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Research project - school survival kit
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robotjox Offline
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Post: #1
Research project - school survival kit

Hello,

we are 2 master students at a Danish university doing research on didactics.

I am myself an unschooler of 2 boys and very opposed to school.

We have been planning to a physical "school survival kit" for some time now, and we just stumbled upon this website recently. Of course we were (pleasantly) surprised to find you, and also very happy to find your actual page on a survival kit: http://www.school-survival.net/kit/ which is very much in tune with our own thoughts.

We are presenting this kit on a big conference here in Denmark in the coming week and are working our asses of trying to finish it :-D

So my question is: what would you put in this box? There are lots of good ideas on the aforementioned page, but I would love to hear some thoughts on this :-)

Thanks again for a great forum!
What you have here is very necessary! But you know that already, I guess :-)
03-31-2015 07:11 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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Research project - school survival kit

Interesting -- and welcome. Some of us are also working on (well, planning to) revamp the survival kit, and I've been thinking about a physical version of it as well.

It's worth checking out the wiki as well, which overall has some newer content than the current survival kit: http://w.school-survival.net/

I think there are broadly a few categories of things to consider for your project, and for updating what's here:

(1) How to understand and deal with school-as-usual. This includes something about why misery-oriented schooling exists, and ways to deal with it.

(2) Information about alternatives and paths out of and beyond school. A growing number of people are able to opt out of school-as-usual, and there's a growing amount of evidence that you don't need school to live a successful life. College is necessary for some career paths, but there are paths into college without traditional schoooling. So I think covering that kind of thing is important. How to at least try to get out of school, including resources to show parents and others, and suggestions about how to talk to them.

(3) Information on how to learn and "get an education" beyond school, including some coverage of things that are worth knowing whether or not they're on a school's curriculum. How to have effective conversations, how to understand people, how to learn metacognition, how to do research and connect with people online... are some examples.

What do you think? What conference is it?

I'm planning an online conference in a few months, so maybe you'd be interested in presenting your ideas there, as well. (It's still in the planning stages, though.)

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03-31-2015 08:17 PM
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robotjox Offline
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RE: Research project - school survival kit

(03-31-2015 08:17 PM)xcriteria Wrote:  (1) How to understand and deal with school-as-usual.

(2) Information about alternatives and paths out of and beyond school.

(3) Information on how to learn and "get an education" beyond school, including some coverage of things that are worth knowing whether or not they're on a school's curriculum.

What do you think? What conference is it?

Hello xcriteria, and thanks a lot for your very detailed answer. Lots of great points that rhyme very well with our own observations.

This is the conference (or festival): http://www.counterplay.org/
I will also be taking part in a panel on playful education where I will be talking about unschooling (I am president of the only Danish organization for home educators) :-)

So as you can guess I am very much aware of the alternative ways to get an education (luckily home ed is legal in Denmark) :-) But this project aims to help kids who are caught in the school system, and by presenting this "survival kit" at the conference our aim is of course to highlight a lot of the problems with compulsory schooling.

I think I am pretty much on top of theory, but I could really use some suggestions on physical items (a camera could be one thing, maybe even a spray can?). I would love to hear from people who are in the system right now - what would be of help to you - right now?

And it is also tongue in cheek (though the subject is serious) - dont be afraid to "push the envelope" a bit Wink
(This post was last modified: 04-01-2015 09:10 AM by robotjox.)
04-01-2015 09:07 AM
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Aureate Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Research project - school survival kit

Hello, robotjox. If you have not already planned to do so, make sure you include in your presentation the evolutionary origin of play and its implications regarding the innate will of children to learn. As for this physical survival kit, I have a couple of ideas:

(1) A smartphone equipped with games/diversions
Even if the school tries to ban or restrict its usage, as is often the case, a smartphone is a must. I feel I have a colorful internal life--such that I can enjoy and advance my mind even while my body is static--but my fantasies and ponderings are no match for the vapidity of the high school classroom. Inevitably the boredom takes its toll, and I find myself craving an external distraction. I actually instructed my sister on this matter a few years ago. She was considering forgoing a gaming device as she advanced through the upper grades. I counseled her otherwise, and she agrees with me now that Candy Crush and Doodle Jump, while not the pinnacle of human fulfillment, can feel lifesaving when the alternative is weathering a school day unarmed.

