In the following Bob suggests the need to escape from the book centered syndrome and encourage an understanding that a large number of people need and want to be life centered, not focused on the written or spoken word. He believes if higher learning were more multifaceted it would be accessible to all types of people from most cultures of the world. Students could fit in without suppressing their cultural traditions and thought modes.
He also says when higher education is motivated by a desire to increase one's income instead of improving the general well being of the community it has many serious drawbacks and fails to do what is most urgent in our fractured societies, build a desire to strengthen and improve our community and become more community oriented.
Learn to be contributors to a better society
With the right educational environment and with motivated students it is possible to develop outstanding, valuable adults regardless of their previous academic performances. By valuable is meant individuals who excel themselves, not those with a drive to be better than those around them. All students are encouraged to recognize that every person is unique and thus has a special contribution to make to her or his society. which is unlike that of anyone else. They see their special qualities as gifts from life that are to be used to raise up the whole society. In other words they are not students learning a profession to earn more money in order to climb the social and economic ladder. Social advance is to them the improvement of society as a whole including the lot of the poorest and weakest along with that of the gifted and economically swell off. .
The best educational environment is one that temps and challenges the student in many fields of development without frustrating her or him. An unsuccessful experiment should be seen as a learning experience, not a failure. Because the students are spending half or more of their time in real life pursuits they know success is actual accomplishments not just success in passing artificial exams. In such life tests grades are meaningless. .
Learn to be contributors to a better society
Education means gaining greater perspective
The carpenter philosopher, the farmer bioregionalist, the weaver fiber artist, the fisherman are all environmentalists who have their feet planted solidly in reality yet also focus on distant stars. They see life in perspective. They connect the past and future with the present be viewing life as a continuum. They relate their immediate area with the larger community and that with other parts of the world. To them life is an art. Every act, every things can be made beautiful with the right attitude. Song, music, sculpting, designing are expressions of the beauty in life. As a result of their superior education they see life with a more universal perspective. Like nocturnal animals who can see with wave lengths invisible to our eyes their minds are tuned to a wider band of understanding..
A holistic learning environment gives every personality room to flourish
Productivity makes the university self supporting
They learn journalism by producing and selling their own weekly world news magazine. Their fellow students working around the world are also correspondents for it. They learn sustainable energy systems by building solar cookers, and wind generators. They learn economics by running their own businesses. They become skilled managers by taking responsibility, side by side with their experienced mentors, fo their campus communities and the various campuses enterprises and programs. The University is not managed for them. Their is no maintanance crew. They are the ccrews and managers, bookkeeplers and planners..
None of them are stuck in routine mass production programs though everyone may take a stint at an assembly line task. The work is interesting also because all the enterprises produce innovative, not run of the mill, products. The buildings they produce are solar, nature friendly, often using experimental designs and materials such as Portland cement-straw molded elements. Their gardens are intensive, companion planted, highly mulched, earth worm stimulated plots. All aspects of thier life develop better natural health-giving methods. Their south wall solar solarium-greenhouse lean-tos on most buildings buildings, provide good food at their elbows and even produce exotic fruits and help heat the buildigs like a solar cooker.. They where, in the coldest weather, students can experiment and or just enjoy the fragrance of the plants and flowers. Everything they do is some kind of creative trial aimed to develop more gentle and better methods to accommodate our crowded planet with sustainable methods. Thus what they sell is unique -- on the cutting edge of progress, both useful and environmentally friendly..
No glorified high school continuation
Entry prerequisites are very different
From other cultures.
Eager to work with their hands and minds
Each college would function as a kind of village-community. Besides the students there might be an elderly couple who acted as grand parent-mentors and a couple faculty families. There could be 10 to 30 colleges each one under the care of the students, mentors and faculty living in it. Students would be free to participate in the learning activities of any college, and would be encouraged to do so, no matter which one they lived in. .
Products and services produced by each college would be a sharing of products by the entire university. Thus the income from the buildings constructed by the architecture students would go to the entire university budget. The agricultural students would produce much of the food for the whole university and also sell some. The income from the sale of the audio-visual educational CD's would likewise go to the whole university. Thus, although each college ran in some way autonomously, they would all share a common economy. .
The entire university might gather once a week for a special program or speaker or student production in the campus theater. .
One or several years abroad would be part of every student's experience. .
The University would help each student find a working position in another country. After working and adapting to that different culture for a few months the student would make a study trip in the region and write a detailed report of her or his observations. The students abroad would be in correspondence with the faculty person they chose. Each student abroad would also be a correspondent for the university world news..
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Address: Bob Luitweiler, P O Box 28808, Belllingham, WA 98228