History of free learning
Within the Free Culture movement, "free" means "free to distribute and modify creative works". For a "free curriculum", we are concerned with learning resources that are not restricted from being copied and that are available to be modified and used by others as needed. Within the A. S. Neill School of Free Learning, "free learning" also means that learners are free to explore their personal interests while participating in a self-governing learning community.
A. S. Neill
Western education is dominated the "factory" school in which students are grouped according to age and taught a fixed set of materials from traditional textbooks. Students are expected to be passive and nearly identical containers that can be efficiently filled with knowledge as they ride down the factory floor towards graduation. Many educators have rejected the "factory model" of education and they have instead advocated "student-centered models" of education. A. S. Neill created Summerhill School and explored the idea that the school could facilitate the individual growth of each student instead of making the students conform to a "one size fits all" factory school.
A. S. Neill had a deep faith in the innate wisdom of children and trusted that they could do well in life if given the chance to explore their own personal interests and learning goals. "The function of the child is to live his own life - not the life that his anxious parents think he should live." Neill was an advocate of active learning; "one learns to live, not by hearing of other lives, but by living; for words are infinitely less important than acts." This educational philosophy fits well with the Wikiversity "learn by doing" model of education. Wiki technology facilitates collaborative webpage editing. Within Wikiversity, learners are free to explore their own interests by way of collaborative learning projects.
- Educational Choice “on the Side of the Child” by Peter Collopy (2006)
- Free Radicals by Grace Rubenstein and Amy Standen
- Strategies for Unearthing the Genius in Our Students by John D. Lawry
- Summerhill, A Radical Approach to Child Rearing (1960) by A. S. Neill.
- Erich Fromm's Forward to A. S. Neill's Summerhill
- Unschooling and related educational philosophies