School as a Cultural Nexus

This article resonated strongly with me, regarding the experience of a child brought up in a nomadic lifestyle. In the article, they describe the creative impetus that comes from this type of life, but also the adaptability and need to blend into cultures in which these students move. The article highlights how sub-cultures, such as skateboarders, are open to outsiders and welcome them in readily.

What if a school could partake in this role? With Place based education being one of my most loved concepts, how great would it be to combine the benefits that a transient lifestyle allows for with the deep roots that a culture can provide. As I see it, a balance needs to be struck in order to make this happen.

The school needs a resident population who has invested time and effort into creating a community which reflects the local place. Having exclusively locals, however, means that there is a missed opportunity to integrate the creative spirit and experience of the nomadic students. Therefore an ideal would be somewhere in the middle, a place where a healthy proportion of the student body identified with the place and culture, and the other group moves in and out of the system,  carrying along with them their experience and creative perspective.

Green School, where I currently work, does have this mix, although I have learned much from my experience here. The local students are far outnumbered by foreigners, and rather than maintaining the culture at the forefront of the school it plays a more superficial role. However, I often get glimpses of the magic that occurs when students share their experiences and creative perspectives.

Creating a school that serves as a cultural nexus, a place where people go for culture, would be a great feat. It could also extend the scope of school as a place for young learners to a place that is inclusive of all learners.

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