Arts & Culture, Mind & Body

Trade School Manila: Barter System for Learning


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Muni on this:

When was the last time you learned something for the first time?

TSMTrade School Manila is an avenue where you can sign up to learn something new without having to devote a lot of money or commit to an entire semester to learn. It is also a place where a lot of great learning can happen from students, and where instructors can experiment with new ways in communicating a message or transferring a skill.

How does it work?

First, wannabe Trade School Manila teachers sign up to teach a class that they feel is of value, whether it be playing an instrument, investing, dancing, making presentations, building one’s brand, or for my classes, finding your spark & turning ideas into action, and “greenifying” your lifestyle.

The teacher then lists a number of things they’d like in return for teaching a class, making it easy and economical enough for students to “pay” for the class. Barter items can include books, travel essentials, or even help in carrying out the teacher’s projects. It doesn’t always have to be an object.

Then, eager learners peruse the Trade School Manila site to find a compelling class and/or teacher, select the barter item they can give, and sign up!

What makes Trade School Manila so awesome?

Unboxed teaching

Because it’s such an open and flexible system, it allow for less traditional ways of teaching “classes”.

In the Kickstarting Your Eco-Friendly Lifestyle workshop that I facilitated last Saturday, it was more of a discussion / support group and also giving the participants a lot of air time to think of solutions for themselves and how they can apply changes in  their own lives.

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Better engagement

Because of the smaller groups, it allows for students to be more participative and get to know each other more as well. Furthermore, because students signed up for the class themselves, and it wasn’t a required course in their academic curriculum, they’re really there because they want to learn.

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Sharing what you love and learning from everyone

The greatest draw of Trade School Manila for me is that it gives people an avenue to share what they want to share with others. You don’t have to have a degree in Education. Anyone can teach, as long as you’ve got the heart and confidence to do so.

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The teaching doesn’t come from just the teachers alone either, as there’s so much to learn in discussions with students as well, and after conducting a class, you can also get feedback from them on how to conduct it better in the future.

Also, I’ve gotten so much (literally, because she practically gave me everything on my barter list) from a particular student (Ella, this is you!), that I feel I may have learned more from her than she has from me, and a book I received from her is a major contributor in bringing me where I am today.

Building a community / support group

The greatest reward for me, however, isn’t so much what happens inside the classroom, but what continues on outside the classroom. It warms my heart when I see that people who’ve attended previous classes have actually picked up something and applied it in their lives, or are pursuing things we had only discussed in class before.

And because specific classes draw in particular people, it increases the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals who you can keep in touch with after the class, and I’ve collaborated on projects with some of my students long after they’d taken a class of mine.

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I don’t think I need to say much else, except really, what are you waiting for? There’s no more excuse not to teach or learn something new when the awesome people of Trade School Manila make it so easy for you.

Sign up for a class, volunteer, or offer your space for this traveling school!

* All photos c/o Ethel Francisco of Trade School Manila

Trade School Manila
Website: www.tradeschool.coop/Manila/class
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TradeSchoolManila
Twitter: www.twitter.com/TradeSchoolMNL

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