robertogreco + christopheralexander + openstudioproject   5

The Art of Teaching
[via: "The slide deck for the workshop is superb. Such a great experience, so grateful to @tchoi8 & the other participants." https://twitter.com/dphiffer/status/879465006449909760

referencing also: "How I learn to build things. Something I created for @tchoi8’s Art of Learning workshop at @eyeofestival."
https://twitter.com/dphiffer/status/879366496354488322 ]

[video: "Absence is Presence with Distance"
https://vimeo.com/234330230

"As an artist, I work with technology and narrative – formal and relational projects. As an activist, I examine personal and political – practice and praxis. As an educator, I create feedback between plastic and elastic – learning and unlearning. My talk is set at the dawn. We are waiting for the sun to rise and we are full of questions. What’s the role of an artist as an activist now? How can we critique oppressive systems that create the sense of ‘others’ based on ability and legal status? What’s kind of pedagogy can we experiment through alternative schools? How can we create a community among those who have nothing in common? By creating art, we can give form to our intentions, contribute to making the world we want to live in.

( For a companion posting to this talk visit:

https://medium.com/@tchoi8/absence-is-presence-with-distance-c0712aada56c )]
taeyoonchoi  education  teaching  purpose  routine  ritual  silence  flow  conflict  communication  structure  nurture  authority  kojinkaratani  jean-lucnancy  community  howweteach  pedagogy  learning  howwelearn  eyeo2017  unlearning  curriculum  syllabus  sfpc  schoolforpoeticcomputation  art  craft  beauty  utility  generosity  sfsh  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  classideas  cv  reciprocity  gifts  kant  discretion  instruction  discipline  johndewey  bmc  blackmountaincollege  justice  annialbers  stndardization  weaving  textiles  making  projectbasedlearning  materials  progress  progressive  unschooling  deschooling  control  experimentation  knowledge  fabrication  buckminsterfuller  constructivism  constructionism  georgehein  habit  freedom  democracy  paulofreire  judithbutler  sunaurataylor  walking  christinesunkim  uncertainty  representation  intervention  speculation  simulation  christopheralexander  objectives  outcomes  learningoutcomes  learningobjectives  remembering  creativity  evaluation  application  analysis  understanding  emancipation  allankaprow  judychicago  s 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Wildflower Montessori
"ABOUT

Wildflower is an innovative, open-source approach to Montessori learning. Its aim is to be an experiment in a new learning environment, blurring the boundaries between home-schooling and institutional schooling, between scientists and teachers, between schools and the neighborhoods around them. At the core of Wildflower are 9 principles that define the approach.

A growing number of shopfront Montessori lab schools have been started using the Wildflower approach. These schools are listed here.

ORIGINS

Wildflower Montessori is the labor of love of our founder, Sep Kamvar. Unable to find a school which combined Montessori education, an inclusive family environment, and a small, responsive school size, Sep was inspired to create his own. A professor and scientist, Sep sought the support of experienced Montessori leaders to design the school and to identify ways in which the long-history of experimentation and scientific practice in Montessori could be linked to his research. The outcome is a collaborative team of Montessori experts, scientists and designers working together to create a child-centered learning experience.

After the first Wildflower school was created in January of 2014, there was intense interest in the school and the approach. This interest led us to open-source the model and help other family groups and teacher-leaders to create new Wildflower schools. Each teacher-leader at each Wildflower school serves on the board of at least one other Wildflower school, creating a community of schools that are linked by both a shared philosophy and a network of shared relationships. However, each school is autonomous and independently run, with no operational involvement from Sep or MIT. Sep currently serves as an advisor to the Wildflower Foundation, a foundation that was set up to support teacher-leaders at Wildflower schools."



[9 Principles]

1. An Authentic Montessori Environment: providing a peaceful, mixed-age, child-directed environment.

In identifying Montessori as our guide for Wildflower schools, we were drawn to the unique combination of a few factors. The Montessori Method emphasizes the potential of the child, if served well, to change the world. We valued its intrinsic respect for that potential, its promotion of peaceful communities, and its specific pedagogical structures. As a model which prioritizes the development of the individual child, we value the balance of Montessori's scientific approach to children's development and its assertion that childhood is a unique period of growth to be protected at its own pace.

2. A Shopfront, Neighborhood-nested Design:</strong> committed to remaining small, teacher-led, integrated in the community, and responsive to the needs of children

Inspired by the work of Christopher Alexander, Wildflower schools are shopfront schools that consist of a single classroom, with the faculty both teaching in the classroom and administrating the school. By preserving a small scale, teachers are able to make decisions in their day-to-day teaching that respond to the intellectual needs of the children, and are able to make decisions on a school-wide basis that respond to their own vision and the contextual needs of the families. The shopfront model also allows these communities to seamlessly integrate into neighborhoods. Children are visible in the community as they walk to and from school, to their local playground or garden, and to civic spaces that would otherwise be on-site in a larger institution.

