Alternative Learning and Educational Change

See Also:

All Alternative Education Resources
Films, Videos, and Other Media on Education
Private Schools: Alternative Education
Public Schools: Charter and Alternative
School Choices and Types List

AERO Alternative Education Resource Organization
Promotes student-driven, learner-centered approaches to education, including Montessori, Waldorf (Steiner), Choice, Democratic, Homeschool, Open, Charter, Free, Sudbury, Holistic, Virtual, Magnet, Early Childhood, Reggio Emilia, Indigo, Krishnamurti, Quaker, Libertarian, Independent, Progressive, Community, Cooperative, and Unschooling.

Watch AERO videos on education topics and events (including democratic education foundations, AERO workshops and speakers, and documentaries on alternative schooling.)  Click here to view.

Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method
Read about this method and access articles and other resources. Click on ‘home’ to get the link for the foundation.

ALPS Active Learning Practice for Schools
Electronic community working to improve and advance educational instruction and practice. Offers an on-line collaborative environment between teachers and administrators from around the world, with curriculum designers at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

Alternative Schools Nationwide List

Big Picture Schools
Originally focusing on helping minority and disadvantaged students, these schools aim to help students learn how to learn with 5 main goals: empirical reasoning, quantitative reasoning, communication, social reasoning, and personal qualities.  Every school has an independent education plan for each student, which includes the family and community, a mentor, and a teacher on board to support learning.
Find a Big Picture School:

Brain Connection
Blogs, interviews, conference info, brain info basics and facts, brain games, books and websites links, and related articles about the brain.

“The Brain that Changes Itself”
Info on the book and documentary by the same name, as well as FAQ’s that give resources for programs, physicians, and other info about neuroplasicity – the ability for the brain to change its own structure and function, even into old age.

California Department of Charter Schools

Charter Schools Development Center
Center encourages schools to be more creative and performance-based by providing technical assistance to the charter school reform movement in California, nationally, and internationally.

Children and Nature Network
Encourages and supports organizations working nationally and internationally to reconnect children with nature and provides a link between researchers and individuals, educators and organizations working to improve children’s health and well-being.

Community Day Schools – California Department of Education
Information on public school programs serving mandatory and other expelled students, students referred by a School Attendance Review Board, and other high-risk youths.

Creative Learning
The Center for Creative Learning offers a variety of publications, training programs, information support, and consulting services on creativity, Creative Problem Solving, talent development, and learning styles.

Education Next
Articles, blog, and free online journal about educational trends, the future of education, and topics such as ‘No Child Left Behind,” Special Education, and Testing and Accountability, all under 3 main subject areas of Government and Politics, School Policy, and ‘Inside Schools.’

Offers exchange of information for” ideal, interactive learning environments” and works to “enable others to adapt these successes locally.”   The site contains an archive of continually updated ‘best practices;’ practical, hands-on advice; real-world examples; video documentaries about educational change; and contributions of ‘tips and tools’ from practitioners.

Experiential Learning and Experiential Education
Philosophy, theory, practice, information, and related links on learning through experiences.

Fair Test
Offers newsletters, Info on NCLB, testing controversy, networking, and lists of schools which do not require SAT/ACT tests for admission.

Forest Schools
A nature based program for young children (and sometimes other age groups) who spend from 1 day a week to 5 days a week outdoors, with the philosophy that this helps develope social skills, problem-solving, and academic skills through play and experiences in the natural setting.

Froebel Foundation USA – ‘Kindergarten Educational Model’
Find out about this philosophy of learning, emphasizing purposeful play, fostered by a ‘prepared’ environment.

How do Schools Wound?  by Peter Gray Kirsten Olson
Explores Kirsten Olson’s work on five main ways that schools “wound” the learner – for long after they are out of school.

IDEA (Institute for Democratic Education in America)
Offers membership to those opposed to a “standardized, high-stakes, and de-personalized approach” to education and promotes the premise that “every young person is unique, and that all young people ought to have the opportunity to live and learn in an environment that practices meaningful participation, that supports self-initiative in learning, and that is directed towards greater equality and social justice.”   Members organize and consult to create a collaborative network on education change.

Indigo Child Compatible Schools List

Institutes for Human Potential
Information and courses offered for parents in helping typical and brain-injured young children accelerate their learning.

John Holt and Growing Without Schooling
Information on John Holt’s theories, his books about the natural process of learning in children and how to support it. There are sections on homeschooling and unschooling as well as a consultation link.

Alfie Kohn – Educational Change
Access books, articles, and video about Alfie Kohn’s educational change views, which illustrate how reward/punishment based classrooms are detrimental to real learning

Alfie Kohn on ‘Take Back our Schools’ from Education Week Teacher

Last Child in the Woods – by Richard Louv
Book which coined the words ‘nature-deficit disorder’ as a condition that has affected children who lack exposure to nature and may be at the core of AD/HD and a deficit within our educational settings.

