Why Does Mutual Aid Belong in the Classroom?
This working group was created by community members who teach in a variety of roles–from home tutors, to public school and home educators, to others working in various instructional capacities outside of the classroom–to address the monumental inequities that exist not-so-far beneath the surface of the foundation of educational systems. Together, we seek to educate the public on the history of education as a corollary to a capitalist system; the ways that widespread inequity is evident within educational systems that are driven by elements such as racism, industrialization and competitive metrics; and how we can work together using mutual aid principles to combat the ongoing and ever-evolving set of challenges that educators face.
Mutual Aid in the Classroom Workshops
Many teachers and parents have felt directionless and unsupported since the Covid pandemic but the underlying issues that caused that have been around much longer. Understanding the challenges that they face, Mutual Morris hosts informative and virtual workshops for parents, teachers, and students. These workshops educate and enable diverse educators, students and parents to understand and apply mutual aid principles into their educational experience. We believe that we can create a more equitable and safe learning environment when we incorporate mutual aid principles into our student-led educational environments.
- What is mutual aid, and how do we support and organize in Black and Brown, queer, and poor communities?
- What are mutual aid practices and why are they an essential part of a quality learning environment?
- Anti-racism and disability justice movements that expand solidarity and meet the needs of the community.
- Stories from teachers and students about the impact mutual aid practices had on their classroom and learning process.
Group member and co-presenter Meagan DeJong, university professor and homeschooling parent emphasized that, “This workshop comes at a critical time when parents and educators are feeling directionless and in many cases, unsupported throughout the ongoing pandemic. By incorporating mutual aid principles in the classroom and in our lives in a broader sense, we can find a path forward that fosters empathy, equity, and growth. Those qualities are essential to any quality learning environment and to our collective futures.”
Specialized Topics & Looking Ahead
Two special sessions of Mutual Aid in the Classroom are planned for February and March, with the foundational presentation reappearing in April. These unique sessions are meant to offer a deeper and more specialized approach and potential solutions to specific, current issues in education and are offered by educators with direct experience in the fields being discussed. We encourage community members to offer suggestions for future sessions based on their own interests, concerns or questions, and experiences.
Friday, February 10th at 6 pm: Student-Centered Learning, facilitated by Meagan DeJong: “Student-led learning” is probably a phrase that’s familiar to those working in educational spaces, but what does it really mean beyond theory into practice? Although this phrase has been used as jargon by administrators who seek good optics for their district, the reality is that it is rarely (if ever) implemented within traditional classroom settings. This session will explore why student-centered learning can be so challenging to achieve (spoiler alert: the system does not value or encourage individualized learning!), how we can grapple with that history, and how we can create revolutionary spaces where learning meets agency and empowerment. Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0udumurjkiGdP-Ka-2c4evCMvbVIoL_OpM
Friday, March 10th at 6 pm: Disability Justice, facilitated by Renee Shalhoub: Disability justice is an issue that affects all of us. When disabled people’s needs are minimized or ignored, we all must show support in our words and actions. We can do that within the public school system but it would be more effective and impactful if we also build non-hierarchical equitable power outside the system. In this discussion, we will share stories, resources and brainstorm actions to transform our learning environments.
Unless we address the beginning of insidious conditioning in educational systems that promotes competition rather than collaboration, we cannot hope to encourage the widespread compassion and radical empathy that is foundational to the principles of Mutual Aid work. Educational spaces can be filled with hope and possibility through revolutionary practice, and the Mutual Aid in Education working group seeks to create space for that change to occur.
Email Mutual Morris to learn more about upcoming workshops: firstname.lastname@example.org