Ahh! We have a story on us! So exciting!
Larry Mullin, a high school history teacher, has been giving a lesson on American history and government at “People’s Collective University” for two weeks.
“I’ve been teaching history for 19 years,” he said, “I was thinking about different ways to get involved and when they said education committee, I’m a teacher so it seemed to me a natural thing to teach classes here.”
He said although listeners came with different levels of education, his class was offering a lot of people new things. Some people had never learned what he taught there before and some took it as a good review.
“Even if you have already known all of it, I think we still have some pretty good discussions,” he said.
Mullin himself went to classes there, too. He said he learned a tremendous amount in a class on Troy Davis’ execution and capital punishment.
About seven or eight teachers gave lessons regularly at the tent to the north of City Hall on all kinds of topics such as economics, history, politics and even a workshop teaching people to build their own solar system.
All the teachers and organizers working at “People’s Collective University” were unpaid volunteers, and “enrollment” was free for everyone.
“The university was started kind of between a conversation,” said Carina Clemente, one of the organizers. “We were talking about that it was interesting that people having similar concerns but probably different ideas finally come together, but no one was really sharing ideas. So we came up with the idea.”
The university had a full schedule of classes on Saturdays and Sundays, and offered one or two classes on weekdays.
According to Clemente, the feedback was quite positive. The tent is usually full on weekends with more than 20 people listening, and many people hoped they could offer more classes.
“It’s a good choice for people who cannot afford to go to colleges and universities, and we have translators for those whose English skills are not good enough,” she said.
She said teaching credentials were not required, as long as people could prove that they had the expertise and experience: a bachelor degree, a master degree, or several years working experience were all acceptable.
“I’m not worried about if teachers have credentials. The lectures were very informative and I learned a lot. I think I’m a critical thinker and I take only what makes sense,” said Matt Johnson, a student at the Occupy L.A. university.