(2) A depleted plastic water bottle with an opaque label
I suggest this to afford you a satirical opportunity. Display the unassuming water bottle to your audience, and then inform them that it's not for drinking. Peel off the label to reveal test answers scrawled on the back. Explain that by positioning the water bottle perfectly on his desk during an assessment, a student can guarantee himself a perfect grade, all the while concealing his dubious means from his teacher. Obviously, he would not actually learn the expected information with this method, but remind your audience that any child in his right mind would select good test scores over his school's subject knowledge. The latter garners him comparatively insignificant praise, bears only vague connection to his life's goals, and tends to fade--rarely to anyone's objection--in a matter of weeks.

I hope you consider adding these two items to your survival kit and that your presentation is well-received. Please keep us informed.
(This post was last modified: 04-01-2015 01:50 PM by Aureate.)
04-01-2015 01:23 PM
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craxyguy562 Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Research project - school survival kit

Hmmm how about....

1. Characters and personalities, to play pretend with your pencils, erasers, and glue sticks. When one is bored in school they can play with their school tools and have them talk to eachother. Of course the voices are in one's head when they do it.

2. Snacks. For sone reason food taste so much better when your sneaking it and is much more satisfying.

3. Oversized Jacket. For hiding stuff from the teacher.

[Image: gUJMoO7.png]

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04-01-2015 01:55 PM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: Research project - school survival kit

(04-01-2015 09:07 AM)robotjox Wrote:  This is the conference (or festival): http://www.counterplay.org/
I will also be taking part in a panel on playful education where I will be talking about unschooling (I am president of the only Danish organization for home educators) :-)

That's great to hear. If you happen to record your presentations, I'm sure a lot of people will be interested. (Well, if they're in Danish, we might need a translation Smile.)

(04-01-2015 09:07 AM)robotjox Wrote:  So as you can guess I am very much aware of the alternative ways to get an education (luckily home ed is legal in Denmark) :-) But this project aims to help kids who are caught in the school system, and by presenting this "survival kit" at the conference our aim is of course to highlight a lot of the problems with compulsory schooling.

I think that's such an important, yet woefully under-addressed issue. A lot of times those in alternative education live in a very different world from those stuck in compulsory education, and the idea of doing substantive outreach is rare from what I've seen. But that's one of the things I'm passionate about, myself.

(04-01-2015 09:07 AM)robotjox Wrote:  I think I am pretty much on top of theory, but I could really use some suggestions on physical items (a camera could be one thing, maybe even a spray can?). I would love to hear from people who are in the system right now - what would be of help to you - right now?

One thing to consider is cost. Is there a per-kit budget you have in mind? If possible, I'd include something like a smartphone or iPod Touch; a device that would include a camera, audio recorder, screen, apps, and ability to use wifi, and the like.

But, that'd add to the cost of the kits, and some schools ban such devices and would take them away. But still, for those without access to an equivalent device at home, having one can go a long way. (Maybe the kit could include suggestions for obtaining one.)

(04-01-2015 01:23 PM)Aureate Wrote:  Hello, robotjox. If you have not already planned to do so, make sure you include in your presentation the evolutionary origin of play and its implications regarding the innate will of children to learn.

Peter Gray's TEDx talk is a good reference there (as is his work in general):



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xcriteria Offline
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Research project - school survival kit

(04-01-2015 01:23 PM)Aureate Wrote:  (1) A smartphone equipped with games/diversions

Yeah, this is worth including. Even a low-cost variation, or suggestions on how to get one.

(04-01-2015 01:23 PM)Aureate Wrote:  (2) A depleted plastic water bottle with an opaque label

Interesting, but I'll insert my speech against cheating here. Unless one is in particularly unusual circumstances, I think there are better strategies than cheating; especially blatant cheating on exams. I think it's better to join the movement against grades and realize they don't define your future... and if they do, like to a given college, there's something very wrong with that college. If one is open to the risk of being caught and punished, there are other things to do, like reaching out to other students with the survival kit; and that process is likely to go more smoothly if the kit isn't built around a guide to cheating.

Obviously, a lot of parents emphasize grades and even built punishments around them, but again, rather than cheating, I'd encourage taking action to help people realize how ridiculous these metrics are.

However, I like where you're headed in terms of satirical approaches to subverting things. Maybe one variation would be to include some kind of test for students to give their teachers and parents.

