente do Indicativo do Verbo; 11) Uso de Técnicas Favoráveis à Humanização do Convívio Diário; 12) Favorecer e Promover a Autoestima do Educando; 13) Adoção de LIMITES CONVENIADOS; 14) Promover Abrandamento das Imposições; 15) O Educador Torna-se o Facilitador das Melhores Escolhas do Educando. Penso que o sistema Educacional Horizontal pode atender aos reclamos de uma sociedade angustiada e sem objetivos e estratégias claros e visíveis para solucionar o problema. Coloco-me à disposição dos senhores para eventuais esclarecimentos do sistema educacional horizontal. Na medida do possível, pretendo colaborar para dirimir dúvidas e apresentar propostas de superaração dos desafios, frente às exigências de uma sociedade moderna. Agradecimentos sinceros pela atenção dispensada. Vassouras, RJ Brasil.

                                    Antônio Luiz Bianchessi

Antonio Luiz Bianchessi (talk) 20:14, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Correctional Education?[edit]

The heading "Correctional Education" (below) only contains a link to a non-existent article. Should the headline be removed?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_education#Correctional_Education Oferswþend (talk) 03:56, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

what about non-schooling[edit]

Why aren't unschooling (or non-schooling) and "non-schools" like the movement of Sudbury Valley Schools mentionned here? Is it a choice due to the fact that, strictly speaking, these actually are rather non-education? denis "spir" (talk) 20:16, 1 October 2011 (UTC)