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The Next Ragged University Event is next year...

Meantime, make yourself warm and comfortable, enjoy the winter for what you can. Thanks to everyone for supporting the project throughout the year, it would not have been possible without you !!!

Great Educator: Rabindranath Tagore 1861 to 1941

That education is a living, not a mechanical process, is a truth as freely admitted as it is persistently ignored (lecture in Calcutta in 1936 quoted in Dutta and Robinson 1995, page 323)

In 1940 Oxford University awarded an honorary doctorate on Rabindranath Tagore for all of his achievements, including those as an educationalist.  He won the 1913 Nobel Laureate in Literature because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West.  Amongst many things he was a poet, writer, composer, painter, philosopher and educator.

Tagore had an intense dislike for his Calcutta based school education and he did not complete a university degree.  Strangely enough he devoted much of his life to founding and funding a school in 1901 and a university in 1921 at Shantiniketan in a poor region of rural Bengal.  This nuanced man produced the most unorthodox of the educational institutions in twentieth century India and for some fifty years wrote extensively on the nature of education.  One of his most well known works was an essay called A Poet’s School which was published in 1926.  It was in this that he set out to address the skeptics critique which he invoked so widely.  It opens with this passage:

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Authoritarian Schooling

David Gribble

Authoritarian Schooling: A Catalogue of Damage compiled by David Gribble. The subtitle for the site is “A Category of Damage.” A website dedicated thinking about the ‘other side’ of education where institutions cause harm to the individuals who are meant to benefit from learning. Education all too often brings negative experiences to mind – David Gribble talks about these.

Character and Values Conference: The Disorienting Dilemma

Rob Bowden explains why schools are being discussed in context with values at this point of time.  Culturally it is very pertinent as the idea of ‘fundamental values’ has been discussed in education.  He goes on to introduce how the Transformative Learning Theory of a disorienting dilemma was first articulated by Jack Mezirow, and he connects this quite closely to values. Values are what motivate us, they are very personal, and if you are involved in trying to effect change because it is quite personal, it can be quite difficult.

People can resist, there can be tensions and all sorts of things can distract from focusing an, say a common problem which needs everyone’s attention to be dealt with. One of the ways in which you can do this is by presenting people a disorientating dilemma which provides a situation where you are not using persuasion or messaging to try and make that change but you are creating a situation which allows people to self identify that change within their own value set. Read more

Podcast: The Ragged Schools of Angel Meadows by Simon Ward

This is a podcast of when Simon Ward gave a talk on the Ragged Schools of Angel Meadows and Manchester.  In the early 1800s, state contribution to education was less than the amount the government spent on the King’s stables. This talk will look at how The Ragged School movement led to the 1870 Education Act and state funding of universal education.

This is a podcast of Simon Ward talking at the Ragged University where he takes a closer look at two of Manchester’s Ragged Schools. Their fascinating history takes us from basket weaving, badminton and bombs to Suffragettes and Coronation Street. Read more

Incredible Edible

Incredible Edible

Our growing around town is organised by our community growers group.  From our beginnings with herb gardens, we’ve taken to planting and growing veggies and trees round town we’ve planted several orchards and there are more to come, and we’re working with public bodies round town to use their land – like the fire station and the railway station – or to work with them on their own Incredible ideas – like social landlord Pennine Housing.

Every school in the town is now involved in growing with us and we promote food-based learning for the community as a whole.  We’re reaching back into local memories and knowledge with our History project.  Our campaigns aim to make different futures happen, through local campaigns like Every Egg Matters, and by spreading the word locally, regionally and nationally.