This course is currently accepting registrations for our spring 2023 classes which will be held from February 10th through March 31st. We are in our extended registration grace period through February 1st, so you are still welcome to join!

Our Liberatory Education Class is an opportunity for teachers, facilitators, and leaders to learn more liberatory pedagogy and hold more engaging, dynamic, inclusive, and equitable learning spaces.

This six-week course has been designed and developed in community and collaboration with teachers, educators, students, facilitators, and teacher trainers to answer the question, how do you design spaces that are conducive to participatory education? Facilitating learning spaces that balance freedom, self determination, access, and harm response can be a challenge, but educational environments can and should be pivotal in practicing liberation together.

Our curriculum is rooted in the real world experiences of educators and community facilitators, and models how we hold space, and how we take care of ourselves while teaching. Through scenario analysis, peer sharing, practicing tools, and historical analysis of education and care fields, together we will explore how to equitably use our power, practice consent, and sustain ourselves in what can be both nourishing and draining work.

This course is designed around the idea of choice and freedom - this means that each week's content includes a variety of modes of engagement, and enough content to return to for the entire year you have access. This course has twice the amount of content as our other 6 week courses, so we do not recommend taking this alongside another course on our platform at the same time. Since each week has two modules of content, we encourage you to commit to checking out two resources each week during the initial 6 week course arc, then if you like what you saw and want more we will send you monthly emails for the next 6 months to return to each topic and dig deeper.

We provide a variety of supports for folks with different learning styles to engage in the content the way that aligns with their needs and interests, this includes providing a print workbook, 1:1 coaching, reflection and discussion questions to bring to your community, alongside the weekly platform multi-media content.

Alumni Reflection: "'Everything Worthwhile Is Done With Other People.' It meant a lot to read this Mariame Kaba quote; but to actually process this in community, to actually do the work with others, and to move forward with all this with other people, that's the difference between knowing the path and walking the path"

Course Details

Pairs + Pods: Because we believe in dialogue based learning, self reflection, peer support, and integrating what you are learning into your life, we ask that everyone who participate do so with a buddy or group. Each individual within your group will register individually, however we will ask you to share who your buddy or group is with us during orientation before the course kicks off. If you do not have a buddy or group to sign up with, there will be space in an intake survey to indicate that you would like to be paired with another solo learner to support one another. Groups of six (6) or more signing up together get a facilitated opening and closing live session with Spring Up facilitators; if your group has 6 or more participants please email [email protected] letting us know your group size and which course you want to sign up for so we can coordinate. You can also request an invoice if your organization is paying for you as a group.

Orientation: When you register for the course you will receive an email detailing all of the next steps including confirming your address so we can ship your welcome package, letting us know who your buddy or group is, and a worksheet to plan out your term. The week before our course starts (February 6th - 10th) is welcome week. During this week we will share the calendars to sign up for coaching, answer to frequently asked questions about the platform and experience, and a safety and care plan to start mapping how you will care for yourself throughout the course term and beyond.

Platform Content + Discussion: Each Friday two new modules of content will post for you to review over the following week, with the first set of modules posting on Friday February 10th and the final modules posting on March 17th. An email will go out every Friday informing you of the updated content including an overview of the core ideas and resources, content warnings, and guidance on how to pick which resource to dive into based on time capacity and interest. Each module of content starts with an optional grounding exercise, then shares 1-2 core resources (usually a video and/or short essay), followed by a tool or practice alongside reflection and discussion questions you can bring back to your buddy or group. At the end of each module for each week there is a list of optional resources to dive deeper into the content including essays (with accompanying audio recordings of our team reading hem aloud), podcasts, webinars, and comic strips. Underneath each section of content there is space for participants and Spring Up coaches to engage with one another by sharing reflections, posing questions, and connecting with other students. Participants retain access to this content for a year.