3. A Lab School: serving as a research setting dedicated to advancing the Montessori Method in the context of the modern world.

Each of the Wildflower schools serves as a lab school to help us better understand and advance the Montessori Method, and to help us propose empirically-supported design for new materials. We seek to integrate modern technologies in observation and documentation without changing the concrete, didactic nature of the classroom itself. We further seek to refine the development of Montessori-consistent apparatuses that prepare children for the cognitive patterns of modern fluencies.

4. A Seamless Learning Community: blurring the boundaries of home-schooling and institutional schooling by placing high priority on parent education and giving parents and integral role in the classroom.

Wildflower schools look for ways in which children's home, school, and community environments can offer more seamless experiences, reflecting consistent perspectives on children's development and engaging them as authentic contributors in each setting. We believe that parents and families offer a knowledge about children which is equally important to the professional preparation of teachers, and seek opportunities for parent-knowledge to inform classroom practice and teacher-knowledge to inform the home.

5. An Artist-in-residence: bringing richness to the learning environment by giving the children opportunities to observe and interact with adults doing day-to-day creative work.

Because we believe that children learn best in environments that model lifelong learning and creativity, each Wildflower school engages an artist-in-residence. Each school offers their artist studio space in a place accessible to the children, where the children can see them doing the work of their lives. In exchange, artists offer their work back to the classroom weekly, teaching children about their craft and helping children to develop their own skills. Through the artists-in-residence program, we seek to increase the awareness of the inner lives of children available to artists of all kinds and to protect children's understanding that learning and creating can happen throughout their lives and beyond their formal school experiences.

6. A spirit of generosity: Reflecting a spirit of generosity to all stakeholders, to children, to parents, to those in need, and to the local community.

Often, schools are seen as a service relationship, with parents as customers, teachers as service-providers, and children as recipients of the service, to be filled with information and assessed. We see it differently -- we see that each constituency brings their special gift to one another. We see the teachers bring the gift of their love and skillfulness to the children and the parents, the parents bring the gift of nurturing and advancing the teachers in their practice and growth as teachers and leaders, and the children bring the gift of helping all of us see in a new way.&nbsp; Importantly, this spirit of gift extends beyond the walls of the school: each school seeks to bring their gifts to the broader community, by being involved in the local community, by making educational opportunities that are free to the public, and by reserving slots in our schools for those in need.

7. An Attention to Nature: emphasizing the nonseparation between nature and human nature through a unique living-classroom design and extensive time in nature.

It is both a contemporary imperative and an essential quality of our design that we think proactively about the impact of our work on the environment around us. By limiting the footprint of each school to a storefront, we necessarily limit the availability of private, outdoor space. Instead, we design the interior of the school to allow children to learn to care for their living environment and to surround them with abundant plant life. We site schools near to public play spaces and work with city partners to design sustainable urban gardens for which the school and neighborhood community can care. We carefully consider the materials used in the classroom and choose sustainable, nontoxic and earth-friendly options. Finally, we maintain nutritional standards that are earth-conscious and protect natural, healthful diets for children.

8. A Role in Shaping the Neighborhood: working with the community to improve local parks, streets, and establishments to create an urban environment that is healthier for children.

Wildflower schools should change the way their immediate communities function and, as a part of a larger network, change the nature of their entire cities. The integration of children and families into the daily fabric of the neighborhood, we believe, will influence the lives of other neighbors, the questions asked in other educational settings, and the priorities of policymakers. We implement, then, structures that make our work transparent to their communities and expand who we define as "stakeholders" to include more than just the families we serve. From opportunities for passers-by to stop and observe the classrooms to the presence of children in local eateries, from the public gardens we create and tend, to the regular, open information sessions to inform our community about our work, we judge our approach not only by its influence on enrolled children and their families but on the city beyond our rolls.

9. An Open-source Design and Decentralized Network: advancing an ecosystem of independent Wildflower schools that mutually support one another.