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xcriteria Offline
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RE: Research project - school survival kit

(04-01-2015 01:55 PM)craxyguy562 Wrote:  Hmmm how about....

1. Characters and personalities, to play pretend with your pencils, erasers, and glue sticks. When one is bored in school they can play with their school tools and have them talk to eachother. Of course the voices are in one's head when they do it.

I like this. An imagination and daydreaming toolkit. Maybe include an article on the benefits of daydreaming to cognition.

(04-01-2015 01:55 PM)craxyguy562 Wrote:  2. Snacks. For sone reason food taste so much better when your sneaking it and is much more satisfying.

How about custom snacks with messages printed on them? Smile

[Image: UN3rz16.png]

(04-01-2015 01:55 PM)craxyguy562 Wrote:  3. Oversized Jacket. For hiding stuff from the teacher.

Maybe instructions for how to use a jacket and other things with pockets, to keep the kit smaller.

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04-01-2015 03:16 PM
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robotjox Offline
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Post: #9
Research project - school survival kit

sooo many good points - thanks y'all! Really appreciated!
04-01-2015 10:57 PM
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RE: Research project - school survival kit

I always had a notebook on me, strictly for not-schoolwork. I practiced drawing and writing. I took notes about things that were happening in school that I didn't like, sort of like a diary, I guess.

An interesting book goes a long way. Easy escape.

A camera is a good idea. A telephone is a good idea. A way to browse the web is a good idea.
So a smartphone is a good idea.

Food and water. I like to recommend peanuts; they're cheap and filling and delicious and nutritious.

A hug. Smile
04-02-2015 09:59 AM
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robotjox Offline
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Post: #11
Research project - school survival kit

thanks, Eidolon - very good suggestion. Notebook has been added to the box.
So far we have:
- smartphone
- tablet
- needle and thread (together with instructions on how to sew hidden pockets in your clothes)
- a small "nullius in verba"-book which illustrates how wrong people in authority have often been throughout history
- snacks
- a notebook
- a camera

keep'em coming - this is awesome!
04-02-2015 11:04 PM
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Post: #12
Research project - school survival kit

Finally an update from me.
Much has happened since I started this thread.
The subject of school survival and indeed the survival kit proved to be too much for one half of my study group (and the third person had a baby), so now I am on my own in studying school survival :-)
I still thinks this community rocks, though, so I hope you'll let me stay here for a while :-)

I did present a prototype of a real life school survival kit at the Counterplay 2015 conference in Denmark a while back. I have attached some pictures - I hope you like them :-)

[Image: GrZOYbMVAOkPj_0_IQ1P1YP0h3CVeNf_X70x_9YZ...w1828-h697]

[Image: DwWs9thX-Ix9LzELTBGSWQNgzbniLBbsrsHeYxGg...w1828-h697]

[Image: fCL9yshE0jKGUHdus_W4AzFOuQysWIjeroFeB6b7...w1828-h697]

What I would like to do now is to contemplate if the kit should be a physical kit like it is today or maybe something else? Should it be more like "virtual kit"? With ideas and resources of how to survive in school?

What do you think?
05-15-2015 01:11 AM
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Research project - school survival kit

Hello, I posted an update to this project several days ago along with some pictures of the finished prototype of the school survival kit.
I was given a message that the post needed to be approved by a moderator, but it never was - anyone know what's up?
05-28-2015 12:29 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: Research project - school survival kit

I missed that somehow. I don't see how to approve it from mobile, so I'll just quote it here for now.

Quote:Finally an update from me.
Much has happened since I started this thread.
The subject of school survival and indeed the survival kit proved to be too much for one half of my study group (and the third person had a baby), so now I am on my own in studying school survival :-)
I still thinks this community rocks, though, so I hope you'll let me stay here for a while :-)

I did present a prototype of a real life school survival kit at the Counterplay 2015 conference in Denmark a while back. I have attached some pictures - I hope you like them :-)

[Image: GrZOYbMVAOkPj_0_IQ1P1YP0h3CVeNf_X70x_9YZ...w1828-h697]

[Image: DwWs9thX-Ix9LzELTBGSWQNgzbniLBbsrsHeYxGg...w1828-h697]

[Image: fCL9yshE0jKGUHdus_W4AzFOuQysWIjeroFeB6b7...w1828-h697]

What I would like to do now is to contemplate if the kit should be a physical kit like it is today or maybe something else? Should it be more like "virtual kit"? With ideas and resources of how to survive in school?