  • Week 1: The first two modules explore what oppression looks like in educational environments, as well as how to respond to harm. Together we map out how binary thinking, perfectionism, ableism, top down education, and punishment undermine learning, and how facilitators and teachers can design for accessibility, and incorporate restorative justice and harm reduction strategies to prevent and respond to violence within their spaces.
  • Week 2: The second two modules explore our design principle of "from the edges to the center" unpacking how we can center learner agency through consent and participation. Together we map out who is usually centered and who is usually marginalized in our spaces, and what we can do to shift these power dynamics in collaboration with learners.
  • Week 3: The next two modules explore how our approaches to conflict are shaped by our identities and what is necessary to see conflict as a generative force, rather than destructive. Together we explore fictional stories in order to workshop strategies for intervention rooted in realistic scenarios.
  • Week 4: The next two modules explore the topics of nonbinary thinking and invisible labor, inviting us to follow the lead of queer and trans folks in embracing nuance, complexity, and self-evolution. Together we unpack the invisible labor of teaching and facilitation, mapping out emotional labor and mental checklists that contribute to burnout and inequitable distribution of labor along race and gender lines.
  • Week 5: These two modules dig into burnout and sustainability, untangling the contributing factors of burnout including demoralization and trauma exposure, and sharing tools and mindsets to be able to continue doing this work for the long haul.
  • Week 6: The final two modules ground us in the wisdom of our bodies and the importance of play as we collectively envision what liberatory education means and what our next steps are to implement what we learned.
  • Once the 6 weeks are over, the next 6 months are your second opportunity to dig into this content as we share monthly prompts going through the modules on a slower cadence.

Workbook: In addition to the weekly content posted on this platform, you will receive a print Liberatory Education Workbook in the mail. This workbook is a physical space to keep track of your ideas and engage with the core learning from the entire course.

Live Spaces: In addition to the asynchronous discussion space under the content on the platform, we also offer two types of live facilitated spaces throughout the term. Mixers are spaces to connect with other participants and alumni, play games, and discuss your intentions and takeaways. There is no required prework for mixers since they include participants from all bluelight academy courses, and the final mixer of the term includes alumni from previous years and terms at bluelight academy. Mixers are held the week before courses begin, and the week after course content completes. Office Hours are course specific spaces to unpack and reflect on course content. Each course has office hours with Spring Up coaches during week 3 and week 6. Specific times and dates will be shared in January.

Coaching: Registration for this course includes two 1:1 coaching session with our coaches. Spring Up coaches provide coaching, peer support, and resource sharing to help clients meet their personal goals. Our collaborative approach to coaching is based in a non-hierarchical relationship that is solution focused — coaches recognize that clients are experts in their own lived experience. Coaching is strengths-based and culturally specific in that coaches help the client enhance their inherent strengths, skills, and resources accessible to them. Spring Up coaching has an expectation that the client is ready to engage in further learning and implementation of that learning outside of the session. Your first included coaching session must be used by March 31st, the second can be used within the next 6 months as you continue to have access to the content and implement what you learned.

Reflection: At the end of the 6 weeks you are invited to submit a reflection on your experience, this is totally optional. If you are open to sharing your reflection with other course participants, your reflection will be integrated into the course content. We invite all sorts of reflections but particularly love creative pieces including music, planting a seed, artwork, written or video affirmations and intentions.

Alumni Reflection: I’m currently taking spring up’s liberatory education course from bluelight academy and really appreciate all of the learning! It’s been such good timing! My colleague and friend is doing it with me and we’ve gotten a lot out of it. A lot of validation for our facilitation practices but also things to adjust. It’s so values aligned especially in spaces where we try to convene institutional and community leaders…I also had THE best coaching session and it was so nourishing and exactly what I needed in this moment for myself.

Pricing + Scholarships

This course is offered at a sliding scale between $400 and $600 per person. The actual cost is $500. This course costs more than our other 2 six week courses because it includes twice the content, as well as two coaching sessions rather than one (a $200 value). We are not a nonprofit, we are a network of practitioners who do this work balanced with other commitments and grassroots support makes this work sustainable for us.

If you would need a scholarship to be able to participate please email [email protected] with the subject "scholarship" - scholarships are available upon request. Please propose what you would comfortably be able to pay in your scholarship request - no need to explain your circumstances. The minimum payment is $125 to cover materials and shipment, and a coaching session.

If international students incur unforeseen taxes or fees for participating, they can request reimbursement for those fees by also emailing [email protected], with the subject "reimbursement." Although our team is based in the United States, we welcome participants from around the world and have alumni from numerous countries.



Access

Our virtual learning experience is designed to align with a diversity of learning styles. We offer readings as well as videos, somatic exercises, podcasts and journal prompts. There are spaces for reflection, for discussion and for connecting, be it through our buddy system, our virtual discussion board, or coaching. A worksheet to support in executive functioning and planning is shared during welcome week that details all of the options for engagement with spaces to map out your plan for what to do and on what timeframe, this worksheet can also be done in partnership with a Spring Up coach to get additional support in executive functioning.

In terms of platform content, videos are all captioned and can be listened to. For videos that we make, we read off any text that shows up in that video. All of the readings and articles on our platform have audio recordings of the text. Most of them are accessible to screen readers but some of them, like embedded pdf workbooks, might be less accessible.  If you need a different version of a reading, email [email protected] or leave a comment requesting the information you need and we will do our best to meet that need.