Finally, we recognize that issues of scale -- including increased centralized decision-making, larger administrative bureaucracies and operational overhead -- decrease the autonomy available to individual classrooms. At the same time, we value the practical benefits of a community of learners and professionals working together, and the economic efficiencies that can arise from shared resources. To balance those concerns, each school sees itself as a node in a network, maintaining autonomy in school-level decision-making while able to access the resources of the network when those resources are useful and compelling to the school. Reciprocally, each school also sees itself not only as responsible for its own operations, but as responsible for helping other schools in the network, and for helping other interested family groups to start their own Wildflower schools."
schools  education  small  microschools  montessori  via:aimee  opensource  homeschool  christopheralexander  labschools  networks  community  art  generosity  urban  cities  lcproject  sfsh  openstudioproject  decentralization  sepkamvar 
march 2017 by robertogreco
The Lives of Children, by George Dennison
[See also Christopher Alexander (referencing Dennison and Paul Goodman's mini-schools): http://web.archive.org/web/20080206191750/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl085.htm ]

"It is worth mentioning here that, with two exceptions, the parents of the children at First Street were not libertarians. They thought that they believed in compulsion, and rewards and punishments, and formal discipline, and report cards, and homework, and elaborate school facilities. They looked rather askance at our noisy classrooms and informal relations. If they persisted in sending us their children, it was not because they agreed with our methods, but because they were desperate. As the months went by, however, and the children who had been truants now attended eagerly, and those who had been failing now began to learn, the parents drew their own conclusions. By the end of the first year there was a high morale among them, and great devotion to the school.

We had no administrators. We were small and didn't need them. The parents found that, after all, they approved of this. They themselves could judge the competence of the teachers, and so could their children - by the specific act of learning. The parents' past experience of administrators bad been uniformly upsetting - and the proof, of course, was in the pudding: the children were happier and were learning. As for the children, they never missed them.

We did not give report cards. We knew each child, knew his capacities and his problems, and the vagaries of his growth. This knowledge could not be recorded on little cards. The parents found - again - that they approved of this. It diminished the blind anxieties of life, for grades had never meant much to them anyway except some dim sense of problem, or some dim reassurance that things were all right. When they wanted to know how their children were doing they simply asked the teachers.

We didn't give tests, at least not of the competitive kind. It was important to be aware of what the children knew, but more important to be aware of how each child knew what he knew. We could learn nothing about Maxine by testing Eléna. And so there was no comparative testing at all. The children never missed those invidious comparisons, and the teachers were spared the absurdity of ranking dozens of personalities on one uniform scale.

Our housing was modest. Ile children came to school in play-torn clothes. Their families were poor. A torn dress, torn pants, frequent cleanings - there were expenses they could not afford. Yet how can children play without getting dirty? Our uncleanliness standard was just right. It looked awful and suited everyone.

We treated the children with consideration and justice. I don't mean that we never got angry and never yelled at them (nor they at us). I mean that we took seriously the pride of life that belongs to the young - even to the very young. We did not coerce them in violation of their proper independence. Parents and children both found that they approved very much of this.

Now I would like to describe the school, or more correctly, the children and teachers. I shall try to bring out in detail three important things:

1) That the proper concern of a primary school is not education in a narrow sense, and still less preparation for later life, but the present lives of the children - a point made repeatedly by John Dewey. and very poorly understood by many of his followers.

2) That when the conventional routines of a school we abolished (the military discipline, the schedules, the punishments and rewards, the standardization), what arises is neither a vacuum nor chaos, but rather a new order, based first on relationships between adults and children, and children and their peers, but based ultimately on such truths of the human condition as these: that the mind does not function separately from the emotions, but thought partakes of feeling and feeling of thought, that there is no such thing as knowledge per se, knowledge in a vacuum, but rather all knowledge is possessed and must be expressed by individuals; that the human voices preserved in books belong to the real features of the world, and that children are so powerfully attracted to this world that the very motion of their curiosity comes through to us as a form of love; that an active moral life cannot be evolved except where people are free to express their feelings and act upon the insights of conscience.

3) That running a primary school - provided it be small - is an extremely simple thing. It goes without saying that the teachers must be competent (which does not necessarily mean passing courses in a teacher's college). Given this sine qua non, there is nothing mysterious. The present quagmire of public education is entirely the result of unworkable centralization and the lust for control that permeates every bureaucratic institution."



"For the twenty-three children there were three full-time teachers, one part-time (myself), and several others who came at scheduled periods for singing, dancing, and music.

Public school teachers, with their 30 to 1 ratios, will be aware that we have entered the realm of sheer luxury. One of the things that will bear repeating, however, is that this luxury was purchased at a cost per child a good bit lower than that of the public system, for the similarity of operating costs does not reflect the huge capital investment of the public schools or the great difference in the quality of service. Not that our families paid tuition (hardly anyone did); I mean simply that our money was not drained away by vast administrative costs, bookkeeping, elaborate buildings, maintenance, enforcement personnel, and vandalism (to say nothing of the costs hidden in those institutions which in a larger sense must be seen as adjuncts to the schools: houses of correction, prisons, narcotic wards, and welfare).

