What does it mean to "barter for knowledge"? Is Trade School Free?

Trade School is NOT free, and we try to stay away from that word. We celebrate the fact that bartering gives people an opportunity to explore ideas about value that are separate from money. We believe in the real value and power of non-monetary exchanges. 

“We believe in equal exchange and the power of group collaboration. Barter is not meant to portray ‘haggling’ – it’s about mutual aid, trusting strangers and sharing resources. It’s beginning to move away from money and not just say, it’s either money or free, because we want people to feel obligated to each other.” Caroline Woolard – Trade School NY


How do I sign up to take a class? 

Simply click on the title of the class you want to take at the bottom of our home page. Look at the teacher's barter list (which is listed under "Bring one of the following:") and decide what barter item you will bring or provide. Click the JOIN button, fill out the information and you're done! You'll receive a confirmation email, and a reminder email before class. 


Can I become a teacher? 

Yes! Anyone can pitch an idea or a class. Each of us is full of knowledge, skills, and experiences. The best teachers are those with a bit of passion and enthusiasm.

Our teachers register online to teach a class about something that they're passionate about. They tell us about their background, what they'd like to share with students, and detail the items they are willing to barter. We review the proposal, and then ask teachers to review and agree to our Instructor Guidelines to ensure that the class will be aligned with the Trade School mission and principles of openness and integrity. Once this is complete, we schedule the teacher's class and open its enrollment on our website.

If you are interested in being a teacher you can REGISTER HERE.


What are some examples of Trade School classes?

Trade School runs classes all over the world: they can give you a good idea what people are sharing.

Introduction to Adobe Photoshop 
How to grow food in the city 
Children's book writing, and how to be an editor 
Making usable websites 
How to start a kitchen garden 
How to change the world 
Open Poetry Workshop 
An introduction to Basic Cycle Maintenance 
You versus photography 
Knitting for Beginners 
Revamping furniture


I want to teach - what do I ask my students for? 

The terms of the barter are up to you. We ask our teachers to list up to 10 items that they would accept as an exchange with each student that signs up for their class. If you want to see what other teachers have asked for in the past, check out this list of 100 Items Previously Requested by Trade School Teachers! 


Can I use Trade School for self promotion?

No. The key philosophy of Trade School is that classes are centred on teachers sharing particular skills, ideas or knowledge to a keen group of learners rather than as an avenue for self-promotion by the teachers and organisations involved. With this in mind, we will contact all teachers who are keen to be involved to make sure this is understood and we will also undertake strict checks to ensure this underlying principle of the school is not broken.