Transformative Education Chapters 5, 7 & 8
Ethical & Pedagogical Studies
“I say, I say unto thee… Every Revolution begins with a Movement, every Movement begins with a Vision and every Vision begins with a Visionary who dreams… My dream is to shine a light deep into the depths of Man, exposing a universal oneness that exists within Us All, that inalienable force that causes everything to be. You see, in order to grow, we must destroy and rebuild, rebuild upon a new foundation, a foundation of unity…” – N.O.VATA (Innovator)
The above quote is actually an intro to a song. It is a song created by an artist in time past. It has relevance in the dark and tumultuous present and speaks to hopes of an illuminated and peaceful future. The readings I was assigned to lead this week are quite inspiring to say the least. Several parts therein serve as a reaffirmation of thoughts and inclinations I have experienced first hand. I find myself currently in a place of deep “contemplation” as I attempt to relay the wisdom from within.
The first author in the series of articles on transformative education was Brian Milani. In from opposition to alternatives: post industrial potentials, Brian spoke eloquently about the capitalistic, hegemonic society in which we live and its denial to honestly address the issues surrounding our current state of affairs as humans that have separated ourselves from nature and have adopted a materialistic, accumulating undertaking. He suggests that in order to transform our current reality we must “dematerialize.” He elaborates, stating “If we were able to free people and firms from the compulsion to get money or accumulate capital, we could easily target real human and environmental needs and dematerialize the economy.” This will be one hell of a task as everything around us including, or should I say especially music evokes us to “get money” at all cost. Furthermore he emphasizes that the core responsibilities of transformative education are to “redefine wealth and create specific alternatives in every sector of economy.” I cannot recollect his expounding on these ideals in detail so I pose this question to my colleagues; in what ways can we redefine wealth and create specific alternatives in the economy?
David Selby spoke to the idea of a radical interconnectedness and its implications for global and environmental education. He defined radical as a way of “going to the root of things.” I believe this call for radicalism is warranted as we have ventured so far away from who and what we really are. We must fight to get our spirits and our minds back from the vice grips of external forces causing us to forget about Nature who has been called our Mother (Earth). We must find our way back to the root of things. He cautions us against computers stating, “They have their place but are among the latest technological phenomena in the process of disconnecting humans from nature.” All one must do to realize the gravity of this statement is stand outside and watch as passersby walk into poles and even each other while texting or surfing the net, all the while, failing to hear the birds serenade us with songs, plants fragrant the air and a prism of colors arch across a sun filled sky. The last of five guides for global and environmental educators was to “rethink how we try to bring about educational change” also, that the “change has to be holistic to be effective.”
Finally, John (Jack) P. Miller came with learning from a spiritual perspective. Some will be quick to protest and resist such an ideal but that is because they have been programmed to equate spirituality with religion. Well, this is not that. Religious denominations and titles are not the subject here so Muslims, Christians, Buddhist, and all religions will be accepted as spiritual entities in the space and the meditative keys of attention, mindfulness, contemplation, compassion and joy to name a few will be basis of this learning experience. These ideals seem so simplistic yet; their implications are quite profound. Many times we make things far more complex than they need to be. I can visualize combining these elements with some of those previously outlined to formulate an environment for learning that will be most effective in “life” outside of the classroom. In light of recent developments in our current space in time concerning the acquittal of an officer who killed Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, I ask two final questions. In what ways can you see how our current (mis)educational system may have contributed to this tragedy? Do you think elements of a transformative education might have prevented such an injustice?