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Episode 170 - Joel Hammon, Creating Liberated Learners (and Teachers)

Joel Hammon is the author of The Teacher Liberation Handbook: How to Leave School and Create a Place Where You and Young People Can Thrive and is co-founder of The Learning Cooperatives, a group of self-directed learning centers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He is also a co-founder of Liberated Learners, an organization dedicated to helping educators create and sustain self-directed learning centers around the world. Joel was a social studies teacher for eleven years in traditional public and private schools. He lives with his family in Langhorne, Pennsylvania


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"As a teacher, you have a lot of authority in some ways or imagined authority, in terms of how you deal with young people. The idea that I definitely know better than you and it is more important what I have for you to do, than what your interests might be. The fact that I could control people's movements down even to like when they could go to the bathroom or not, which outside the context of traditional schooling just really a weird thing. There's just some of those aspects...that is just the nature of the system.

"To be able to step out of that traditional mindset and realize that learning doesn't have to look like school, they are two separate things."

"I would just talk to teachers, if the reasons you went into education and working with young people, if you find that you are at odds with that, on a daily basis. Or if your sense of "how to" correctly and properly support young people is at odd with what you do and you want to try something different. Really look into creating something like this, it is way easier than you think, it is something you can do.

"For me, it is like the stuff we tell our young people, 'Be the captain of your own ship, have an idea of what you want out of your life and then take the steps you need to make that reality.'"

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