Fellow spotlight by joe Beeso: Eliana Hudson
Eliana Hudson is a junior at the University of Missouri - Kansas City majoring in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. Her passions, however, are in education and social activism. She is currently researching how to integrate "unschooling" principles, postmodern ideology, active learning, self-directed learning, and anti-oppressive education into the public school classroom.
According to Eliana, “There is no such thing as chaos, it's all how we perceive the situation.” This is clearly exemplified by her self-directed learning and self-taught skills outside the classroom. “I spend a lot of time just browsing academic reports and Wikipedia; before you know it there are a thousand tabs open from following the hyperlinks.”
Eliana believes that all students can achieve some level of self-directed learning and teachers need to emphasize education as a lifelong habit rather than a checklist. The current challenge is to create a sustainable and easy-to-implement model for combining unschooling methods and traditional methods in the classroom. She has begun by observing the models used in alternative schools such as the Academy For Integrated Arts here in Kansas City. In addition, Eliana has been working with the Fight For $15 movement through Stand Up KC to learn how to start and sustain a social movement.
“In order to gain enough support, these educational methods need to start as a social movement, which requires a uniformed and unified message” she says.
Eliana is part of a growing movement in the education sector. Recently, The World Bank has recommended schools begin practicing unschooling methods in the classroom. “To develop these competencies, The World Bank recommends moving away from traditional teaching methods to ones wherein teachers guide students toward a variety of knowledge sources rather than instruction using a single textbook; where students learn by doing, and they learn from each other, not just the teacher."
This international recommendation strengthens Eliana’s case. Her current transition plan is to involve more self-paced learning, dialogue-based lesson plans and collaborative environments stretching across grades, subjects, and teachers.
If you would like to help Eliana on this project, contact her here. She is looking for mentors in unschooling or alternative education, and opportunities to conduct research. Then, come see her present her final plan at Launch Day on July 17.