Here are a few snippets from the places my mind has traveled in a day.
A holistic education is usually characterized by several core qualities. First, it encourages experiential learning. There is more discussion, questioning, experimentation, and active engagement in a holistic learning environment, and a noticeable absence of grading, testing, labeling, and comparing. Learning is more meaningful and relevant to students—it matters to their lives. Second, personal relationships are considered to be as important as academic subject matter. These learning environments strive to cultivate a sense of community and belonging, and qualities of safety, respect, caring, and even love. Third, there is concern for the interior life, for the feelings, aspirations, ideas and questions that each student brings to the learning process. Education is no longer viewed as the transmission of information; instead it is a journey inward as well as outward into the world. Fourth, holistic education expresses an ecological consciousness; it recognizes that everything in the world exists in context, in relationship to inclusive communities. This involves a deep respect for the integrity of the biosphere, if not a sense of reverence for nature. It is a worldview that embraces diversity, both natural and cultural. Holistic education shuns ideology, categorization, and fixed answers, and instead appreciates the flowing interrelatedness of all life. (Visit here for more like this.)
TWO: a bit from an aspiring mathematics educator
Instructional Setting: The classroom will consist of 20 desks. This means there will be five rows consisting of four desks per row. The desk will all face the front of the classroom facing a dry erase board. At the front of the classroom along with the dry erase board there will be a small desk and an overhead projector. On one of the classroom walls there are two bulletin boards and one bulletin board on the other side that displays concepts that will be covered during the class. For example, this lesson deals with Isosceles Triangles, therefore the bulletin boards will consists of concepts relating to Isosceles Triangles, how to measure them, and theorems that apply to them. There are also 6 computers that line one side of the classroom. The teacher’s desk is located in the back of the classroom. Beside the teacher’s desk is a table that consists of homework folders and class work folders for students. There is also a basket to turn in assignments. There are also supplies on this table such as: pencils, erasers, paper, extra textbooks, handouts, etc., for students to use.
Two very different places, aren’t they? The former is a bit of where we travel as we envision a different foundation for educating our own family. I say family, not children, because we are relearning right along with our boys. The latter is a snippet from my part-time work evaluating lesson plans for a teacher’s college.
My passion for a new view of education is fueled by the stale approach that is at the heart of my “work”. I feel extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to pursue a different path and to travel that path with my family and amazing friends.
My “work” also leaves me feeling incredibly heavy. I want all children to have more than sterile classrooms and sterile curricula and an education where meaning is meaningless.
It gets a little confusing in my head, while at the same time being crystal clear.
May we all be free to examine how we are educating for our future with critical and flexbile minds and with an enduring love for our children, humanity and the earth.