Posts

Engaged Community: A new book by Jon McAlice

“All education is self-education and, as teachers, we can only provide the environment for children’s self-education...where children can educate themselves according to their own destinies.” —Rudolf Steiner (1923)

Based on many years working in Anthroposophy and in Waldorf schools, and drawing extensively on Rudolf Steiner’s words, Jon McAlice’s radical, thought-provoking book opens the ­ field for a new vision of the collaborative possibilities available in schools that are established and sustained by parents and teachers for the sake of students.

Seeking to shift the conversation concerning school governance from a structural to a dynamic approach, McAlice emphasizes learning as a multileveled process of becoming. As he puts it, “a school is a working community dedicated to the art of becoming”—a community in which students and adults participate in the ­difficult task of creating a free, self-governing ecology of learning. For this, the adults must learn to trust one another and develop confidence in collegiality. Understanding the guidance of their common task, they must ­find the humility and honesty to listen without judgment and to speak with authenticity. To create a context in which “children can practice the art of self-education,” educators must themselves become examples of self-governing, creative, responsible human beings, committed to learning and self-development through encounters in which content and process merge in an experience of absolute freedom. Thus something new becomes possible.

McAlice shows how such an ideal can become a reality when parents, teachers, and students all work and learn together for the common goal of becoming more fully human within a dynamic, engaged, participatory learning community.

Engaged Community provides anyone involved in Waldorf education with the appropriate tools and language to take the hard work of dialog and conversation to a higher level.

"This is not a book with a recipe for governance in Waldorf schools. Jon McAlice has written a book about the "challenges" of governance in Waldorf schools in the context of the "mission" of Waldorf education. His book is a meditation on this relationship, and urges us to embrace the challenge free from our preconceived notions of how Waldorf schools "should" be run: to look at what is needed now, in our current situations, in our individual schools. At the same time, he shines a light on the manifold opportunities for growth, change, and development that are possible when we embrace this challenge." —Kevin Hughes, Waldorf teacher (26 years at Kimberton Waldorf School—as a class teacher, art teacher, and now member of the “governing team”)

 

New Meeting Forms: LeadTogether Highlight #3 9-1-2014

Dear Colleagues,

In our latest newsletter we explore ways to plan and prepare for meetings. But are there different ways to meet that facilitate maximum involvement and exchange of ideas? World Café and Open Space are two relatively new ways of meeting that can do this . Here is a description of both of the meeting formats and some tips on how to make them a successful part of your organization meeting life. These and other ideas about successful meetings found in our resource library are from a new booklet, Building Regenerative Communities, compiled by Mary Christenson and Marianne Fieber. This helpful new booklet is available free in our resource section, thanks to the authors and the Mid States Shared Gifting Group. (click here for the article)

Keep in touch.

Michael Soule

LeadTogether

New Meeting Forms: Open Space and World Cafe

Excerpt from Building Regenerative Communities: Open Space and World Café. (download the whole booklet here)

Open Space This is an open form of meeting where passion and responsibility are combined to empower participants by allowing agenda topics to arise from the group. A facilitator is only visible when the meeting needs re-opening. There are a series of laws or principles to consider with an “open space” meeting. Two of these are:  The law of two feet: If you find yourself in a situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, move somewhere where you can. This is a law like the law of gravity. You can choose to notice it or not, but it's safer just to notice it.  The four principles: Whoever comes are the right people; whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened; when it starts is the right time; and when it’s over, it's over. These aren't prescriptive—they are the results of thousands of little experiments. The link below will take you to further explanations about Open Space. http://www.openspaceworld.org/cgi/wiki.cgi?OpenSpaceExplanations ~Marianne Fieber

The World Café Using seven design principles and a simple method, the World Café is a powerful social technology for engaging people in conversations that matter, offering an effective antidote to the fast-paced fragmentation and lack of connection in today's world. This approach to conversation creates several smaller, intimate groups within a larger group to discuss one question, thereby giving more people an opportunity to dialogue. Based on the understanding that conversation is the core process that drives personal, business, and organizational life, the World Café is more than a method, process or technique. It's a way of thinking and being together sourced in a philosophy of conversational leadership. http://www.theworldcafe.com/tools.html

Building Regenerative Communities: Strength in Collaboration

From the Introduction

Our intention in creating the guide is to facilitate conversations which promote deeper understanding, trust and community within and between organizations. We feel that such interaction may lead people to discover ways to collaborate that foster associative endeavors, perhaps discovering ways to share resources to support each others work.

The Guide provides a starting point for calling a circle and highlights a variety of tools from which to choose for setting up conversations. It contains several case studies which provide the content to initiate conversation. There are additional web, print and video resources to inspire and urge participants into deep discussion around themes of regenerative communities, associative economics and cultural renewal.

It is given freely and may be shared broadly. It may be posted on websites to encourage its availability.  ~ Mary Christenson and Marianne Fieber, June 2014

Download the guide here:   Building Regenerative Communities_Conversation and Resource Guide.final

How Spiritual Organizations Develop – LeadTogether Highlight #4 9-8-14

Dear Colleagues

What are the natural developmental phases of spiritually based communities and organizations? Bernard Lievegoed, one of the early leaders of organizational development work and long-time Director of the Anthroposophical Training Organization, NPI, in Holland, wrote “ The Developing Organization" in 1973 in which he outlined the phases of development of organizations. In 1988 he offered a new booklet to clarify his thoughts about the difference between the phases that economic businesses and educational institutions go through. Lievegoed offers that spiritually focused organizations involved in human development don’t follow the typical phases of pioneer, administration and integration, but develop in a much more organic fashion, from their early development through growth and into maturity. This booklet, “Institutions of the Spiritual Life” provides insights to better understand how the growth and development of our institutions unfold over time. We have added the booklet into our resource collection for you. (We've put it into a format so you can print it out as a booklet.)   Find it here.

Keep in touch.

Michael Soule

 Keep in touch, Michael Soule LeadTogether