snippets of mind travels

Here are a few snippets from the places my mind has traveled in a day.

ONE: a bit from Ron Miller

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.

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4 thoughts on “snippets of mind travels

  1. Thank you for these quotes: very revealing.

    What you said about a *family*’s education is so right. I see it every day as my daughter and I learn together. We read together – three-letter-words – and then I’m the “teacher”, but then she tells me all about death and Pooh and the stories she makes up and she is the teacher, and more than often we are both the students, of nature, of life, of family life.

    Amie is in a great preschool now (Montessori), and she will be for another year. After that it looks like we’re going the public school route. It sits badly with me but I’ll give it a try, see how she does, and *feels*.

    Questioning and innovating teachers like you should hurry up, please, and change the system, quickly! 🙂

  2. funny. i’ve been reviewing my interview results with school district staff and have also been shaking my head about tests and perscribed curricula that leave no room for science, let alone love….. i, myself, am in love with this worldview that melds us with each other and our surroundings. i practically tear up when i watch my children still in this place. can we preserve this? hmmmmm…. perhaps if we can maintain our intention.

  3. Yes..how different these two really are. And the fact that you live a piece of each gives it such a great perspectrium. To be aware is one thing, but to consciously act in the direction that we know is better for our children, better for familes is another. It seems most people agree..but let all the other parts of there life lead not allowing to follow in the feeling of there heart..what a journey this all really is..to learn, live, and do it all over again!

  4. wow. agreed – those two places couldn’t be more different.

    i, too, feel so lucky to be able to pursue the exact kind of learning i want for my children.

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