By David G. Blumenkrantz, Ph.D. M.Ed.
We Need a Revolution in Education.
I Know a Place
Over the past forty years we have focused on building individual, group and community capacity to shift their consciousness and become initiated into new ways of being human together. We have called this process youth and community development through rites of passage. The practice uses twenty interrelated elements as design principles to help guide the emergence of community-oriented, culturally relevant and developmentally appropriate rites of passage for raising healthy children and strengthening communities.
What would we be doing when institutions that matter in the lives of children are reframed as places of initiation?
We would be focusing on transmitting values and ethics that inform and guide expectations for behaviors that are in right relationship with nature and in service to others. Community-oriented rite of passage experiences lead to “know how” in science and technology along with the essential values of “knowing how” to use them with the end results for the “highest good.” This is a central guiding value in permaculture education.
Alternative Education Resource Center
AERO IS THE PLACE
One place that has been at the forefront of the revolution for over twenty-five years is the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO). The mission of the Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) is "to help create an education revolution to make learner-centered education available to everyone." Every year they have an amazing networking event for hundreds of people interested in learner-centered education. They come from all over the USA and around the world. Sugata Mitra, whose "hole in the wall experiment" of putting a computer in a wall of an Indian slum earned him the TED prize in 2013, will be a keynoter speaker.
Last year Brian Evarts, (Master ROPE® facilitator and President of the Board of Directors of The Center) and I facilitated a conversation at their annual meeting called: Reframing education as “initiation:” Schools and communities as places for rites of passage. Over the past year the conversations have continued and this year we’ll be learning together with Jen Mendez, the founder of PERMIE KIDs.
PERMIE KIDs is a community of educators including parents, teachers, grandparents, mentors, coaches, and children that is oriented around the principles of permaculture education that empowers individuals, families, groups, schools, and communities in learning and to live in ways that work for the highest good. PERMIE KIDs believes that children are natural, inspiring learners, and problem-solvers. As such, they are valued members of the community with a voice to be heard and valued.
Jen says that: “In order to have a long-term impact and foster real sustainable change we need a culture that understands, values, and utilizes the ethical design principles of permaculture. This is easy to say, but more challenging to do and requires a shift in consciousness that is possible through the initiatory process. When permaculture education integrates the principles of youth and community development through rites of passage the values and ethical framework of permaculture practices can become deeply embedded in our thinking. Then permaculture can become mainstream in ways that can help to reshape our world. This must occur both locally and globally. To accomplish this we must get our youngest problem solvers, our children, to be initiated into more conscious ways of being in righteous relationship with themselves, others, nature and our sacred Earth. Through the permaculture methodology children are encouraged to start asking questions that matter to their future and the future of their community and world around them.”
May Workshop at AERO
Jen and David will be hosting a workshop and conversation: Rites of Passage in Educational Design at AERO’s annual meeting May 20 – 24 at LIU/Post University in Brookville Long Island about twenty miles outside of New York City.
Rites of Passage in Educational Design - Description
Rites of passage were the way we passed essential life sustaining values, information, and skills to the next generation and communities were able to adapt to make a meaningful place for emerging adults, all in reciprocity for survival. When value-based experiential education integrates the principles of youth and community development through rites of passage those values become deeply embedded in our thinking and, as a result, can reshape our world. We'll learn together about what is possible when our children are initiated into more conscious ways of being in honest relationship with themselves, others, nature, and our sacred Earth.
FOR CONFERENCE INFORMATION AND REGISTRATION:
Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO)
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It’t time for a Paradigm Shift – a fundamental change in beliefs, theory and approach – in developing community-centered responses to the challenges faced by today’s Youth & Community. More here>>