Learn In Freedom
Promotes taking responsibility for, and initiative in, one’s own learning.

“Let Kids Rule the School” – Article by Susan Engel
Reports on a project where high school students took charge of their own education within the school, demonstrating “the kinds of learning and personal growth that are possible when teenagers feel ownership of their high school experience, when they learn things that matter to them and when they learn together.”

Mindful Schools
“A non-profit organization that offers in-class instruction for children, a complete multi-level training program for adults, and other resources to support mindfulness in education.”  The program uses a technique based on the work by Jon Kabat-Zinn called mindfulness to “teach concentration, attention, conflict resolution, and empathy to children and teachers in schools, most of which serve predominantly low-income children.”

“Mindset” (Book and Website by Carol Dweck)
Find info about the concept of mindset, the book, talent and how parents can help their children succeed (applications to sports, relationships and business) as well as links to articles

Montessori – The International Montessori Index
Find information on this educational method, centers, training, materials, organizations and resources.

National Charter School Resource Center
Find information, educational research, webinars, events, grants, focus topics, and other resources for charter school development.

New Village Journal: Resources for Community Based Alternative Education
List of organizations which promote community based education alternatives.

Out of Our Minds by Sir Ken Robinson
Updated book “looks in more depth at why the need to develop our natural talents – especially creativity – is so pressing; at how organizations and education tend to stifle them in the first place and what they can do to promote them, as well as to help people to understand the depth of their creative abilities and why they might have doubted them; and to encourage organizations to believe in their powers of innovation and to create the conditions where they will flourish; and to promote a creative revolution in education.”

Paths of Learning
An Introduction to Educational Alternatives by Robin Ann Martin November 2000
Article discusses the different types of schools and educational methods, focusing on alternative schools (including programs and philosophies such as open schools, democratic and free schools, Quaker Schools, Montessori, and homeschooling/unschooling) and describing methods (cooperative, character education, experiential, etc.)

Rethinking Schools
“Committed to equity and to the vision that public education is central to the creation of a humane, caring, multiracial democracy.”  Offers online and print magazines, conferences, trainings, and information about school issues and building a social justice education movement.

Throughout its history, Rethinking Schools has tried to balance classroom practice and educational theory. It is an activist publication, with articles written by and for teachers, parents, and students

School Choices for Parents – U.S. Department of Education
Government site for parents to find information on school choices, alternative programs (including Supplemental Educational Services, Charter Schools, Magnet Schools, Private Education, Homeschooling) as well as options for families whose children attend a Title 1 school which has been identified for improvement and wish to transfer to another school.

Self-Directed Learning – article by ERIC (Education Resources Information Center)
Explains self-directed learning features, benefits, and how teachers can support self-directed learning.

Sudbury Valley School
Learn about this model of student-initiated and democratic learning, locate other Sudbury model schools, and purchase books and DVD’s.

TED Talks on Education
Choose from about 100 short videos from the well-known TED website, with speakers like Sir Ken Robinson (speaking about killing creativity in schools) AnnMarie Thomas explaining how to make ‘squishy circuits for toddlers’ and Bill Gates on ‘Mosquitos, Malaria and Education.’

“Tools of the Mind” – Metropolitan State College of Denver
Information on the early learning program which focuses on teaching pre-schoolers certain developmentally appropriate ‘mind tools’ which help them learn to ‘self-regulate’ their behavior and better prepares them for success in learning, school, and life.

Towards Learning Creatively
Resources for assessment theory, case studies, and staff development regarding alternative methods of assessing work by students with disabilities at the high school and college levels.

US Charter Schools
Learn about charter schools and the movement, find info about your state charter schools, or find out how to start a charter school.

With a Thiel grant, Dale Stephens has started a movement for ‘unschooling’ college, which can include ‘learning by doing’ or real-life learning, as well as other types of learning, along with de-emphasizing traditional classroom learning in colleges.

See a video with Dale speaking to CNN here

Read an article on CNN here

Waiting for Superman – Social Action Campaign
The campaign {based on the Film with the same name} seeks to build public awareness, ignite personal involvement and inspire real social change.  It’s four core initiatives are: setting academic standards that are on par with the world’s best, recruiting and rewarding great teachers, creating and nurturing excellent schools, and increasing literacy rates.  The film challenges the belief that schools can’t improve, by showing how families can overcome the inequalities in school systems in poor neighborhoods by creating charter school programs with inspired teachers and high standards for students.

The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling
Info on her book, articles, and homeschooling.

The Well – Trained Mind (A Guide to Classical Education)
Information on the book, the theory, curriculum, and homeschooling using WTM, and resources

Why Waldorf Works (Association of Waldorf Schools of Northern America)
Information about Waldorf learning theory, techniques, schools, news and events, and more.