Profile: Shikshantar and Swaraj

Thursday, January, 3, 13 § 2 Comments

What does “school” look like when we throw out the grades, the classes, the teachers (the competition, the tests, the authority from above)? This one-of-a-kind organization in India offers a compelling picture for what learning could be.

Second-year learners from Swaraj University, at a farm outside of Udaipur

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Post 6: Learning Slowed and Spread

Thursday, September, 20, 12 § 3 Comments

A few years ago I took some time away from teaching and stepped into the world of business, helping my father run his landscaping company. It didn’t take long for my teaching instincts to re-surface, leading me to develop what I labeled “employee literacy classes,” where I met weekly with a group of my father’s Spanish speaking employees.

Through these classes, in which we discussed principles of permaculture and water harvesting, I came to recognize that in the workplace, tasks often get done without a conceptual understanding of why. Workers are not expected to question the structure in which roles or jobs are assigned. The purpose of a workday turns mainly towards getting paid and going home. « Read the rest of this entry »

Post 3: Mindful Mentorships

Thursday, August, 30, 12 § 1 Comment

Our world cannot support the West’s consumption-based economic systems, to say nothing about the spiritual emptiness they manufacture. Reconstruction of our economic systems desperately calls for experimentation with models of service delivery, product creation, and consumption that more deeply resonate with evolved human values. In Seth’s August 23rd posting, Education and the New Economy, he suggests an apprenticeship model of learning that would partner with professionals who think about a triple bottom line composed of people, profits, and the environment. I would like to push the conversation a little further, and think about what sort of learning environment is needed to help learners think critically about the strengths and ills of culture and economy. « Read the rest of this entry »

Post 2: Education and the New Economy

Thursday, August, 23, 12 § 2 Comments

Recently I’ve begun thinking less about education and more about economics. For one, the Western economic model seems to be failing, which, as I stand over my daughter’s crib at night, is a bit terrifying. Second, I just reread Schooling in Capitalist America, and was struck by economists Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis’ compelling case that true school reform cannot happen without economic reform. « Read the rest of this entry »

Profile: The Met

Wednesday, August, 1, 12 § Leave a comment

The flagship school of a model that dismisses class, bells and grades to teach “one student at a time.”

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Profile: Blue Ox School of Traditional Arts

Wednesday, August, 1, 12 § Leave a comment

Eric Hollenbeck’s no teacher. But the master craftsman’s reaching kids no one else could.

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