Helen Keller | Curious mind & Courageous Heart | Soaring Because of No Social Cues

It occurs to me why Helen Keller was so ahead of her time, bold in her statements and fearless in her ways, because she never had any social cues telling her that she COULDN’T; no discouragement from the raising of an eyebrow, blatant condemnation, the subtle changes in a person’s voice, body language that expresses disapproval. Having said that, I really haven’t read about her life, the family environment she was brought up in or what strengths of spirit those around her had. She didn’t have sight, hearing or speech to put her into a tentative or fearful place. And with lack of social admonishments or critiques, she soared to greater heights than most people…who learn to be meek, insecure or unsure of themselves because of the feedback that others may give them.

Helen Keller quote security is a superstition

Helen Keller quote security is a superstition


It occurred to me when I pulled out an image I have accompanied by one of my favorite quotes by her about security. I thought of how people are trained to behave, cued to keep quiet, blocked by ridicule through tone of a voice or body language…
Helen Keller Life is a daring adventure or nothing

Helen Keller Life is a daring adventure or nothing


I love these quotes and look forward to reading more.

Body and the Brain | Expeditionary Learning | Montessori ‘Hands-on’ Learning

Back when I was on my way hitchhiking to San Francisco in 2012, I encountered some teachers who had just attended a conference on the subject of Expeditionary Learning. I wrote about it. https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/hitchabout-san-francisco_expeditionary_learning/

Several days ago the subject of Montessori schools and hands-on learning popped up. I had to investigate if these are in fact, two ways of saying the same thing. I have a feeling that they are. Well, ‘jein’ as a German would say, ja und nein (yes and no) together! They are and they aren’t the same. They are two distinct schools of learning, yet, quite parallel and sort of extensions or facets of one another – in that they are each rigorously proponents of hands-on, getting intimately involved in the entire scope of learning about a subject, interdisciplinary and relying on your own curiosity to motivate you to further investigation. Both involve exploring cooperatively as a group and diving into the whole scope, rather than slicing off disparate parts.

Expeditionary Learning?

what is Expeditionary Learning?

The area of study is called embodied learning.

As young children move and explore their worlds, they are learning through touch. Early bimanual training correlates with the robustness of the corpus callosum, a part of the brain that facilitates quick communication between the left and right brain hemispheres.

 

 

Just as body movement and involvement can have a huge impact on learning, so too can the spaces where we learn.

 

Corpus Callosum neural fibers connecting two cerebral hemispheres, brain

Corpus Callosum neural fibers connecting two cerebral hemispheres of the brain

Mind Shift, Kids, Move, Touch, Experience.Learning

Mind Shift – Why Kids Need to Move, Touch and Experience to Learn

 

 

This article featured on KQED news written by Katrina Schwartz March 26th, 2015 “Why Kids Need to Move, Touch and Experience to Learn” describes how Maria Montessori, founder of Montessori Schools, highlighted the connection between minds and bodies in her 1936 book The Secret of Childhood “Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside.

 

 

Through movement we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas.”

Maria Montessori was best known for her philosophy of education that bears her name. It is an educational approach based on the model of human development.

I see that yes, Expeditionary Learning is an extension of what the Montessori school education is for children at a younger age. The Montessori Method are classes which consist of children of different ages together in what resembles more of a real world environment. The younger children (age 3 to 5) focus their ‘work’ on materials that develop cognition through seeing, tasting, smelling and touch through direct experience. Elementary-age children in the upper grades shift away from the concrete (sensory) to focus more on abstract tasks. The materials and curriculum are inter-disciplinary, and children begin to apply their knowledge to the real world. For example, students may study a map of Europe, and not only learn about it in terms of geography, but also incorporate learning about art and history of the continent; a process which allows the topic to be studied from the whole, not merely discrete separate parts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expeditionary_learning_schools (ELS) are models of comprehensive school reform based on the educational ideas of German educator Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound. There are more than 150 expeditionary learning schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia. They are exemplified by project-based learning expeditions, where students engage in interdisciplinary, in-depth study of compelling topics, in groups and in their community in which the students become involved with real topics, in real communities, involving the various different subjects that otherwise would be isolated and sliced out of the entire picture. The emphasis is on people working together and involvement in the whole picture.

