The plan for reading _We Make the Road by Walking_

Our online book club is about to start talking about We Make the Road by Walking.  Plenty of people have indicated interest across social media, from Twitter to Facebook.  So a logical question to ask is, how will we do this?

We Make the Road by Walking Conversations on Education and Social Change Search the full text of this book Search Myles Horton and Paulo Freire, edited by Brenda Bell, John Gaventa and John PetersLet me describe the way our readings have worked over the past few years.  Then let’s see if that works and/or what else you all would like to do.

Usually we agree on a reading schedule, after I propose it and people review it (see below for this one).  The norm is some chunk of reading per week, such as a chapter or two, depending on the writing.  Here I’d like to suggests one chapter a week, except combing the first two, since one is five pages, and also fusing the last two, 5+6, because they’re each short.

Each week I emit a blog post.  Those are loaded up with a summary of the reading, some reflections, and starting questions for discussion.  That gets copied to or announced on other social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+), plus Goodreads (here’s my Road page).  Each blog post shares the same blog tag (/road in this case), so readers can easily find all the posts on that reading.

People then respond in multiple ways.  Some leave comments on my blog posts.  Others write their own blog posts, and WordPress usually recognizes them with a link from mine.  Some take to Twitter or Facebook to respond; I try to wrangle as much of that as possible.

The Schedule: I picked Mondays for convenience, and because it gives the full work week to respond.

November 21, 2016: chapters 1 (“Introduction”) and 2 (“Formative Years”).  People can read front matter beforehand or during this time, or not at all.

November 28: chapter 3, “Ideas”

December 5: chapter 4, “Educational Practice”

December 12: chapters 5 (“Education and Social Change”) and 6 (“Reflections”)

December 19: a followup post looking back on the whole thing.

How does that sound?

Other possible things we can do This strategy is by no means fixed in stone.  It’s what we’ve done over time with previous readings, with different practices emerging along the way.  The blog focus has worked well, since it’s there and linkable for the long term (unlike, say, Facebook), accessible to anyone on the open web, searchable, and organized.

The plan might be too disintegrated. Once I called it the exploded Twitter book club.  Or maybe it should be narrowed down to a simpler format, like a listserv or simply a Twitter hashtag.

Or expanded, to include in addition to the blog…

  1. A dedicated hashtag for Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  2. Videoconference discussions (Google+ Hangout, Skype, Shindig, Zoom, etc).
  3. A podcast, with as many of us as we can wrangle.
  4. A Facebook group (one example, albeit closed) .
  5. A Goodreads group (here’s one example from Emma Watson).
  6. A Google Doc or wiki for notes and reflections (see below for one already started).
  7. f2f meeting for those in the same area.
  8. An email list.
  9. An old school web-based discussion forum.
  10. I could add more posts during the long week between anchor posts.
  11. Slack (suggested by Allison Salisbury)
  12. Other!

I’m flexible and happy to experiment.  I’m also happy to put time into this, as I’ve done in the past.

While you all brood about options, let me start sharing some resources about the book we’re starting to read.


Ben Scragg started up a Google Doc with readings and video.  Check it out, and add to it!

The title is from a Machado poem.  Here’s one text and translation:

Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada más; caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace camino, y al volver la vista atrás se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar. Caminante, no hay camino, sino estelas en la mar.

Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road– Only wakes upon the sea.

Here’s a video of a reading. (thanks to Kate Bowles)

You’ve Got To Move (1985) (IMDB) is a documentary about the Highland School.  I can’t find a copy of the movie, but there’s a trailer on Vimeo:

You Got To Move: Stories of Change in the South from Milestone Film & Video on Vimeo.

(thanks to Ben Scragg for spotting it)

Otherwise… happy reading!  I look forward to your comments.

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14 Responses to The plan for reading _We Make the Road by Walking_

  1. Pingback: cc: @bryanalexander Bill Moyers interviews Myles Horton about his life, Highlander, and his philosophy of education (1981)

  2. I vote for using your blog and a dedicated hashtag on Twitter.

  3. Pingback: We Make the Road by Walking - Chapters 1 & 2

  4. Pingback: We Make the Road by Walking: chapter 3 | Bryan Alexander

  5. Pingback: We Make the Road by Walking - My notes from Chapter 3 #hortonfreire

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  8. Pingback: New blog post: Yearning for Incompleteness. #HortonFreire

  9. Pingback: A look back along the _Road_: people’s work and Bryan’s antiauthoritarianism | Bryan Alexander

  10. Pingback: Reading Horton and Freire into 2017 | Bryan Alexander

  11. Pingback: Yearning for Incompleteness. – Adam Croom

  12. Pingback: We Make the Road by Walking – Chapter 3 – Adam Croom

  13. Pingback: We Make the Road by Walking – Chapters 1 & 2 – Adam Croom

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