Category Archives: Taking personal responsibility

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

The tension before change


In conversations lately with some of the amazing people who bless my life, I’ve been reminded about the tension that arises when change is afoot.

For years I have been enjoying the writings of Sanaya Roman, a spiritual writer, and a chapter with which I am particularly enamoured  is ‘Embracing the new’ from the magnificent ‘Living with Joy: Keys to Personal Power and Spiritual Transformation See also

It speaks to me of the courage and vision we require when we dare to imagine a new way forward, and it reminds me that the way forward can often appear somewhat fearsome and solitary. Sanaya Roman speaks of the tension that precedes change, and just like the arrow that sits quietly in the fold of the bow, its potential flight is entirely linked to the tension that is required.

“What you call tension or anxiety before an event can be viewed instead as focusing your energy to prepare you for something new. It is a change in your vibration to prepare you for something that is finer and higher in your life. You may feel that you must first conquer fear and anxiety before you step out and accomplish something. But everyone has that inner feeling of tension to some degree before attempting new things; it is a period of gathering energy to make the shift into a higher vibration.”

So it is with our life choices and the ability we have to project ourselves powerfully into our imagined future. There are those along the path of our journey who may question the wisdom of our decisions, but we can steel ourselves with the knowledge that we are ultimately making our authentic life choices.

Dare to imagine a great new way forward, and embrace your future with joy and courage.

It only takes one girl to make a difference …


In the thoughts expressed in my previous posting, there is no consideration of gender in the educational equation. I have just come across another great link from Yashar Ali’s Facebook page, to a Youtube video created by Gabriella. The video clip, entitled ‘It only takes a girl.’ asks us to reflect on the lived experience of a great percentage of the world’s female population.

Gabriella created this deeply challenging reflection with the support of her sisters and mother, and posted it a few days ago in her Facebook page. Within two days it attracted almost 7500 views. The thoughts I discussed in my previous post on educational imperatives take on an even more critical urgency when you consider her powerful message.

Thankyou Gabriella for making a difference.