Welcome to our new readers! I am excited to share with you more about our vision for a different kind of high school for the Tri Cities. If you would like to see previous issues, they are now posted on our website.
I had the opportunity to introduce our ongoing efforts at a meeting of the Walden Green Montessori School’s Families & Foundation (parent’s group) on Tuesday evening. I’m pleased to share that several people attending asked to be added to the newsletter, and I held a small-group “Coffee Hour” just this morning for further discussion and dialogue. Please consider joining me for a “coffee hour” or “happy hour” over the next couple of weeks. I would love your input – times and locations are listed here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f054fa8ad29a57-imagine
The next key theme of successful learner-centered secondary schools is the importance of Real Work: learning through internships, entrepreneurship, and service. The most comprehensive example of this is at the Big Picture Learning Schools, which make internship experiences the central element of their schools’ educational design. Students spend 10-12 hours, two days per week working under the guidance of a mentor to complete authentic projects with deep investigations. These projects are connected to the student’s interests and meet real needs of the mentor. This video, from the San Diego MET, shares how they do it.
Here is a summary of the listening and conversational practices from Otto Scharmer’s Theory U, which I’ve been describing over the past few weeks. We’ll dive into some new topics starting next week. For now, just let these ideas sink in, and please continue to practice them mindfully! We are seeking to make a big change in our community, and what may be exciting to one person could be threatening to another. Good listening goes a long way.
I may start out by…
Downloading: I seek to reconfirm old opinions and judgments; I hear what I want to hear.
When I open my mind, I can then listen…
Factually: I notice differences. I am open to new data that may disconfirm my old opinions. I leave the conversation with new information.
When I open my heart, I can then listen…
Empathically: I make an emotional connection. I can see through another person’s eyes. I leave the conversation with a new perspective.
When I open my will, I can then listen…
Generatively: We are able to collectively create something new – a thought, or idea, or connection – that did not exist before. I leave the conversation a changed person.
Thank you to those I have shared empathic and generative conversations with this past week.