Education for freedom


Today is Sunday, and I am grateful for the luxurious space it provides me. As I am currently undertaking a Yoga diploma (more about this in a later post), I decided to use this space to log on and complete some of the online components. The homepage on my desktop and laptop is the Greater Good Network’s ‘Hungersite’ and associated tabbed pages., so whenever I open up either of my computers, my first task for the day is to ‘Click here to give – it’s free’ buttons on each of these eight pages … it takes only a minute or two.

While navigating through them this morning I noticed an included quote from Maria Montessori, known for her pioneering work in early childhood education.

Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world.

As often happens, this little thought took me on a journey of the mind through some of the associations the concept evoked. If you’ve read any of my blog, and followed some of the links included, you’ll know how passionate I am about education for freedom. For all.

I’m not a great supporter of the notion of ‘training’ or ‘instructing’ individuals with the aim of ensuring they have the necessary skills to perform a task or a job. I have no appreciation of the ‘transmission’ style of education – ‘filling their bucket’ of knowledge so they can carry out the requirements of a job role. Learning should be so much more than that.

My notion of education has been inspired by people like Maria Montessori … people who are passionately engaged in transformative learning … supporting each and every individual on their journey to becoming most fully who they can become. The greatest version of themselves.

People like Paulo Freire, Ira Shor, Carl Rogers, Jack Mezirow, Stephen Brookfield, Patricia Cranton  … Maria Montessori. Regular people doing incredible work, supporting regular people doing incredible work. Through the transformative process of learning about ourselves, learning about the world, and learning about the power we have to make a difference, we are able to become the greatest version of ourselves.

It starts with the freedom to learn, and the freedom to be, and we have the opportunity to live this every day as educators. Whether as formal educators, as employers, managers, parents, friends … any relationship between humans … we are constantly provided with opportunities to learn about ourselves, and to provide others the freedom to learn about themselves.

My knowing is that at any age, at any stage, no matter what, we are at a point where we can choose … and support each other … to step into ourselves, claiming our power and potential, and realising our dreams. Give yourself and others the freedom to dream and become!

To aid life … leaving it free however … that is the basic task of the educator.

Maria Montessori

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