Guelph Free School Re-opens for 2008/2009

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Written by London for the GFS

The Guelph Free School originated several years ago when a group of Guelph activists gathered together with the idea of making a new, accessible educational alternative. Many of us were disenchanted with the high costs of education and the colonialism and sexism apparent in "higher learning". We wanted to make education about learning, sharing, building, and resisting; we wanted to create a new model of education wherein everyone could have a chance to teach and learn.

The Guelph Free School is free to attend, as well as free and open in the way it's structured. Students are not forced to learn anything or given tests, and teachers/facilitators are seen as resources of knowledge rather than as authoritarian figures. The classes are discussion based, so that everyone can contribute knowledge, experience and expertise.

Classes take place all across Guelph. We try to locate as many as possible in
free, accessible public spaces. Without any real bureaucracy, at our core we're just a group of people who decide to organize, promote and facilitate courses on topics of our choosing. From vegan cooking, to peak oil, to self defense workshops; feminist discussion groups, to homebrewing.

You can access a list of classes over the past few years here: http://www.anarchistu.org/cgi-bin/twiki/view/Guelph/CoursesOffered

The GFS puts out a call-out each semester requesting new class proposals, anyone is welcome to enage! Email with an idea, or outline of your idea, and we can help you find a space and aid in publicizing your class.

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  1. Posted by: itshardtopost on Oct 5, 2008 @ 11:32am

    Yeah, there's so much colonialism apparent in higher education, I agree. You know, last I heard, U of G decided to annex Ethiopia. Sexism too, it's not like there's a clear majority of females enrolled. Oh wait.


    Get over yourselves, you sanctimonious hippies. University campuses are probably the most accepting, un-oppressive places in the country, especially this one.

  2. Posted by: Kris on Oct 5, 2008 @ 7:16pm

    While I agree with "itshardtopost" above me on some of what he/she said, Guelph could definitely benefit from a more discussion based, open learning atmosphere. The same old "midterm, paper, final" way of grading is somewhat ridiculous (only in some Canadian universities like Guelph is a term paper worth up to 45% of your final mark....) nor does it help foster a good teacher-student relationship. How can the professor properly guide learning when he/she has no idea how you think (which comes from constant interaction).
    Guelph campus is totally un-oppressive...oh wait, unless you're part of any religious denomination or wearing advertisements on your shirt.

  3. Posted by: on Oct 5, 2008 @ 9:13pm

    sanctimonious hippies? i had to look that up, and now that i know what it means i'm even more offended.

    uh, the point of the free school isn't to "destroy the system", it's to provide people who want to teach and learn things a free space to do so. lighten up and come to a class.

  4. Posted by: itshardtopost on Oct 7, 2008 @ 1:09am

    Ok, maybe I was a little harsh, but my point stands.

    Here's my take on the GFS. Bias, bias bias. Aside from what could be very useful classes (French, Spanish, Yoga, Drama, and some Woodworking classes I saw from previous semesters) A great deal of classes seem to be politically slanted in one direction, and it's so far to the left that the whole scale might've fallen over in the process. It's undeniable that there will always be some element of political or ideological bias present, there should be an attempt to minimize it to present an objective view of issues. I can't say this is the case from what I've seen of these GFS classes.

    ps brendan, I think your hip hop class actually looks really interesting, kudos for coming up the idea.

  5. Posted by: Katherine on Oct 10, 2008 @ 1:05am

    Ah, how interesting. Oppressive viewpoints (used by itshardtopost) to dismiss the grassroots free school whose existence is inspired by such oppressive commentary.

    Not surprising.

  6. Posted by: Katherine on Oct 10, 2008 @ 1:07am

    As long as oppressive, or even mildly oppressive, or controlled systems (such as universities) exist, there will be a place, cause, and need for its opposite.


  7. Posted by: itshardtopost on Oct 10, 2008 @ 10:03am

    Just because you disagree with what I have to say doesn't make it oppressive.

  8. Posted by: itshardtopost on Oct 10, 2008 @ 10:43am

    I guess its oppressive to believe that extreme left wing bias is present in something, or hey, bias of any kind as long as it criticizes the GFS!

    So, hmm... I think the nature of your classes are biased.

  9. Posted by: Sarah on Oct 14, 2008 @ 11:02pm

    If universities are so oppressive, why do you choose to be involved with one?

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