One-Straw Education

Masanobu Fukuoka was the godfather of modern permaculture… he developed the idea of natural farming and demonstrated that it was possible to live an abundant, satisfying life with a minimum of effort.  His ideas can easily be transposed into education.

masanobu-fukuoka-1728x800_c

In his deeply inspiring “The One-Straw Revolution”, we find a One-Straw Revolution which is not so much about food or farming but the attitude by which he came to his realisations… Fukuoka manages to show the full potential of agriculture when we allow nature to do what it does best.  The less we interfere and work in harmony with the forces and cycles of nature… the more we are free to enjoy the bounty of what existence can share with us.  He clearly demonstrates how farmers who depend upon technological means of production have a very low quality of life compared to the peaceful existence he enjoyed until the ripe old age of 95.

Natural farming refutes the need for artificial fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and the arduous digging and weeding of the soil.  One doesn’t need to ‘prepare’ the earth which naturally brings forth a bountiful supply of food.  In the absence of trust, human beings go to great lengths, using practically all of their time in corralling life into doing what it does best.  Fukuoka realised that the earth will thrive and provide ample resources to meet our needs creating enough leisure time to permit a very high quality of life.  As soon as we begin to tamper with nature and place demands on it, urging plants to ripen before their ready or to look a certain way, grow to a specific size… we lose time, we lose money and we lose heart.

Applying the principles of the One-Straw Revolution to education, what would natural education look like?  How does nature develop the human mind?  Have humans had to consciously apply effort in the development of intelligence and the pursuit of knowledge?

We can answer emphatically: “No!”

Learning is child’s play… literally.  All the sages of history have highlighted the necessary conditions for the acquisition of understanding… the beginner’s mind.  Curiosity naturally flows through human beings when they are placed in environments of freedom and self determination.  Only when we sit expectantly watching the pot does it fail to boil.

Natural farming means we enter into a relationship of trust with the forces of life… we see the cultivation of food in harmony with nature… if we consider the raising of children instead of crops,  how do we best adapt this approach to develop a natural education?

Surely it must begin with the same trust in nature that Fukuoka’s farming demonstrated.  Everywhere  humans interfere with nature, regardless of their intentions and further problems are compounded.  The more we allow nature to fulfil its own destiny, the more we can relax.

Look at all the ways that contemporary education demonstrates this lack of trust by continually preparing the young mind for knowledge.  The fertiliser of contemporary education takes the form of pre-packaged, throw-away information which is only temporarily useful for the developing character.  Information is not retained beyond the year’s harvest (exam time) and must be continuously reapplied to stimulate growth.  In order to focus a student’s mind on learning they are hounded with drills, bells, punishments and discipline-building obedience trials spoiling an otherwise enjoyable and rewarding process that would occur freely if given the opportunity.

Learning is a natural pleasure for all intelligent beings.  Intelligence simply demands variety.  A state of awe and wonder can be observed in all animals who have not been domesticated… who have not been controlled with obedience training nor lived under the threat of fear.   Curiosity arises naturally as a response to the mystery of life.

What we need are mystery schools: temples of learning where the exploration of the endless unfolding of existence is enjoyed by all sections of society.  A child naturally wants to learn without any inhibition or resistance right up until the day they are coerced to learn things for which they have no natural inclination.

Of course, the artful educator has the power to trick a young person into developing a fascination for what they might not have otherwise come to themselves… this process requires an infectious passion and a capacity for seduction… inspiring the student who draws life-affirming enthusiasm from the teacher in the same way plants suck nutrients out of the soil by osmosis.

Just how long will people tolerate sending their children to these backward institutions before they say “This is the last straw.”

the last straw

NB. In recent years I’ve encountered some fervent advocates of ‘un-schooling’ which can look, on the surface, to be an attempt to adapt the process of natural farming to the field of education.  My experience of some parents who employ this approach is that they can make the same mistakes that Fukuoka made when he first took over the running of his family farm.  Refusing to prune the trees in a bountiful orchard, he quickly learned how disastrous the results could be if one abandons the pruning the tress have come to depend on.  Once nature has been interfered with, simply not doing anything will quickly lead to a writhing mess in the garden, his whole orchard was ruined by the sudden withdrawal of attention.  True, he grew other trees which he left to develop according to their own whims and things went much better… but he learned that those ‘civilised’ organisms which have been cultivated by society cannot be abandoned to follow their wild ‘buddha-nature’ without risking a collapse.  Some people mistakenly think that allowing the young people in their care to follow every naturally arising desire they may have will undoubtedly draw them towards the fulfilment of their potential.  I suspect that allowing young people to gorge themselves on computer games, Facebook and as much sugar as they desire may well backfire for those parents who think that to intervene would unquestionably undermine the process of self-discovery.

www.newparadigmeducation.co.uk

School for the Awakening Superhero

The School for the Awakening Superhero is a centre for Self Activated Study… an online community designed to enhance and support our personal learning journeys.

There’s a wide range of discussion groups and courses available as well as support for Home Education.

Click here to find out more…

 

The ethos of the educational support offered is inspired by Sugata Mitra’s theories and pioneering research in self-managed learning.

“Education is a self-organising system where learning is an emergent phenomenon.”

Each meeting is facilitated using Zoom… each month we supply links which you simply have to click to join the meeting on your computer (PC or Mac) or by installing the Zoom app on your smartphone (iPhone or Android).

 

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
19:00 Master Mind Compassionate Communication TerraNova School
20:30 Magic Mondays Catalyst Convention Relationship Support Circle Psycho Book Club
22:00

Introductory Week – FREE ACCESS

Sunday 25th January – Thursday 29th January

For one week only we are offering FREE ACCESS to all of our courses so you can try out the sessions and decide If you would like to participate.  Use this opportunity to ‘suck it and see’.  You will need to register your interest in order to receive the links for the sessions.  Please email us here.

