Participants testify to the benefits of Re-Imagining Education:
I am thankful to Horace Mann for providing a wonderful opportunity to become acquainted with Social Artistry. The opportunity helped me to implement and share among students and colleagues some ideas like The Possible Student/Teacher/School, The Essential Self, identification of an Inner Crew, deep sensing and listening, mythical imagination and the Trim Tab process for transformation. The practices have brought a positive and supportive learning environment in our school and better awareness and self-management among our students.
Nepalese Educator & Administrator
I am so much better at taking risks both personally and professionally. When the stress of the day becomes encompassing and debilitating, I calm myself down with self-talk or a series of physical exercises taught us in our Social Artistry Conferences. I am now in a much better position to judge and evaluate my projects and daily lessons from a somewhat different perspective—I now try to incorporate the student’s personal interest into the task and acknowledge their passion.
Middle School Life Skills Teacher
Working with a fully scripted story and well-written characters, it is very helpful to think of a character through the lens of the Four Levels of Awareness. It definitely adds to the genuine complexity and humanity of what could otherwise be a flatter, more two-dimensional figure.
In my capacity as an advisor, one of the most useful practices is Deep Listening. For years I have taught a course designed to explore topics of diversity, personal growth, spirituality, sexuality and other issues that concern young people coming of age. One day in class I introduced the practice of Deep Listening. One young woman, while listening to what she had said being told back to her, stopped her partner and said, “ Wait a minute. I think I have an idea how to help solve this problem for this person. Wait! That person is ME!” Hearing her problem as told back to her, made her see/hear it differently—a powerful and liberating lesson for these 17 year-old students.
Two of the lasting impressions of Social Artistry that made their way into our curriculum are expressions of gratitude and the concept of an “inner crew.” Our nightly appreciation circles afford students a time to voice their reflections on the day and let their classmates know how and why they appreciate each other. For each age group the focus slightly changes from more concrete examples for younger students (Thank you for helping me cross the stream today) to heartfelt understandings among friends with older students (I appreciate that you took time to include me in your group talking on the couch this afternoon – I never knew who you were until that moment, and I can tell I found a friend).
The “inner crew” idea comes up during our “Keys to Success” discussion with 8th graders as well as with some upper school programs. We ask students to think of the various talents they have, the facets of their personality and talents they might develop imaginatively, that might help them in various situations. (Sometimes we even use Dr. Houston’s “cook” example in order to get the point across.)
In all, Social Artistry has given us a new set of shared vocabulary that has enhanced our curriculum and afforded the students a new way of viewing themselves as lifelong learners.
Assistant Director of Environment Education