The number of exceptional human beings wandering around the Green School campus is through the roof. It seems as though everyone I’ve talked to in the two weeks that I’ve been here is successfully balancing three or four projects, enacting individual visions that, woven together, create the rich tapestry that is Green School. Chief visionary is Green School founder John Hardy. If I haven’t already bugged you to watch Hardy’s TED talk, it’s worth taking a few minutes to check it out:
In the Green School, Hardy has created a forum for conscious innovators in a multitude of fields to bring their visions to life. Last week, I was privileged to meet John and join a handful of community members for one of his Founder’s Walks, which he’ll be hosting every Thursday until mid-February.
I hitched a ride on the back of a school security guard’s motorbike and sped through villages and rice paddies toward Bambu Indah. Maybe the driver wanted to shake things up a bit for bule. He took a few turns too quickly and I arrived trembling, half an hour early. Hardy’s property in the hills near Ubud is unassuming from the outside, but every inch of space inside the gate illustrates this Ontario College of Art & Design graduate’s eye for natural design and attention to detail.
A door to one of the Green School classrooms – one of my favourite design elements
Posted in education, Green School
Tagged alternative education, bali, bambu indah, Emily Antflick, green design, green school, indonesia, john hardy, orin hardy, permaculture, sustainability, TED, travel
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity.”
– Ken Robinson
Sir Ken Robinson gave a TED talk recently where he criticized today’s schools for educating kids out of creativity. It is not a revolutionary thought that, as Robinson points out, the public education system since the 19th century has been shaped by the needs of industrialism and capitalism. Academic subjects are valued hierarchically according to what should best help one get a job.
I can relate – I went to a highly conservative academic high school, and was mocked for dropping sciences and maths in favour of art, languages and humanities. Despite my excellent averages, my teachers and peers (PEERS! Not parents. Other teenagers.) were concerned that I was closing doors. As a result of the undervaluation of creativity during my formative years, I spent most of my late teens and twenties trying to get out of my head and reconnect with my passions.
One of Robinson’s criticisms of our current education system is that in failing to nurture students’ creativity, we are teaching our students to be disembodied heads. “As children grow up we start to educate them from the waist up. and then we focus on their heads. And slightly to one side” (For more on encouraging right brain thinking, check out Dan Pink’s very readable book A Whole New Mind. Hopefully I’ll get around to blogging about it in a future post)
In an article published several months ago on The Huffington Post, Robinson takes a similar stance, arguing for a radical transformation of our education system. He writes:
I’m always struck by how many adults have no idea what their real talents are, or whether they have any at all. Many people just do what they do with no particular passion or commitment to it. I know others who genuinely love what they do; who would probably do it for free if they had to, and can’t imagine doing anything else. Understanding what makes the difference is essential for transforming education, business, and communities to meet the real challenges of the twenty-first century.
Robinson argues that the education system must realize that intelligence is dynamic, diverse, and distinct. In our post-industrial society, differentiated talents should be valued. Nurturing students’ diverse creative intelligences – we hope – will produce adults who are open to innovation and interdisciplinary cooperation. In his TED talk, Robinson doesn’t really suggest how to go about doing this, but his message is worthwhile. It is something I’ll think about as I begin my career as an educator – a career that I believe will help me finally get out of my head and utilize some of that innate creativity that has lain dormant for too long!