History class, ELS, students, curiosity

History class ELS NY students create projects suggested by their own curiosity

Open World Learning http://open.spps.org/expeditionary_learning informs us that Expeditionary Learning is built on ten design principles that reflect the educational values and beliefs of Outward Bound. These principles also reflect the design’s connection to other related thinking about teaching, learning, and the culture of schools.

1. Primacy of self-discovery – Learning happens best with emotion, challenges and support…students undertake tasks that require perseverance, fitness, craftsmanship, imagination, self-discipline, and significant achievement. A teacher’s primary task is to help students overcome their fears and discover they can do more than they think they can.

2. Having wonderful ideas – Fostering curiosity about the world and giving students something important to think about, experiment and make sense of what they are observing.

3. Responsibility for Learning – Learning is both a personal process of discovery and social activity. It encourages both children and adults to become increasingly responsible for directing their own personal and collective learning.

4. Empathy and Caring – Students’ and teachers’ ideas are respected and where there’s mutual trust. Out of the hierarchy, into having an adult being an advocate and older students mentoring younger ones.

5. Success and Failure – Students need to be successful to build confidence and the capacity to take risks and meet increasingly difficult challenges. Yet students must learn from their failures and learn how to turn obstacles into opportunities.

6. Collaboration and Competition – Students are encouraged to compete against their personal best, not against each other. Individual and group development are encouraged and integrated towards valuing friendship, trust and group action.

7. Diversity and Inclusion – Students investigate and value their different histories and talents as well as those of other communities and cultures. They recognize that diversity and inclusion increase the richness of ideas, creative thinking and problem solving.

8. Natural World – A direct and respectful relationship with the natural world refreshes the human spirit and teaches the important ideas of recurring cycles and cause and effect. Students learn to become stewards of the earth and of future generations.

9. Solitude and Reflection – Students and teachers need time alone to explore their own thoughts, make their own connections and foster their own ideas and thinking, They can then exchange these reflections with others.

10. Service and Compassion – We are crew, not passengers. Students and teachers are strengthened by acts of consequential service to others, and one of an Expeditionary Learning school’s primary functions is to prepare students with the attitudes and skills to learn from and be of service.

My Body is Contained Within the Limitlessness of My Soul | Jim Carrey Commencement Address

Every once in a while I post the exact same blog simultaneously on each of my sites. This is one of those times. It occurs when I come across something that I feel is so profound and important, that it must be shared.

It is this! Jim Carrey’s Commencement Address to the 2014 graduating class of Maharishi University (MUM).

Jim Carey’s Secret of Life The Journey of Purpose

Jim Carey’s Secret of Life The Journey of Purpose

I’m obviously big on the subject matter of Jim Carrey’s speeches, as I’d posted a blog referencing one this past summer. https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/love-over-fear-jim-carrey-supermoon-hitchabout-lakota-sioux-secret-within/ Same-same, but different. I also recently wrote about a similar subject; matters of heart and choosing love over fear. https://digesthis.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/addendum-to-journey-in-space-time-ignited-by-matters-of-heart-epigenetics-heartmath/

Jim Carrey announces that he’s found his ministry in the Church of Freedom from Concern (FFC)

You can spend your whole life worrying about ghosts and about the path to the future.

So many of us choose our path out of fear, disguised as practicality. He mentions that his father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that it was possible for him. Instead, he took the conservative path and chose a safe job as an accountant. And ironically was sooner than later ‘let go’ by the firm. Point of the story:

You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance in doing what you love.

Carrey says I’m here to plant a seed, to help you move forward in life.

Will that seed be allowed to take root? Or will you be forced by Monsanto to use their seed? which causes knowing laughter to ripple through the audience.

Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. Ask the universe for it!

sunset

sunset


He goes on to say, I used to believe that who I was, ended at the edge of my skin. Then I learned that everything outside the vehicle is part of me too! We have no limits…you can’t contain the container.

How can you serve the world?

Look at what the world needs, that your talent can provide.

The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.

Finding true peace lies beyond personality, beyond the perception of others, invention and disguise, beyond effort itself.

• To find real peace, you have to let the armor go.

• Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world.

• Don’t let anything stand in the way of the light that shines through this form!

• Risk being seen in all of your glory.