What do you think?

Very interesting. I do hope you stick around, and feel free to get in touch on FB, where there's a lot more related conversation. If you'd like to do a hangout or skype call sometime, it'd be cool to talk as well.

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xcriteria Offline
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RE: Research project - school survival kit

Try putting the images on imgur.com and reposting... Google doesn't like its links being embedded.

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Research project - school survival kit

I will, thanks man!
I'd love to get in touch :-)
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Research project - school survival kit

let's try this:

[Image: 6comhYz.jpg]

[Image: 86aLUsj.jpg]

[Image: X8ksgAX.jpg]
(This post was last modified: 06-01-2015 10:54 PM by robotjox.)
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xcriteria Offline
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Research project - school survival kit

That's awesome. Do you have close-up shots or PDFs/etc. of the documents?

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Research project - school survival kit

thanks! I'll try to find some close ups Smile
06-02-2015 12:13 AM
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Research project - school survival kit

A few close ups - will try to do more, but my camera is broke :/

As you might be able to tell, I have quoted several of the posts in this thread.
As such I regard the survival kit as a joint creation between myself and this forum - and this is just the beginning. I hope you'll join me in developing it further Smile

[Image: soDIin7.jpg?1]

[Image: HSxR7r9.jpg?1]

[Image: cRSaTDi.jpg?1]
06-04-2015 09:06 AM
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Research project - school survival kit

That's really awesome to see, and I think there's a lot of potential in developing out the Survival Kit both on this site (as we've planned to do for some time), and making a physical kit.

One of the big things I think the kit needs is information on how to have effective conversations, especially with parents. Teenage Liberation Handbook is a classic about learning beyond school and figuring out how to leave school.... but that raises three key purposes of such a kit:

(1) How to survive the day-to-day grind over going to school, week after week and possibly year after year.

(2) How to learn how to learn beyond school, discover what there is to know, develop your mind and abilities, and connect with others and thrive regardless of the impacts of school. These are things that apply whether you're forced to go to school for an extended length of time or you can manage to opt out of school.

(3) How to persuade parents to discuss and explore the option of learning without school, and maybe to actually let you pursue an alternative. This is a whole topic in itself, and for many people who hate school, it's really an entire, medium-to-long-term project. If not embraced as a real project that involves lots of research, asking questions, and a whole series of conversations with family, the chances of leaving school are much lower. Also, this isn't just about conversations, but finding or helping launch alternatives like Liberated Learners centers that provide the perceived benefits of school, in a form that's based on you taking complete charge of your learning and life.

I think one part of the kit, at least in its online form, needs to be a number of videos like TED/TEDx talks and personal accounts of those who are surviving and thriving without school, critiques of factory-model education, and the like. The online and physical versions could also include a number of additional books, though for the physical kit, there's the question of how many books and which ones are most essential.

One option is actually to produce a few different versions of the kit; like one focused on surviving school and doing one's best to learn beyond it and figure out life when escape doesn't seem possible... a.k.a., "make the most of it, things will get better."

Another could then really be focused on supporting those who want to make a project of convincing their parents, attempting to transform their schools or help launch learning centers, connect with others and share their experiences, and the like.

Ideas?

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Post: #22
Research project - school survival kit

If your still working on this some kind of discreet audio recorder would be useful for evidence of being told off over something you didn't do, I.e a way to show your parents that the teacher is being unfair.

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere" - Voltaire

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

"If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." - George Orwell

"Education is a system of imposed ignorance." - Noam Chomsky

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Post: #23
Research project - school survival kit

Prankster's suggestion is a really important, I think. I've had many instances, mainly with a particular substitute teacher, where a hidden recording device would have provided evidence of her corruption. The first time I had ever dealt with her, she voiced displeasure that I typed my assignments. With a simple complaint to the school administration, I thought that everything would be alright. They said they'd brief her on my needs. (Writing, like with a pencil and everything, is painful for me.) The next time she came, which by the way was several months later, she was nearly yelling at us, specifying a list of banned activities with no exceptions, amongst the items being typing and drawing. I spent fifteen minutes doing absolutely nothing, until she started to to hover by me and watch me, at which point I asked to use the bathroom. I'm surprised she said yes. I just waited it out in the courtyard until it was time for the next class.
02-22-2016 09:14 AM
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