All live spaces are on zoom and include closed captioning. Live spaces tend to be scheduled in US timezone evenings during the week. 1:1 Coaching is more flexible with times available on coaches calendars at various times and days of the week for you to select from.

If you would prefer to receive coaching in Spanish, email [email protected] requesting coaching for the TJ course in Spanish. At this time our content and resources are all in English - we are working on a translation of our workbooks to Spanish in 2023. You can request translation to other languages by emailing [email protected], with the subject "translation."

Alumni Reflection: The content is amazing, I have enjoyed the reflective conversations this has inspired with my buddy and other people in my life. I appreciate the pace of the course and the wide variety of resources shared.

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The Team

Spring Up is a collective of care workers, transformative justice practitioners, liberatory educators, and coaches practicing and teaching the liberatory arts here at bluelight academy. We cultivate a culture of consent and liberty for all through storytelling and popular education.

Curriculum Designers: The lead designers for this course are Spring Up co-founders and co-directors Stas (they/them) aka the imaginatrix, and Leander "Lea" (they/he) aka the mythematician. Stas is a nonbinary BlaQ Italian storyteller, and Leander is a transmasculine European American facilitator and lifelong learner.

We are a couple that has been in relationship, collaborating and healing together for the past 10 years. You will see us in videos, get to read essays we wrote on this topic, and get access to worksheets and tools that we developed in community over the past 10 years. This course comes out of our personal and professional experiences facilitating, holding space, and practicing liberatory education. We have held learning spaces with thousands of adults and young people including in universities, work places, community learning and leadership programs, K-12 schools, youth diversion programs, and conferences. This content is rooted in our formal and informal study and lived experience of pedagogy, identity, and structural/ historical systems of oppression as well as liberatory practices. As organizers, educators, and consultants the two of us have worked with(in) dozens of organizations and communities around the country and in Europe.

The wisdom and tools we share throughout this course came out of long conversations filled with laughter, tears, and anger, long nights reflecting on hard truths, mistakes and harm we have faced in ourselves and our loved ones, and spaces to imagine, create, and play with abolitionist and anti-violence comrades. These are practices that have worked for us and the people we have trained and coached, and we are so excited to hear about practices that have surfaced in your life.

Coaches: Your coaches this term include rj (he/him), Juli (they/them), and Britt (they/them)

  • rj (he/him) is a Black cisgendered father and educator raised in occupied Osage Land (or St. Louis, MO). He fell in love with the pursuit of liberation through education after teaching high school math and then training teachers at Miami-Dade County Public Schools. He is committed to increasing access to different spaces and is always pushing for new forms of inclusivity and belonging. rj has a lot of interests (sports, music, puzzles [jigsaw, brain, logic, word, etc.], cooking and chilis, finding new interests, etc.) and loves to talk to them about anyone who shares a common bond. He lives a nomadic lifestyle (currently in Maryland) with partner Kelli, twins Kai and Jordan, and pup Yadi.
  • Juli (they/them) is a mixed, queer femme who walks the red road, born amongst the sacred mountains and rivers of the Northern Andes Mountains located in so-called Colombia and currently living in their second home, Massachusett, Wampanoag, Pongapoag, Nipmuck, and Black Liberator land (so-called Boston, Ma). A deep feeler, lover, systems thinker, and dreamer, my path has involved serving community as an educator, facilitator, healing artist, restorative justice practitioner, certified trauma-informed yoga and meditation instructor, life coach, personal trainer, astrology student, and budding herbalist. I hold onto the deep belief (and practice) that our bodies are our roadmaps to liberation, serving as compasses for alignment with our wiser selves, with those parts of us that are of this land, tapped into the magic and wisdom of our ancestors and all of our relations.
  • Brittany (they/britt) is a mixed queer artist and community organizer living in the occupied Tongva lands of Los Angeles. They focus on healing justice for survivors, popular education, pleasure activism, land rematriation, ancestral circular economies, DIY mental health and mutual aid efforts beyond borders. Britt believes that embodied and restorative practices guide people towards unlocking their own power, fueling collective dreaming, and pushing us towards freedom. In their free time, they celebrates music on their dublab radio show, Discoteca 3ala Mars. 


Alumni Reflection: this course has provided me with so many beautiful deeper perspectives on lots of reading and research and conversations I've experienced in other places in my life and work over the last several years. Without fail Stas and Leander adding in their context or take on the quotes shared in webinar sessions and the insights from others in the course is always a fresh and deeper take than I've gotten elsewhere and I'm so grateful for that community