• The imagination is always manufacturing scenarios, both good and bad. The ego tries to keep you trapped in the multiplex of the mind.

• Our eyes are not merely viewers, they are also projectors, running a second story over the picture.

• Fear is writing the script; the working title “I’ll never be enough.”

• How tricky this ego is, with the promise of something, that we already possess!

• Let the universe know what you want, and work toward it, while letting go of how it comes about.

• Your job is not to figure out how it’s going to happen, but to open the door in your head. Then when the door appears in your life, just walk through it.

• Don’t worry if you miss your cue, there are always doors opening.

Take a chance on faith. Not religion, but faith. Not hope, but faith.
He says I don’t believe in hope. Hope is a beggar.

Hope walks through the fire and faith leaps over it.

Carol among crowd in New York city attending a Make Music New York event at Times Square presented by Yoko Ono

Carol among crowd in New York city attending a Make Music New York event at Times Square presented by Yoko Ono

Carol Keiter, blogger, Make Music New York,Times Square, Yoko Ono

Carol Keiter the blogger in New York city attending a Make Music New York event at Times Square presented by Yoko Ono

A letter to my sister | preciousness of life | Carl Sagan: freedom through scientific skepticism

I am certainly happy to hear from you. Naturally I think about you every time that I enter the room to look at the lovely paper lanterns you hung for Mother’s birthday party and the teepee you constructed in the yard – which I‘m still raking! Memories of things people share and artifacts that they leave behind imbue all of these things with the spirit of the person. I am sorry that we had difficulties communicating at times. I have not been ‘above’ reacting emotionally to someone’s emotional reactions towards me. However, that doesn’t mean that I can not attempt to move beyond my reactions to reach out with more compassion and understanding. 

I went out with a family friend last night and afterwards, realized that he knows even more profoundly how precious life is, as he has lost both of his parents. Certainly, if we all had an acute awareness of death (sitting on our shoulders) – Carlos Castaneda style i.e. “the Teachings of Don Juan” – in each response to every moment, we would never be anything but kind to all people and creatures, at all times.

That sounds like a pretty heavy way to live. The context is not, to be continually fearful, but rather, continually present with the fact that every moment of life is precious. People need to accept the rights of other’s to be and perceive as they will. It is a rather large task, to put differences and competitiveness, jealousy, envy and judgments … aside. Yet it’s the only way for everyone to get along. (I just read in Salon dot com a rather scathing article about the writer Carlos Castaneda, saying that Don Juan was not only an astounding hoax, but that Castaneda went on to form a bizarre cult.) He nevertheless had strong poetic and spiritual points to emphasize in his writings.

It’s pretty much a life-long task, given the fact that all humans have a tendency to subjectively interpret and judge other peoples’ actions. I do it, we all do it, from personal complaints, grievances, expectations, disappointments on up to community and cultural, political and religious differences of interpretation, that result in the worst cases to prolonged wars and strife between ethnic groups and neighboring countries.

This appears to be one of the biggest challenges and aspirations for humankind; to look beyond differences and strive for understanding, compassion and kindness. The ‘tree-hugger/environmental activist side of me’ is kicking out judgements every time I see people’s actions or material opulence (not to mention hearing about plans for more gas drilling in the arctic etc.) which I perceive as offensive. I put them into a box I label offender/perpetrator; a personal judgement which is my own way of playing in the ‘us against them’ scenario. So, I’m as guilty as anyone. The obvious extreme is the fact that people are blowing each other up in the Middle East …. and that wars and conflicts and ominous actions of manipulation continue to proliferate worldwide, despite the fact that most humans have access to rather extraordinary tools.

We are technologically light years ahead of where we are emotionally!

As Carl Sagan mentions in this interview “A Way of Thinking” in which he delivers insights into the dangers in our present culture; based on the fact that we’re a science and technology-based culture, the inner workings of which few comprehend. That puts us in a position in which we are in danger of being more easily manipulated.

Sagan points out that science is a way of skeptically interrogating the universe. And that it’s dramatically important for each of us to ask skeptical questions about everything, particularly to those in authority; otherwise we are up for grabs to the next charlatan, political or religious, that comes along. He mentions that Thomas Jefferson said that people need to be educated in order to practice their skepticism, otherwise ‘we don’t run the government, the government runs us’.