Tuesday, June 8, 2010

West LA free school

Free school is something I became familiar with while living in Santa Cruz. I think it's a great way to develop a richer local community while sharing skills, ideas, and knowledge. The basic premise is that you know how to do something other people might want to learn, we help find a place and time to teach people and we help get people to show up. You won't make any money but you're sure to make friends and will likely become better skilled through teaching.

I spent the morning jotting down some notes on this idea and i'm going to put them here for reference. The bikerowave already acts as a community hub for west LA so it will likely be our head quarters. What this means isn't yet established, at the least I think that those organizing WLAFS will hold meetings at this space. I hope that some of the classes can be held there, especially those bike related and this can only happen if we are able to use the space free of charge (though I would encourage donating to all locations for use of space). Once this space is available as the hub we could seek other potential regular locations such as the rabbit hole or a coffee shop or even public parks or parking lots. The first step is to find a core group that wants to be in charge of getting this project rolling (and later organizing the class schedule). 2nd will be finding instructors willing to teach the classes. 3rd work out schedule and find locations for all proposed classes, 4th print schedule, post on website, and pimp the hell out of it.

The core shall be composed of all willing to do the work at this point, at some point in the future I hope elected board members will take this position.

Classes shall be given priority of space and scheduled time based on the level of service provided to the community, how well outlined the course is in the proposal, the amount of times the class is recurring, and eventually seniority.

I hope to encourage the use of open public spaces for appropriate classes. Classes can be a one time workshop or repeat weekly for any given amount of time. I hope to start with a few work shops this summer to get the ball rolling. Depending in the level of support this can be a summer only project or recur seasonally.

To teach a class, you must submit a proposal which includes a class description as you want it to appear in the catalog. A brief description of what the class will contribute to our community, the duration of the class, any location constraints (if you can secure your own location for this it would be good to include that info), the days and hours you'll be available to teach, and a course outline including the method of your teaching and materials needed.

ALL CLASSES MUST BE FREE, a donation can be requested for instructor and space (of no specified amount). Materials for the class can be offered for a cost but it should be with a minimal or non-existent profit margin and it should be encouraged for students to bring their own materials.

The Core shall make itself available in organizing a class and assisting in problems arising in a class. At some point I would like to require the instructors take a course offered on how to teach a course but that can wait.

I have a ton of course ideas that I'm going to make a huge list of, see if anything interests you or come up with your own idea.

Writer's workshop
DIY sewing
urban foraging
intro to bike repair (should be monthly)
Intro to law
DIY signage
foreign languages of some kind
Intro to city planning...
how to organize a group ride
Intro to 3spd/coaster hubs (i'll teach this)
wheel building 101
A series of riding classes from beginner to specialized
Mounting music to your bike
Making freak bikes
Intro to linux systems (tossing apples out windows)
Self defense on a bike

a whole series of sustainibility
-car free living
-water conservation
-DIY gardening
-composting/ vermiculture
-gifting/sharing/ repurposing
-living plastic free
-Setting up a garden sharing network
-setting up a work trade network.

Fun classes
-finger painting
-fort building
-hula hooping
-nature hikes
-fire dancing

There are a lot of options here, chances are you learned something that you'd thought you'd never use, now you can use it by teaching someone else.