(4) PROCESS: INTEGRATIVE LEARNING
Entry: Isaac Levine
LC24 – Washington, USA
Taking integrative learning further, the boundaries between humans and other living forms—and eventually non-living forms—fades away. That is the lesson of the Universe story: we all have a shared history, stretching billions of years into the past, and we are all manifestations of the Universe unfolding as it is happening. Transformed by such a perspective, individuals find themselves inexorably tied to the systems surrounding them at all scales—from the systems of organs that run the human body to ecosystems to the cosmic dance of the galaxies—which may equip people to take responsibility for the changes and feedback loops that will be deciding factors for the continuation of life in the Ecozoic era.
Response: Philip Snow Gang (Faculty)
This is the reason why we contextualize the program through the lens of cosmology and ecology.
Entry: Lorie Federman
LC24 – Colorado, USA
Integrative learning is infinite. It holds the boundless energy and wisdom of the Universe. This means that it is cyclical in nature, sharing the attributes of creation, always feeding back on itself. It makes maximum use of body, mind, and spirit. It considers all possibilities, resulting in creativity, humility, and a sense of boundless wisdom in the learner.
Integrative learning begins with a question, a wondering. This morning, as I asked myself, “What is Integrative Learning?” two birds alit on the cottonwoods behind my house. That moment inspired a thought, a question, imploring me to wonder about flight, feathers, and animal instinct. Like a mind map, my thoughts branched out, from feathers and wings to awe and connection. I entered the world of biophilia.
My walk around the lake brought a shouting gull, and questions about our relationships with our young. All living things have a purpose and are equipped to fulfill that purpose. This is at the heart of integrative learning. This brief observation had the power to bring wonder, about the sense of place of all living things, about the invention of human flight, about water, machines, nourishment, life, death, intelligence, and the space between all things.
The integrative “teacher” of children or adults provides opportunities for learning. He or she creates an environment of limitless possibilities, guiding the learner with grace and allowance. The guide’s inner environment is one of loving detachment from the student. He or she allows possibilities to emerge, without judgment or assumption. A love and understanding of the cosmos encourages trust in the process.
Entry: Patricia Payne-Qureshi
LC24 – New York, USA
During my studies here at TIES, I have lived integrative learning by taking knowledge and information from many different sources in order to grow and move forward as a person and as an educator. This process has consisted of me becoming more in tune to the world around me and discovering, creating, and developing many layers and connections.
Entry: Kark Schlobohm
LC23 – South Carolina, USA
Not only has the content of my knowledge grown over the past 18 months, but so has my concept of processing this information in the creation and internalization of a new knowledge base. I have always been aware of the infinite wisdom and beauty found in the natural world, but until TIES, I have never even able to deduce more specific, academically-oriented methods of gathering or acquiring that natural wisdom.
Entry: Sarah Etherington
LC23 – Thailand and Victoria, Canada
TIES has shown me that knowledge is not a “thing” you impart. It is instead, a relationship you become a part of. Knowledge is an experience. Knowledge is not about the acquisition of facts and figures. It is a continual exchange of ideas, feedback, thoughts, and actions. And the more multi-faceted the exchange—the more players in the dance—the deeper the knowledge can grow. Knowledge comes when we let go of control and become open to learning from everyone and everything around us. It is an expansion of spirit.
Entry: Yolanda Romanelli
LC23 – Texas, USA
Over the duration of my studies, my relationship to knowledge has changed. Now I believe that knowledge is much more situational rather than fixed and constant. Knowledge, like chaos, is constantly being created and it is always changing. Knowledge is also very different depending on perspectives and situations. My relationship to knowledge has affected my perspective on what I think I know as well as my stance on what I believe to be reality. It also has affected my perspective of my peers and colleagues at my school. It has helped me to be more accepting of other ideas, realizing that there is not a definition of exactness that we all must follow when it comes to Montessori’s philosophies and practices—there are many ways for everything.
Entry: Amy Ma
LC23 – California, USA
I discovered that knowledge needs to connect and apply to our own daily life in order to experience growth. Throughout my studies, I have grown the most when I shared my reading with my family at the dinner table. I have found this very rewarding, especially when a dialogue began to engage one another’s passion at that moment in time. For me, further exploration came with more reading and reflections.
Entry: Mehtap Yavuz
LC23 – Ontario, Canada
I learned that there is neither punishment nor reward, but instead work satisfaction and knowledge itself. This brings to my mind the work of Montessori, who promoted learning as a self-satisfying act with its own reward.
Entry: Nerys Loveridge
LC17 – Kalba, United Arab Emirates
The basic tenets of the Montessori system, as presented by Mario Montessori, are the importance of abandoning traditional notions of the transference of knowledge, followed by the crucial role of choice in the learning process, enabling learners to direct their own learning within an environment providing structured opportunities.
Entry: Teresa Angeles
LC17 – Washington, USA
In a dissertation for her degree as Doctor of Philosophy in Human Development and Family Studies at Oregon State University, Kathleen Lloyd reported on recent scholarly discussions entitled: Maria Montessori’s Theory of Normalization In Light of Emerging Research in Self-Regulation. In this dissertation, she reviews discussion about whether self-regulation can be considered an outcome of the Montessori curriculum:
One hundred years ago, Maria Montessori observed that when the environment was designed to promote concentration, children went through a transformative process, which she referred to as normalization. Without a clear understanding of Montessori’s theoretical perspective, research scholars are not able to isolate distinguishing characteristics that can assess self-regulation as an outcome of the curriculum nor can they adequately compare this approach with other forms of education. By introducing Montessori’s theory of normalization and analyzing it as a theory of self-regulation, this study has created a conceptual framework to articulate the governing characteristics and educational principles necessary to enhance practices that support the development of self-regulation in early childhood (Lloyd, 2008).
Entry: Eric Parish
LC19 – California, USA
I observed moments in the video of my research when I gave information that was not absolutely necessary. I understand that this can complicate the lesson, and as of late, I have been able to observe myself giving too much information, perhaps going outside of the realm of the lesson itself, and confusing the child. I must remind myself to keep it simple. I look toward the words of Montessori (1929/1964) when she stated, “And such is our duty toward the child: to give a ray of light and to go on our way” (p. 115).
Entry: Demeter Dharma Russafov
LC20 – Port-au-Prince, Haiti
My conception of knowledge and the various complexities involved in it has evolved considerably during my TIES study, partially due my life experiences and lessons learnt while I have lived and worked in Haiti, but also as a result of the learning process that TIES initiated. To a great extent, this evolution is grounded in the emerging understanding that all knowledge is contextual, and made only richer through the vivid experiences and experimentation of the person at the center of learning. I used to focus more on the shell of learning—the outcomes and the perfection of its results—and now I have begun exploring more of the process itself, with its riches of imperfect glitches and experiments, with the creative chaos infusing it with unpredictability and spontaneity. My relationship to knowledge has thus become less formalized, more intimate and intuitive, more heart-felt and experiential.
Entry: Chris Gillaspie
LC21 – Texas, USA
I have attached my research paper to this email. Thank you again for facilitating such a transformative process. While the eCampus has been relatively quiet lately as we pursue our final stretch, there is still so much learning taking place as well as so much more work to be done.
With this paper, as with my previous papers, I began with apprehension as to the scope and direction. As I began to write, the concepts seemed to come to me almost as if much of what I have learned has been deeply internalized as opposed to simply learned. I hope that I have done this experience justice with this research paper.