Miss tree turtle
(Cleis Abeni)

Reimagining the

with Miss tree turtle

To say that our crisis requires new kinds of educating does not merely mean that we need to teach new or better content. Surely, there are new skills and knowledge required for this new world that is emerging. But how, precisely, does one prepare for a world so radically different? Before we can even discuss the learning process, we must think about the space in which we are learning. For it is the space that offers us the metaphor for the world.

Let us remember how the one room schoolhouse functions. While one room school houses surely aren’t perfect, they do understand exactly the function they serve: a learning context – a little world – that is an expression of values.

The most important question one can ask, therefore, at this moment of planetary crisis, is what are the values that ought to shape a classroom at this moment? What are the principles that ought to guide us to deal with the crisis – inner and outer; ecological, political, economic?

It is curious that so much has gone into shaping a classroom without ever really asking why. In other words, we invest a great deal of time and money into desks, computers, buildings. But have we ever considered the lessons that are taught with those materials and the way they are arranged? We have doubled down, as it were, on patterns of movement and communication – lining up for recess, raising hands to speak – without ever considering how those patterns will be played out in the world beyond the school.

As you may notice, this isn’t really about a classroom or about a school. It’s about how to create a little world, a microcosm of the world we hope to create. In this sense, I refer to both the beginning and end of a recursive learning process. We begin with a classroom shaped by these principles (microcosm) and hope to end with a world shaped by them (macrocosm).

With this in mind, we are discussing a set of principles, metaphors, if you will, for the values of the world we hope to create. Each example will provide the values that will inform how learning spaces are structured.

Reimagining the Classroom
– By Theodore Richards

Guest Bio

Miss Cleis Abeni (tree turtle) is the Co-Director (Co-CEO) of Wisdom Projects, Inc. and the Director (CEO) of the Baltimore Wisdom Project. A former nurse, STEM educator, writer, designer, and editor, she is a longtime nonprofit executive, teacher, and healer who uplifts peace, contemplation, and compassion in all that she does.

A Conversation With Miss tree turtle

by Theodore Richards