Koulu School is going to Burning Man and beyOnd

Everyone has something to teach and everyone is excited to learn. This is the basic thought behind Koulu School. The mission of Koulu School is to make education more accessible in low-infrastructure and low-resource environments by promoting the skill of peer-learning. And of course, to spread the joy of learning and teaching. 

In Koulu School, anyone can teach anything – a skill based on a hobby, something they love, an activity they have been doing a lot, or something they are in the process of learning. Koulu School is based on simple five-finger method that turns a skill into a full-blown lesson. Indeed, the new teachers can be trained in less than an hour – and have the school up and running in no time.

Despite its simplicity, Koulu School is backed by theories on learning. First, enthusiasm is catchy and people learn best from someone, who is excited. Second, people who are themselves also in the process of learning are best teachers. That way, those who teach can tell about what learning feels like – what’s difficult, what’s easy, and so on. Moreover, a successful learning experience is made up of doing together, inspiration, fun, and creativity – the main ingredients of Koulu School.

First Koulu School was organized in 2012 with more than 700 students attending classes run by 200 peer-teachers. List of topics was diverse; Ukulele playing, Socratic dialogues, open fire barbeques, swimming techniques, stay-home fathering, lace making, map drawing, empathy, and many more.  After this, the peer-learning concept has been applied and further developed in schools and universities as well as in a variety of events, most recently in Borderland festival. 

Burning Man and beyond

The mission of Koulu School is to spread education where it is needed the most by developing a teacher training system that is simple and easy to disseminate. In the future, growing number of people will be living in temporary dwellings in low-infrastructure and low-resource conditions and with no access to traditional education. Koulu teacher training is low-tech and scalable, and that is why it can be easily applied in these challenging environments such as refugee camps and slums. 

We are embarking this journey in Burning Man, where the Koulu School concept is piloted. To do this, we are organizing a week-long peer-learning festival during Burning Man. In our Koulu on Fire guild space located on the main playa, you can become a teacher and gift your skills to others – or come and join the classes to learn new skills. 

Later this year, with the learnings and experiences from Black Rock City, we will, then start spreading Koulu School around the globe. To do this we are cooperating with the largest Finnish organisation for development cooperation Finn Church Aid and Finnish Teachers without Borders network - and maybe you, too!

Please come and join us in the Koulu on Fire Guild space on the piazza at the Man Base at 9:00! Koulu School is open from Monday to Friday, 10 AM-2 PM and 7 PM-10 PM