Outward Bound seems to be such a bit influence in my life this year. From Katherine, my dearest friend from when I first trained for Outward Bound, joining me in Nepal to Mike and Beth meeting me for climbing and trekking in South America — OB seems to keep playing a big role in my adventures. But — my latest connection has been pretty inspiring!
I am in Gurgaon, a city outside of Delhi, visiting The Heritage School, a pre-K-12 school that focuses on expeditionary learning and has a strong OB connection. The school draws from a variety of progressive educational philosophies, but most importantly, they all connect and make sense. For instance, they draw from the Gandhi idea [paraphrased here, hopefully correctly] that students can/should learn from working in their communities — for example, that if you study with a master carpenter in your village and learn that trade, then you have learned all that content (which sounds a lot like Ron Berger’s classroom, to me). They also use EL practices in their classroom — today I met with 20-25 teachers and talked about how we use expeditions a Renaissance and how we organize our curriculum. We laughed over shared frustrations and challenges of being an EL teacher and shared some good ideas. It was fun to feel so connected to teachers half way around the world.
And, as if that wasn’t cool enough, the SUPER cool thing about the school is that they have a very strong outward bound program. From grade 4 up (to 12) the students go out on an expedition — it might be bird watching or going to the desert — or trekking in the mountains or a river expedition. Each expedition has a case study — so not only are they learning the really cool things like team work and importance of persevering, but they are also learning science and social studies and math and language arts while out there. SO COOL!!!! it is like my dream job — right there! 🙂
They have rolled out the red carpet for me — organizing three days of visits to classrooms, sitting in on meetings, meeting with directors, taking me out for fancy dinners — it is amazing. I feel so blessed. I am staying at the home of one of the coordinators – she is AWESOME! She has two teenage kids — one 18 year old, senior who does open school — meaning she studies on her own. And one 15 year old who goes to the heritage school. They are both so fun and warm and friendly. It is great to get a glimpse of Indian culture this way. The first night I got here — Meenu and I sat around eating snacks and have some drinks until 9 when she realized that we should go eat — and off to a restaurant we went — and did not go to sleep until mid-night! It was so fun! And i cannot believe the hospitality and generosity they are showing me… i told them they have to come the US and visit Renaissance.
Tomorrow my schedule is full, as is Saturday. And then Meenu is going to take me shopping! 🙂 Love it.
I will have more to write and say — I am just so excited and inspired about the work they are doing here. My brain is full — lots of good thoughts! I am off to sleep now, as tomorrow will be busy.
Take care friends — much love — aurora