Our teacher/pupil ratio varied according to need. Gloria handled up to eleven children, ages five to eight. At least half of her children were just starting school, and were beautifully "motivated," as the educationists say. Motivated, of course, means eager, alive, curious, responsive, trusting, persistent; and it is not as good a word as any of these. They were capable of forming relationships and of pursuing real interests. Every child who came to us after several years in the public schools came with problems.

Susan Goodman, who taught the next group, ages eight to ten, usually had six or seven in her room. Two of these were difficult and required a great deal of attention. They got the attention, and they were the two (Maxine and Eléna) who of all the children in the school made the most spectacular progress academically. In a year and a half, Eléna, who was ten, went from first-grade work to advanced fourth; and let me hasten to say that Susan, like the other teachers, followed Rousseau's old policy of losing time. ("The most useful rule of education is this: do not save time, but lose it.") Eléna's lessons were very brief and were often skipped.

The remaining children, boys to the age of thirteen, had come to us in serious trouble of one kind or another. Several carried knives, all had been truants, José could not read, Willard was scheduled for a 600 school, Stanley was a vandal and thief and was on his way to Youth House. They were characterized, one and all, by an anxiety that amounted to desperation. It became clear to us very quickly to what an extent they had been formed by abuse and neglect. Family life was a factor for several, but all had had disastrous experiences in school, and with authorities outside of school, and with the racism of our society as a whole, and with poverty and the routine violence of violent streets. They were destined for environments of maximum control-prison in one form or another. How they fared in our setting of freedom may be interesting.

Some pupils, as Dr. Elliott Shapiro points out (Nat Hentoff's Our Children Are Dying is about Elliott Shapiro and the children of Harlem), require a one-to-one relationship. I worked with José on just that basis. At other times I took the boys in a group, or Mabel Chrystie (now Dennison) did, or they were divided between the two of us.

Even in so routine a matter as forming groups, the advantages of smallness are evident. We all knew the children fairly well and were able to match teacher with child. Gloria had had a great deal of experience with younger children, Mabel with specialized tutoring in the city system and with problem children in a free school setting. I had worked with severely disturbed children; and Susan Goodman, who had never taught before, came from a family of teachers and naturally asked for the children predisposed to studies.

Yet the final composition of the groups reflected the contributions of the children themselves. They, too, had a hand. And here is an excellent example of the kind of sructuring that arises when the wishes of the children are respected. Two of our most difficult pupils, Maxine and Vicente, actually placed themselves; and the truth is that we teachers could not have improved upon their solutions. ..."
georgedennison  small  tinyschools  minischools  paulgoodman  education  openstudioproject  learning  children  lcproject  1969  groupsize  classsize  teaching  christopheralexander  apatternlanguage 
august 2014 by robertogreco
84 Teenage Society [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20080206192616/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl084.htm ]

"Teenage is the time of passage between childhood and adulthood. In traditional societies, this passage is accompanied by rites which suit the psychological demands of the transition. But in modern society the "high school" fails entirely to provide this passage."



"Replace the "high school" with an institution which is actually a model of adult society, in which the students take on most of the responsibility for learning and social life, with clearly defined roles and forms of discipline. Provide adult guidance, both for the learning, and the social structure of the society; but keep them as far as feasible, in the hands of the students."
christopheralexander  architecture  design  schools  education  learning  highschool  teens  adulthood  maturity  reform  schooldesign  schooling  deschooling  chnage  policy  lcproject  apatternlanguage  unschooling  studioclassroom  openstudioproject  decentralization 
july 2007 by robertogreco
85 Shopfront Schools [from A Pattern Language]
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20080206191750/http://www.ahartman.com/apl/patterns/apl085.htm ]

"Around the age of 6 or 7, children develop a great need to learn by doing, to make their mark on a community outside the home. If the setting is right, these needs lead children directly to basic skills and habits of learning."



"Instead of building large public schools for children 7 to 12, set up tiny independent schools, one school at a time. Keep the school small, so that its overheads are low and a teacher-student ratio of 1:10 can be maintained. Locate it in the public part of the community, with a shopfront and three or four rooms."
christopheralexander  schools  schooldesign  reform  change  lcproject  learning  organizations  community  urban  design  teaching  children  networks  apatternlanguage  studioclassroom  unschooling  deschooling  openstudioproject  paulgoodman  georgedennison  decentralization  education 
july 2007 by robertogreco

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