Mindful Language: How to Speak about High-Intensity Learning Trajectories and Spaces?
A brainstorming session with: Lotte Van Lith, Maciej Świeży, and Jessie Eggers
In this discussion seminar, we are searching for a simple language that would be suitable for speaking about our Buckminster school profile. Which words and phrases would be mindful, simple, and nuanced enough to adequately answer the question we are frequently asked: who is this school for?
The general idea (not yet put in those simple words we need need to find!) is that at Buckminster College we refrain from formulating and utilising the diagnostic categorisations that are attributed to persons, as their inalterable, essential characteristics. Instead, our focus is set on the observable trajectories of learning and development, which combine the following three characteristics:
◦ Acceleration: learning faster and more than the trajectory of the institutionalised educational environment was foreseeing,
◦ Asynchronicity: developing different cognitive capabilities along differently paced trajectories and, in result, finding matching peers in several different age groups simultaneously (for example designing chemical experiments with 16 years olds while playing with dolls with 10 years olds),
◦ Divergence: developing learning interests and styles which are different than the socio-emotional environment expects and is prepared to support.
It is important to note that the above three descriptors are contextual and therefore systemic. As such, they do not refer to the essential characteristics of anyone’s learning trajectory in itself, let alone the essential characteristics of individuals, but to the relationships between a trajectory and the context selected for the purpose of the observation. Once reframed systemically, an AAD (accelerated, asynchronous and divergent) trajectory of development can be further understood either as an observable pattern, in the context of the actual environmental circumstances, or as an observable potential, in the context of altered environmental circumstances, which might be provided. The question of whether or not embarking on a particular trajectory constitutes a persistent trait in some learners, while remaining inaccessible for the majority of the population, might be a topic for an academic debate, which is largely philosophical. However, we suggest that the fixation on this question creates new problems in the course of solving the existing ones.
All the above is the context for what our current brainstorming session is about.
Thursday, March 23, 2022, 5-7pm Brussels time on Zoom
The ‘Pearl Divers’ seminar series, organised jointly by Buckminster College and Center Leo Apostel (CLEA) at the Free University Brussels (VUB) is dedicated to the conceptual groundwork for the practices of education and pedagogy. The series features open talks and discussions that aim to advance our understanding of education and cognitive development in good attunement to complexity: the complexity of the world—and the complexity of the mind. The seminars are open to everyone interested.