Truth #1: Our guides are not in charge of learning.
The truth is that we transfer this power from the adults in the studio to the students. This is one of the key distinguishing and disruptive elements of our school.
It is “distinguishing” because pushing power from guide (or teacher) to student is a complete reversal of the traditional power structure of schools. It is “disruptive” because this idea forces people to make a personal decision about the purpose of school and the role of the adults in the equation. These questions lure us out of our comfort zone and into a world of “what ifs.”
As parents at Acton Academy we have already jumped into this realm of wide open possibilities for what “school” can mean. Together we have declared that we want something contrary to what the cultural norm offers.
What does this power shift look like?
Part of our work each day is to create an environment that allows students to choose a path of discovery that includes making choices, wrestling with big questions, practicing skills, experiencing self-discipline and rigor, failing, finding passion and moving toward mastery. The goal is that our children will be independent lifelong learners who fully accept that they are responsible decision-makers in their learning; and who will find a calling that helps them live a life rich with meaning.
Stay tuned for “Surprising Truth #2” coming up in my next post. In the meantime, please share and post a story about your experience in parenting a child on a hero’s journey.
Food for thought:
I embrace the vision of the role of teacher and parent in the attached article sent to me by Juan Bonifasi, our beloved founder of Acton Academy Guatemala City. This vision hits at the heart of Acton. I believe it will touch your heart as a parent, as well. http://www.reggioalliance.org/downloads/malaguzzi:ccie:1994.pdf.
When you’ve got 20 minutes and need some inspiration:
Jeff Sandefer’s TEDx talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNQHFim-iBQ