Classbunny: What's it Good For?

June 26, 2016

 

Hello world! At last Classbunny is born. It's been a long gestation. A mountain of twists, turns, distractions and experiences to get here. I know it's going to be a hard slog getting classes up and running and it will take  thousands of hours getting the word out, negotiating favours, exchanges and deals to secure the spaces where classes will happen. Not to mention the reliance on the goodwill of strangers who I have yet to meet and who will help me out and take me by surprise with their generosity. 

 

Classbunny is about people making connections, teaching each other stuff, that can be useful or of no obvious use at all.  It's thrilling.  I am starting classbunny because I just can't not do it!  

 

I have been already running classes for another company for the last two years here in Sydney and have had many years teaching in London and Sydney in Universities. I have taught many hundreds of people, inheriting curricula and devising courses from scratch. Its a blast - but there's one aspect I have always hated, right from day one. Something that never feels good.

 

It's grading students. No educator enjoys passing judgement on people's efforts. Carefully wording responses, assessing and reassessing, Fretting. Who am I to decide how much someone else has taken in?  Or what they have achieved. Especially in the creative arena. That's up to them to decide. Teaching to a set of learning objectives and criteria is just processing.

 

I have always flirted with the idea of informal learning and fantisised years ago about starting a university of pen and paper, stripping away all the extraneous stuff. After all, learning should be a pleasurable compulsion, not a slog.  It's those epiphanies and tiny glimpses of possibility during the drabness of the working week that make learning worthwhile. I think a good class is as much about the day dreaming, the doodling, the gazing out the window as the information that is being transmitted. Authentic learning is about finding your own path and being taken by surprise.  To do or make something for the sheer pleasure of making or doing it. And the best learning maybe about remembering something a teacher once said, 10 or even 20 years earlier that suddenly falls into place and you finally 'get' it.

 

It's one of the sad things about some of our great learning institutions, places like TAFE which has become overtaken by bureaucracy and endless administrative  tasks, constantly evolving systems that need to process every little thing and meet projections to justify the institutions very existence.  It's happening everywhere in traditional education. But there is a push back. The desire to learn is huge at the moment, learning is the new sexy. And technology has ensured we can learn anything, on line, or in person, after work with places like the school of life, or in virtual classrooms with coursera or skillshare.  We can learn now.... just because we feel like it.

 

So classbunny will be a space to explore the informal.  And the social. Sometimes there will be one-off classes to simply make the fun stuff or there maybe a 6 week course in say gaming or screenwriting where you can get on and learn in more depth. No-one will judge you and maybe that thing that you create or that topic you contemplate will lead you onto yet something else and your initial curiosity will blossom into a passion or even a vocation. Classbunny is in its infancy, Who knows how it will evolve and shape itself? That's up to the people who come along to learn  and teach something and share their experiences.

 

 

 

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