Weeks two and three at Abot Tala: lots of scrabble, chess, a new mentor from Brazil, catapult making, testing bridges, design thinking from the man behind Failure School, home theater inauguration via Soul Surfer, noodles from scratch, the food club’s Milo flavored donut, flipping naan with a rolling pin, youtube dancing, “our” dog Biscuit running outside, multiple trips to Ministop, circuit building, jamming sessions, launching enterprises, a helicopter suit out of cardboard, improvisation, chillaxing ukulele music, community meetings, slapjack because it’s somebody’s favorite game, photo shoots, smiles, laughter, teasing, fights, a few flaring tempers but we’re a community determined to support one another through this life-long learning adventure.
For those who want to drop by and see how school could be redefined and redesigned, do visit us between 9am and 3pm, Monday to Thursday. Check out our website and if this unusual model gives you a compelling reason to explore it, drop us a line.
To prevent people from slamming into the sliding glass panels at the center, we placed stickers with the following quotes. Lots of food for thought enough to make you woozy. If only running a self-directed, personalized learning collaborative were as easy as reading these bits of inspiring insights.
“My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but it prevented from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself.” – George Bernard Shaw “I am always ready to learn, but I do not always like to be taught.” – Winston Churchill “You cannot teach a person anything; you can only help him find it within himself.” – Galileo “Self education is, I believe, the only education there is.” – Issac Asimov “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein “None of the world’s problems will have a solution until the world’s individuals become thoroughly self-educated.” – Buckminster Fuller “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso “To find yourself, think for yourself.” — Socrates “If we value independence, if we are disturbed by the growing conformity of knowledge, of values, of attitudes, which our present system induces, then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make for uniqueness, for self-direction, and for self-initiated learning.” – Carl Rogers “Children are born passionately eager to make as much sense as they can of things around them. If we attempt to control, manipulate, or divert this process, the independent scientist in the child disappears.” – John Holt “Real wisdom is not the knowledge of everything, but the knowledge of which things in life are necessary, which are less necessary, and which are completely unnecessary to know.” – Leo Tolstoy “Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves.” – Ernest Dimnet “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” – William Butler Yeats “What we think, we become.” — Buddha “I know of nothing more inspiring than that of making discoveries for one’s self. – George Washington Carver “When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.” – Eleanor Roosevelt “Where my reason, imagination, or interest were not engaged, I would not or I could not learn.” – Winston Churchill “All men who have turned out worth anything have had a chief hand in their own education.” – Sir Walter Scott “Do not train children in learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” –Plato “It is shocking to find how many people do not believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult. Muad’Dib knew that every experience carries its lesson.” – Frank Herbert “Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” – Albert Camus “You learn at your best when you have something you care about and can get pleasure in being engaged in.” – Howard Gardner “To develop a complete mind: study the science of art; study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.’ – Leonardo da Vinci “Growth and mastery come only to those who vigorously self-direct. Initiating, creating, doing, reflecting, freely associating, enjoying privacy – these are precisely what the structures of schooling are set up to prevent, in one context or another.” – John Taylor Gatto “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being could fight; and keep fighting.” E.E. Cummings “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor Frankl “All limitations are self-imposed.” – Oliver Wendell “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him stop to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” – Henry David Thoreau “What is essential is to realize that children learn independently, not in bunches; that they learn out of interest and curiosity, not to please or appease the adults in power; and that they ought to be in control of their own learning, deciding for themselves what they want to learn and how they want to learn it.” – John Holt “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” — Coco Chanel “I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that?” Soledad O’Brien “Fromm recognized that transforming education would require much more than creating a new type of school, it would require creating a new type of society with a new set of values. For it would require parents to prioritize human flourishing over personal success and economic growth. . . . . I have come to believe that one of the most important needs we all share as human beings is the need to express our love and compassion through care and concern for others. I think that much of our discontentment comes from our inability to meet this need. Our whole way of life, tragically, seems to be almost set up to frustrate the satisfaction of this need that we all have to benefit others. It is all the more tragic, therefore, when people go into teaching, for example, because they love working with children, and they want to help children learn, grow and thrive, and those efforts are thwarted because of the pressure they are under to get kids to meet arbitrary benchmarks.” – Ben Draper