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Jennifer Strodl

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Recorded by

Diana Limbach Lempel

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Summary:

Jennifer Wai-Lan Strodl is a radical educator based in the Hudson Valley. In this interview with Diana Limbach Lempel, Strodl describes her life after disbanding the Liberi School, which she founded before Covid and then reimaged as a remote learning school for a year in 2021. Strodl now works at Bard College and for/with a new higher education project that provides free instruction for queer, black, and brown adult learners. She explains in the interview how she feels continuity between this work and her previous work with children, in that she is aligning her education work with her values, "breaking out of conventional and potentially repressive ways of teaching." Early in the interview, she expresses regret and frustration at society for not having focused more intensively (or successfully) on educational reform, when the disruption of the pandemic made "everyone question education." Later, she reflects that there are so many things that are so difficult for schools, teachers, families and children, that "we are still in triage but it's not necessarily being acknowledged. She expresses hope that youth, schools, and communities will be able to find space for the healing work needed to move out of that triage phase, including listening to young people about their experiences. Strodl also discusses the challenges of doing remote learning with young people, causing her to reflect on the importance of trust and the somatic dimensions of teaching. At the end of the interview she thanks the ENP for being a source of hope and connection, as well as a space for educators to share hope and ideas. Her final words were for people who are considering starting their own schools: "Do it, it's really needed."

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Interview language(s):
English
Audio quality:
Medium

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