From Arabic to Qigong
by Dorina S.
Hamilton Freeskool is an OPIRG working group that offers more than your average university curriculum. Working from a foundation of anarchist philosophy, egalitarianism and peace education, this group provides a self-sustaining, anti-oppressive and inclusive environment for learning that doesn’t involve buying doorstopper textbooks. In fact, Hamilton Freeskool’s price tag is in its name, free. With flexible schedules and intriguing course options, it is no wonder that some students are choosing to learn the ancient healing practice of Qigong instead of predrinking at home on a Thursday night. Plant identification, quilting and Spanish are just some of the eclectic options available for university students of all ages, as well as members of the Hamilton community interested in continuing their education.
Hamilton Freeskool promotes a non-hierarchical, participatory and open space where individuals can come together and discuss ways in which they can engage and learn about topics of common interest.
By now you might be asking where can I: Sign up? Get involved? Check out the courses? If you simply want to take a class that doesn’t involve prerequisites or tuition, check out http://www.hamiltonfreeskool.org/courses. Don’t see anything you like? You’re in luck, because Hamilton Freeskool is always looking for new facilitators to teach courses. You can have a weekly, biweekly or even monthly session on anything from exploratory movement to a French talking circle. The best part? You don’t have to be an expert. All you need is a passion for learning and one of the coordinators of this working group can help you set up. Devon Ridge, a facilitator for the Practical Solidarity course and a Freeskool coordinator is constantly working with the freeskool organizer crew to make connections with community members and provide the space and materials required for running all of the available courses.
“We are going to be starting a course on storytelling so we are in the process of helping the facilitator find the space and develop a description that we can post on our website,” she said.
Hamilton Freeskool is currently working on the “beautiful intention of decentralizing” commented Devon. Through her course she has made connections with the Six Nations Solidarity Network which course takers are helping to raise awareness about through their class activities. Further, collaborating with the St. Joseph’s Immigrant Women’s Centre, Freeskool is aiming to offer language courses in order to expand into all areas of Hamilton.
Overall, the idea of Freeskool is catching on and students, as well as members of the community in Hamilton and in other parts of North America, are gathering to learn, share and participate in an inspiring way. Although Hamilton Freeskool is faced with challenges, Devon relishes in her experiences of taking a course on exploratory movement where she could explore all the planes in which her body could move. Although her fellow classmates seemed timid at first, Freeskool is about being “brave together to learn and try new things”.
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