Transforming Me to We: Growing Community In the Learning Garden
Keywords:Keywords: holistic learning environments, cooperative learning , community, mindfulness, social change, student-centered learning
In this paper the author describes how he developed holistic learning environments by employing a variety of community-building approaches. These include: employing mindfulness practices; self-paced, collaborative learning; small-group, cooperative learning; and resolving full-group problems which students themselves identified and participated in solving. These approaches helped promote social change, a shift from me-centered to we-centered classrooms, and nourished an atmosphere of caring. While community building mitigated some problems, it created others. In responding to them, the author utilized approaches described here that focused on deepening community consciousness. The paper concludes with a story of the author’s visit to a school which for him embodied qualities of a true community.