Tag Archives: * Challenging the status quo * Change * Claiming authorship * Contesting assumptions * Critical inquiry * Emerging understanding * Finding your voice * Personal authority * Perspective transformation

Education for freedom

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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. http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1, 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 http://www.montessori.org.au/ … 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 https://jenniferkmiles.com/inspirations/  … 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

On the road to change …

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In the months since completing my Masters thesis, I have been very happy to sit back quietly and allow the pressures of completion and examination to drift quietly away, and to permit the experience and subsequent learning to sink gently into my bones.

This last week has provided opportunities for some fabulously critical conversations about the transformative value of storytelling. I have been reinvigorated.

I believe that coming to know and become the greatest version of oneself – and identifying and utilising one’s capacity – needs to begin with the story of the self … facilitated by experienced, skilled and knowledgeable practitioners.

From this beginning point we can begin to identify and critique the external structures and influences that have contributed to our perspective of self, of others, and of our place and potential in life.

As the last week’s conversations have highlighted, it is only when we begin to recognise the assumptions and externally imposed constrictions that have guided our choices and life circumstances, that we are able to more fully recognise the importance and potency of our own authority – and take on authorship of our own lives. We can then begin to exercise our own voice and stretch our muscle towards determining the most authentic way forward.

We are always an individual within social, cultural and political constructions … but we also have a choice about how we perceive and respond to our environment. My experience is that once individuals begin to emerge from the haze of unexplored assumptions, they start to see through new lenses, and to uncover incredible power, both for themselves, and for others who have also lived in the ‘haze’.

So my first challenge is to pick up again on the research to identify the measurable benefits from this methodological approach; then to identify how we can incorporate professional development to awaken  personal knowing in our educators, and lastly to generate the necessary  support and resources to imbed the methodology into practice within vocational education and training (VET) and Adult Community Education (ACE). Hopefully then each individual might have the opportunity they deserve to shine in their truest light.

The conversations I’ve been having over the last week have certainly stirred and re-affirmed my passion and commitment to changing the system, and I extend my thanks to my peers for their challenge and interest in my work. The time is coming to explore PhD options …