Category: Workshop

Horizontal Pedagogy

Announcing the Horizontal Pedagogy Fall Campus Campaign! 

Horizontal Pedagogy is going on the road. We’re taking our conversations about politics, power, teaching, and methods to professors and students at universities all over the East Coast.  If you’re interested, send us an email at Here’s the flier that we put up around Bard College this past week:


9/10/2012: SUNY-Purchase, Karen Baird’s Race & Politics course
9/14/2012: Bard College, 1230pm
9/19/2012: Free University @ Madison Square Park, 3-5pm
9/21/2012: Free University @ Madison Square Park, 3-5pm
10/3/2012: Teachers College, Columbia University, Megan Laverty’s Philosophies of Education course
10/4/2012: Teachers College, Columbia University, Student Forum, HM 332, 3pm 10/18/2012: Brecht Forum, 8pm
10/25/2012: SUNY-Purchase, open discussion, 630pm.

To get a sense of what Horizontal Pedagogy might look like, check out this video of an encounter that happened at the 2012 May Day Free University.


As a group/workshop, we’ve experimented with different ways to teach and learn. Initially, we set out to translate OWS “horizontal” consensus practices into educational encounters; in other words, “horizontal pedagogy.” The procedures below are what we have so far. It’s kind of a method for thinking together and learning on the street.

(It should be noted that many many many books, articles, essays, poems, and other texts  from numerous disciplines inform and inspire these procedures. A bibliography is currently on the way.)

As always, we invite comments, questions, concerns, objections, etc.  


Who we are, what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, what we’ve done thus far. Announcements to set expectations, be hospitable: the discussion might not conclude, but it will come to a close. All who wander aren’t lost. We might wander here, but that doesn’t mean we’re lost.



Let’s go around and say our names and something else: how you’re feeling, where you come from, how you got here, something that everyone might not know about you…



We recognize here that most forms of learning require the body be a certain way: sitting, hunched, tensed–generally still. We defend a few minutes at this time to do some kind of movement, reminding us that our bodies are here.



Whether it’s a poem, a shoe, a memory, or a system of pipes–it’s essential to have some kind of interpretable material. At this stage the group examines that material and builds thoughts, feelings, and intentions towards it. This is the text.



We protect this time for questions. Whether its plumbing, orchid care, or Marxist theory–what are the questions about the text/subject matter? What do we want to know? Out of all these questions, what’s the question we can’t not deal with?



This is where we address the question. We don’t know how, exactly, nor where we’ll end up. We may go back and forth, take a wrong turn, “lose time.” But no matter what we’re addressing a question with one another.



Now that we’ve discussed the question, does anyone have any closing thoughts? Though we might not have reached a definite conclusion, have any ideas congealed? Things you picked up along the way? Things you’ll take away?



Here, we discuss the discussion. How’d it go? What was it like? What worked? What didn’t? Also, based on what we just did, plan for next time–what will we discuss next class?



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Tonight (and next week!) at the Discussion Workshop

The plan for tonight was to discuss technique, but–like so much of the learning we do–we ended up talking about something different: the role of the master in education. Below is a bubble diagram of what we talked about. Following one of Sophie Hartounian-Gordon’s ideas about discussion, the center bubble has our “basic question” and ten “follow-up questions” that emerged while discussing it.


At the end of the meeting, we agreed on next week’s theme: Class, Survival, and Learning. Participants are encouraged to comment on this blog post with links to photos, videos, and/or alphabetic text relating to this theme. Before next Thursday, take a look at the comment stream and come ready to discuss!

Technique–Next discussion workshop theme

After a great discussion about gifting, we decided to devote our next discussion workshop to the theme “technique.”

We’re preparing for our March 1 launch of the University, and so we figured it might be a good idea to start putting together materials for a training resource. It’s unclear if this resource is a “teacher training program” or a workshop for learning/studenting.

This much is clear: our university will have an ongoing discussion group that talks about technique and practices for educative experience. We’re starting this week. So everyone’s bringing in any and all information they might have about technique.

Come one, come all!

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“The Gift” — Thursday’s workshop theme

For our ongoing discussion workshop on this Thursday, our group chose to discuss the concept of “the gift.”

Along with a reading about the history of gift-giving, all participants are encouraged to bring (1) a sign that welcomes other atrium occupants into the discussion and (2) something to swap (eg. you have but no longer need like clothes, food, books, CDs, etc).

See you at 8pm this Thursday!