School Should Be More Like Camp

Jackie Gerstein, In Our Time: Philosophy, Sept 01, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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This seems so intuitive, and my own experiences at camp were deeply influential on me. So I want to be more like Jackie Gerstein and say "promote the idea that school should be more like camp." And there's so much about camp I love. But.... but.... at camp, relationships are primary (says the chart) but at the camps I went to, relationships were sometimes abusive and occasionally violent. "Multigenerational learning and teaching", for me, sometimes means object lessons in the politics of power. I loved the outdoors, I loved nature - and yet I spent so much of my time in it alone and afraid, hurt, crying and an outcast. Camps are not the happy-go-lucky places described here; they can sometimes be more like Lord of the Flies (so, for that matter, can school). It's easy - far to easy - to idealize things. We should focus on the experiences we want to promote, and not misleading metaphors.

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