Thursday, August 25, 2011

First Aid to Humanity

A Level II student from our recent San Francisco Orff Course wrote the following letter, inspired by watching our Salzburg Orff group perform:

“This is what struck me the most at the course, those kids playing so in tune with nature's force. And by playing I do not mean the action, but their attitude, their joyfulness and attraction! An education that unifies spirit, mind and body is what I (we all) need, and I am pleased that your School is a great example for it.”

He then sent a piece he wrote inspired by that experience. How grateful I am to have a student like this, someone with such a keen intelligence and caring heart and expressive power. He is from Barcelona and speaks Catalan and Spanish, so his English here is at least his third language. And yet he captures so beautifully all the things I have cared about since I spent 3rd grade in the hall and principal’s office and thought that something was off in schools.

And so here is my first guest columnist. His name is Roger Sans and if you’d like to comment on this excerpt from his article (reprinted with his permission), feel free to write at:

Meanwhile, I’m off to the 4th day of my Vancouver jazz class to help heal some wounds from a dull and cruel education. Enjoy!

The Pedagogical Revolution: Roger Sans

We are telling our children that love is a fraud when we do not offer it unconditionally to everyone.

We are telling our children that life is a misery when we do not act against any kind of injustice in the world’s community.

We are telling our children that they are weak and stupid when we do not let them observe, express and create their own world and looking at things.

We are telling our children that education is dullness, nothing more than the replication and imitation of a vast amount of knowledge, formulas and techniques.

So it is obvious that this kind of education may not be nurturing healthy humans, as it cancels all creative power, alienates individuals, focuses only on the value of the result and does not focus on the quality of the process, and removes all sense of love and beauty. This kind of education may be very well called as unhealthy education.

Education should not be like this.

Education should strive to be a development of the own personality through a process that starts from the exploration of the individual and the team work. The natural way humans have developed to educate themselves is in the experience of playing. Playing is a very profound process that appears naturally in children, and as we grow we tend to fall in our individual dramas and mind sets that erase this powerful mechanism of evolution from our lives.

Education must be the experience of a healthy human being. It needs to empower creativity, the sense of community, value the quality of the process more than the results obtained, and it needs to be joyful and fun. This kind of education may be called healthy education -the education through playing.

By contrast, a bad education may be comparable to a crime or to a mortal virus for humanity. Untrained pedagogues are a risk for humanity as they may nurture unhealthy humans. A good pedagogue is to humanity what the greatest profit is in the market, the greatest possible insurance for the evolution of humanity.

The experience of children must be the best possible playing, a healthy and mentored playing, to ensure a healthy coming humanity, and we are all able to cooperate to make this possible by rescuing this magical sense of playing.

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