SPARK: Inquiry, Be Aware, Project
Photo credit: DANCE by Rene Bernal, Unsplash.
This project emerges from the need to make education a relevant, meaningful and creative process that responds to the needs and interests of the individual and society at large.
In a world of growing evidence of economical, social and educational disparities and injustices, we want to build a new generation of thinkers and doers with awareness of themselves and others, and whose actions are geared toward narrowing these gaps.
This work is best done by methodologies that have been proved and are informed by the knowledge of education, philosophy and neuroscience. We see this happening as a communion of all involved, rather than a juxtaposition, through the rigorous work of:
As a tool to develop empathetic critical and creative skills to come up with new ways of being in the world, as well as developing listening skills that truly bring us closer to one another and one-self.
To expand self-awareness and to develop the ability to respond rather than react as we build new ways of relating to one another and to one-self in the present moment, so that we have the tools to imagine new possibilities to create a new reality.
That is not only sensitive to past experiences but that also builds on community, exploration of our emotions and self-awareness as it we build bridges with others and live with gracefulness and graciousness through the joy of movement and the connecting human expression of dance.
It has long been said that education is the key to societal transformation, and yet the model of education that has been in place for centuries, has not helped the betterment of our societies. Rather, it has increased disparities and maintain a system of colonialism established over half a millennia ago. We are proposing a new model of education with novel components that aim to set the ground for true transformative learning.
As such, there are not pre-conceived contents, but rather short lessons we call SPARK.
SPARK lessons prepare students to be receptive and ready to learn. These are designed to create a safe, thoughtful and joyful space where true learning, creativity and knowledge can take place for each individual and the community at large.
An Integrated Model
The three components that shape SPARK are the base of a new model of education that taps into a truly integrated understanding of the human being. It is a model that moves from prioritizing only reasoning skills, to attending to the well-being of the whole person so that she or he is receptive for learning, discovering and creating.
We are at a pivotal moment as a humanity, where we need to trust others and to rely on one another to find solutions to the most pressing issues of our times. Trust requires a sense of safety that we need to build as humanity. It is possible to build but it takes practice as the habits of competing against one another, looking for one self and seeing the other as a threat are so engrained in our being. In other words, we need to integrate the other into who we are.
On the other hand, we are living an unprecedented environmental global crisis where we have to see beyond our differences and make decisions as humanity so that we can respond in a timely and responsible manner to guarantee the well-being of future generations. Socratic Inquiry is a fundamental tool to question the way we live and discover the voices of others so that we can arrive at solutions to the most pressing issues. This is why we provide a follow up section with relevant suggestions on how to approach other academic areas during the school hours that serve the double purpose of delving in meaningful ways into the academic content, while at the same time creating a project-based educational model that is a natural follow-up of the SPARK that this curriculum ignites.
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