Transness.org

Exploring Gender Identity

Alternative Education

on July 13, 2013

Alternative Education as defined by Wikipedia is: “… non-traditional education or educational alternative, includes a number of approaches to teaching and learning separate from what is offered by mainstream or traditional education.”  So today we will look at the options presently available for education in the USA.

As mentioned in the last blog the choices after High School seem limited and include Four Year College, Two Year College or Community College, Trade School or Technical School, Seminary, or small private schools specializing in a specific profession for example The School of Metaphysics.  The term alternative can apply to the methods of learning or to the specific topic of study such as metaphysics.

We focus on an aspect or trend in higher education which I totally embraced in getting my Masters in Education which is still considered as alternative although this is rapidly changing to mainstream.  I speak of online education.  It can take the traditional approach of teacher/student force feeding, directed, memorization or it can take the andragogical approach of facilitated learning, self-direction, and practical application.

How do you best learn?  Are you one who likes to read, watch video, use audio books, or actually get hands on?  Or is it some combination of all these?  Most people are a combination so I strive to offer this in my teachings, although I must admit I am not very good at producing audio or video.  Be this as it may, Podcasting, YouTube, and other online platforms have become largely popular because they engage the learner on a more personal and interactive way.  Frankly if you never have the opportunity to test or apply the principles you are learning then you will not remember them long term and may never fully understand them.

I discovered that a learning program which offers an internship or workshops where the principles are applied in person turn out to be the best.  It really does not matter what you are learning, be it mathematics, computers, art, writing, theology, etc., application is a must.  So how does one do this online?

It is simple really, the course requires projects to be completed and submitted online, for instance art is done and then photographed, and/or videoed and posted.   Something is created and then documented and submitted.  For group projects or activities requiring other students or facilitators local activities can be created or attended.  Skype and other programs are methods of group interaction.  There are exceptions to this, for instance if you are studying oceanography and live in the Midwest travel is required for the hands on portion, just as it would be in Space studies.  Simulations are good and they are definitely used, but at some point one has to actually do that which they are trained for.

All the major Universities and colleges now have online programs, but they use traditional methods for the most part so approach these with caution.  How expensive is the program and how much support do you get for the price?  Are you just buying a diploma?  How important is that piece of paper anyway?  I say it is less important than you think.  Most employers want someone with experience and most schools do not offer this.  Doing your own hands on research into the pathway of your higher education will naturally lead you to the right program.  Here is the recipe for answering this question…

  1. Look within – What excites you?  What do you find yourself returning to over and over?  What are you good at?
  2. Look around you – what are your family and friends doing and how do you feel about it?  What are they good at and have you learned from them?
  3. Now that you have a hypothesis put it to the test by volunteering or otherwise doing just what it is you love.
  4. Connect with others who are doing what you love.  Network through online groups and see what education is required to follow this path you have discovered.  If there is no path you will need to create one, so while this may be more involved it can also be very liberating since you do not have to follow someone else.
  5. Explore each path of higher education carefully.  Question their source and motivations as well as your own while paying attention to how you feel.  Remember fear can be a constructive tool used to warn of problems but not necessarily a message to avoid problems.  There will be challenges so you will probably fail several times before you find something that works well for you.
  6. In the movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, the stars use whatever means available to achieve their goal.  Each form of transportation only took them so far and then they had to find a new way to travel.  This is precisely as life is, your chosen career may only take you so far and then you will have to change.  Getting a sound and broad education is valuable but can also be a trap.  Many people, including myself, could go to college the rest of their lives and be happy.  At some point I must get out and engage the world.  Do what feels right but not necessarily what feels the most comfortable.

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

Unity in Gender Diversity     Free eBooks click here

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: