From the Holistic Teaching and Learning Conference

I have but a few minutes to write, which is unlike previous conferences where I often wondered what I was doing there and what there was to learn. To be fair, there were many personal connections that were meaningful, though the presentations in the old format of keynote speaker and break out sessions with inadequate time to explore deeply led to the aforementioned free time. I have come to realize that I thrive in person to person interaction.

Not so here. I can only encourage conference leaders to go to the HTLC website and study the schedule. Briefly, venerable elders start each morning with calls for community followed by stories and insights. Then there are interactions with neighbors on important topics. We just finished inquiring into how we can serve and connect with public education and in so doing awaken awareness of  each student, of one another, and of ourselves. The environment drips with meaning, care, and connection.

On to the podcasts. It is a daunting to be new at this and to be in the place with perhaps the most potent potential for allowing  the experiences and insights of holistic educators to all who read this. It is more intimate than I imagined. I rejoice in the personal time I have to explore their backgrounds, motivations, challenges, and (many) idiosyncrasies. If I edit well it should be worthwhile and meaningful for parents and educators. It certainly is so for me.

I have met with Four Arrows, Jack Miller, Tobin Hart, Marni Binder, Sam Crowell, and others. I name those as they have a web presence. Look them up. So interesting!

I have to run. More later.

A Golden Opportunity

From September 15th thru 18th a golden opportunity comes to Ashland, Oregon—The International Holistic Education Conference. So many remarkable educators will be there that I don’t anticipate having much time to sleep. They come from Thailand, Canada, Japan, Denmark, Mexico, and just about every state in America. Specialties abound in language arts, teacher training, parent education (Josette’s presentation), holistic school administration, art, music, curriculum design, pedagogy, evolution of consciousness, children and death (my presentation), project based learning, non-sectarian spirituality, and on and on. Whopee! I am excited.

And as I know many of these educators I will have golden moments of podcasting. Already Paul Freedman of Salmonberry school on Orcas Island, Jack Miller, whose book The Holistic Curriculum remains a standard in the field, Debbie Million, Head of Ingra School in Madison WI, Marcia Osoke, of John Muir Magnet School, Yoshi Nagamura from Japan, and Marni Binder, arts and language arts master, from Toronto have agreed to be on the Podcast. I am sure there will be more to come.

Perhaps, you too will come. If not, then it will be my pleasure to share with you through the Podcasts the remarkable teaching from these remarkable educators. Podcasts to begin in early October.

Meetings with Remarkable Educators

I have name for the coming podcast series: Meetings with Remarkable Educators. What does this title mean? What constitutes a remarkable educator?

Remarkable educators shift paradigms of learning. Their schools call forth greatness in their students. Their pedagogy brings clarity to the way humans learn. Their philosophy of life lends clarity to our own. They present a beacon of light; a way to actualize each of our potential while respecting family, heritage, culture, planet, science, each child, and the (non-sectarian) essence of spirituality. Their schools can found in cities, in woodlands, in farmlands, and in most countries. They understand that meaningful relationships among all the people of the school is the foundation for successful learning. They are remarkable because they leave nothing out; and know there is always something more. Humble, inquisitive, caring, and committed to all life, these remarkable educators are jewels in our communities, our culture.

In short, they are inspired—filled with the breath of Spirit. Naturally they inspire others, including yours truly. Everyone’s aspirations are nurtured as well-being spirals up and up—a natural emergence as breathtaking as it is unpretentious.

This is education as it ought to be, as it is naturally, as a fulfillment of our birthright to self-actualize, to know ourselves as whole and worthwhile.

I am honored to introduce you to Remarkable Educators. Podcast begins in early  October.

Why Podcast

Here I am, 70 years young, free of institutional commitments. I have a well-deserved reputation as a pioneer in holistic child development, as Natural Learning Relationships is being used by educators, inspiring thesis’s and supporting many families and parents. I am in demand as a mentor and as a consultant on all matters family and education. My two grandchildren live next door and are a source of endless delight and learning as are their parents. I am never short of ideas for this blog and for my other, more freewheeling (controversial) blog, www.theseer.net. I love my wife. I often become absorbed in the beauty of nature.

So why podcast? The technology requires expertise that I am just learning and do not find easy to master. I sort of believe I will be a competent interviewer but early results suggest much polishing needed. Editing requires considerable patience and dexterity.

My answer: Genuine need. There are brilliant holistic educators who know how to bring forth the greatness in students, in teachers, and in parents. They live in schools that call themselves progressive, or holistic, or independent. Their message needs to be heard. In my 30 years in the field I have been fortunate to know many of them. And so the podcast will be their voice, their work, their life. You can be sure their voice is exciting for it takes skill, insight, and courage to strike out from conventional education.  

And striking out from conventional education is what is needed as conventional education has struck out. I won’t produce the litany of failures here. Listen to the podcasts and hear the difference.

Caveat: there are great public school teachers, though not many and often constrained by the school’s stifling infrastructure. And there are independent schools masquerading as progressive. It helps to keep in mind an old Persian maxim: There would be no counterfeit if the real did not exist.

At the risk of offending just about everyone, parenting and education is the absolute preeminent field to actualize well-being for each of us, for our community, society, and planet. There is no field in second place. Somewhere around tenth is racism (including feminism and gender equality) and environmentalism. The need is so prevalent that no one sees it—a classic “the emperor is wearing no clothes” situation.

I will meet you on the podcasts. First edition will be the beginning of October.