  

Re-pairing the Ruler with Christopher Deojee

Sundays 8pm-10pm, 6 months… £600*

We’re very proud to present this groundbreaking course…

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO EVERYONE SEEKING TO BE THE CHANGE.

We’ve previously hosted 6 full weekend workshops by Christopher Deojee, all on completely different subjects and each of them absolutely exceptional.  This new course is absolutely astounding in its depth and cohesion of penetrating ideas.  We honestly didn’t imagine that Master Deojee would be able to surpass his previous efforts but we’ve been truly bowled over by the insights of the first module alone.  This man is one of the scintillating geniuses of our time.  If you’d like to read more detail about the course, click here.

FREE INTRODUCTION – Sunday 25th January at 8pm.  Please email for links.

 

Magic Mondays with Claudia Burnett

Equipped with endless games that enable us to practice engaging the power of our inner intelligence, this is the Magic.  Claudia’s group serves to help us grow in confidence and develop a flair for bringing what we most desire into this world.  Magic is the means by which ideas move into the manifest realm of sensory delight and sharing the process of exploring and observing how this works makes for an entertaining and life changing point of contact.

FREE INTRODUCTION – Monday 26th January at 8:30pm.  Please email for links.

 

Catalyst Convention

Tuesdays 8:30pm-10pm, monthly subscription – membership or £40*

This discussion group examines a new topic each week so we can share ideas and explore how we can best focus our efforts to make a positive contribution to this world.  Network, investigate, encourage and mutually inspire… this group concentrates on fundamental aspects of life and explores what we can do individually and collectively to help turn the tide towards hope and positive expectation.

FREE INTRODUCTION – Tuesday 27th January at 8:30pm.  Please email for links.

 

Master Mind inspired by Napoleon Hill

Mondays 7pm-8pm, monthly subscription – membership or £100*

The “Master Mind” may be defined as: “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”

In this case, the Master Mind will be focused on the creation of the Evolutionary Educational Environment we’re envisioning.

This group is subject to invitation only following a consultation and strictly for those who are familiar with the work of Napoleon Hill.

 

Compassionate Communication

Wednesdays 7pm-8pm, 13 week course £150*

Learn how to avoid speaking at crossed purposes.  Using “The Language of Life” by Marshall Rosenberg as a guidebook, this course will introduce the major themes of Compassionate Communication.  Dealing with difficulties that arise from miscommunication is both tiresome and time consuming.  Nearly all relationship breakdown comes down to a misunderstanding emanating from the use of language.  There are a number of common speech habits we hear everyday that increase the likelihood of confrontations, learn how to avoid these pitfalls and break the cycle of a lifetime.  The tools you’ll learn during this course will change your life for the better and enable your contribution to this world to happen more smoothly. Peacefully navigating the world of human relationships is a fundamental skill if we truly desire to be the change we wish to see in the world.

FREE INTRODUCTION – Wednesday 28th January at 7pm.  Please email for links.

 

Psycho Book Club – The Road Less Travelled

Thursdays 8:30pm-10pm, monthly subscription – membership or £40*

A fun and collaborative means of exploring psychological material.  Plato and Socrates critiqued the written word and emphasised the importance of dialogue such that philosophy would be a living art and exploration amongst people.  Each week we use sections from this classic piece of self-development literature as a starting point for a discussion intended to enable a more embodied appreciation of the themes evoked. More info: www.psychobookclub.co.uk

FREE INTRODUCTION – Thursday 29th January at 8:30pm.  Please email for links.

 

Terra Nova 

Thursdays 7pm-8pm, membership or monthly subscription £40*

Tamera, a visionary research project in Portugal has a growing international community with participants in over 40 countries.  To encourage research into a realistic utopia, each month they release provocative materials to stimulate discussions and disperse ideas for global healing and transformation.  This group provides an opportunity for people to connect and delve deeper into the subject matter distributed by Terra Nova.

FREE INTRODUCTION – Thursday 29th January at 7pm.  Please email for links.

 

HOME Education Online

Wednesdays 9am – 4pm, membership or monthly subscription £200*

If you’re interested in the possibility of participating in an online one education programme, please get in touch.  We’re considering initiating an experimental programme on Wednesdays.  If your house is equipped with a half decent internet connection, your children may well enjoy participating with other home schoolers in a co-creative exercise in problem solving.  We are particularly interested in enthusing students in the development of core skills like reading, writing and maths through the use of geometry and other practical interfaces. Particular focus is given to critical thinking skills and the development of reasoning, using humour to engage intelligence.  We have been increasingly offering support over the last couple of years to families that have elected home schooling, a rewarding path that presents its own challenges in terms of support and opportunities for intermingling.  This online group would employ ideas inspired by the work of Sugata Mitra to deliver an exciting and empowering experience of education.  If you’re interested in involving young people in your care and would like to know more, please email us here to arrange a conversation via Zoom.

Fees and Membership

All of the courses marked with an asterisk * request a nominal fee for participation aimed at people with a reasonably high level of earnings… but we are dedicated to removing all barriers to education access so we are able to offer bursaries for those who could not afford to join otherwise.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch here to arrange a conversation so we can find a way to help.

We really hope to encourage a collaborative effort this Spring… for those people who are really tempted by multiple courses or would like to participate with the whole programme, have a chat with us about an ‘Access All Areas’ membership, which again, can be offered on a sliding scale or with an exchange of some kind.

 

 

The SAS are: Self Actualised Students, Sharp And Shrewd, Sincere And Soulful, Systematic And Smart, Satirical And Sensitive, Self-disciplined And Skilful, Strange And Sophisticated, Spirited And Sociable, Serious And Silly, Subtle And Suave.