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Learning at its Best

What Season Is It?

It’s almost fall and we all know this. But how? Particularly how will our students know? Will it be the paper leaves that comes out of boxes and get taped to our cinder block walls? Or will it be because they are having the bounty of fresh foods available from a school garden or local farm? Will they talk to a farmer and hear about the harvest? Will they partake in the picking? Will they know because they sit outside during morning meeting and reflect on the weather, the light? Will they notice the change of bird calls and know the patterns of migratory birds because of this?

How will we authentically bring our students into contact with the reality outside? How will we build upon and draw out the tacit knowledge that is our natural selves?

About Adam Burk

Adam aims to serve the greater good; alleviate unnecessary suffering; and create beautiful, sane human communities in concert with the living planet. Recently, he has helped to rebuild local food systems in Maine in large part through school food services, organized the TEDxDirigo conference, and is a digital organizer with the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA).


6 thoughts on “What Season Is It?

  1. Here in Phoenix, the only way we know it is fall is the dying light. The kids know this despite school. They trust what they feel. They run around at night and learn quickly that play time is ending earlier. Schools toss models at kids – here’s a globe being tilted and a sun and a picture of the sun and earth tilted and a book about changing leaves . . . and none of it makes sense to a first grader who knows intuitively that the light is dying.

    Posted by John T. Spencer | September 14, 2011, 10:46 am
    • Yes! And what is done to cultivate this inherent connection to our home the cosmos? You mention what the schools do to disrupt the connection, but how can we further it? It doesn’t have to be Woodstock for first graders, but what are the ways we can strengthen the connections while also supporting scientific literacy?

      Posted by Adam Burk | September 14, 2011, 10:53 am
      • Sometimes it’s small acts – gardens, visiting a local farm, asking questions about what they see, leading students on walks. I agree, it doesn’t have to be HippieVille meets Farmville.

        Posted by John T. Spencer | September 14, 2011, 11:40 am
  2. We’ve been going out frequently in the morning, but talking first – why? I don’t know. Here’s to talking outdoors and moving more of our class time into the sunlight.

    I wonder how our mechanistic and technological biases in public education are nurtured by the plight of urban schools built apart from the “country” and the plight of rural schools told to catch up with suburban counterparts. I hope we’ll see an increase of local control over public schools that leads to a tantamount freedom to reengage with the world and people around us.


    Posted by Chad Sansing | September 14, 2011, 5:12 pm
  3. I hope that we teach our children and our students how to trust their inner knowledge. Children between 9-12 have an inherent connection to the rhythms of nature, it just needs to be fueled. This can be done in an infinite number of ways (there are some great examples here), just let it be done!

    Posted by ambersk | September 14, 2011, 5:50 pm

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