Happy to present the second video in this Spotlight Series, my conversation with Veronica Puech, co-founder of Kalapa Learning Community just outside of Bogota, Colombia. I had a wonderful few days with the kids at Kalapa, who invited me to share in the digging that you see below (teaching me how to improve my technique!), in their maker space, and in the fantasy "mundo de los gatos" (world of cats!) that the youngest ones had me crawling around in :).
In this video, Veronica talks about the need for more integral and experience-based education, challenging our own beliefs as adults and educators, and the hope she finds in the range of innovative alternatives being developed around the world.
Along with being a Co-Founder of Kalapa, Veronica comes from an interesting background of having earned an undergraduate degree in Economics, a Master's in NGOs and Development from the LSE, and has worked with organizations including Save the Children and Ensena por Colombia (Teach for Colombia). Having moved from large scale organizations to a small community-based environment is inspiring to me, as are the efforts of all five cofounders and also the facilitators at Kalapa!
To learn more about this special school, visit Kalapa's website. Special thanks to the facilitators, co-founders and kids at Kalapa, along with Schools Without Borders, for their support!
Recently, I’ve been feeling a resistance to work of all kinds (summer time vibe?!), and a resistance to creating. So I turned to one of my favourite books, Women Who Run With the Wolves (WWRTW), and as always, got the insight I needed.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes likens the “murkiness” of our creative lives to the pollution of a river, and explains the importance of being patient with ourselves, giving time to sit with new ideas before jumping ahead. She also reminds us that the driving force we each have to execute will wear down at some points - a natural part of our cycles. We deserve time to renew and strengthen our intention.
We’ve all been there. So bored that we wish we could be back in bed, on a jet plane, singing in the rain, anywhere but where we currently are. Excessive boredom of course, is not something any of us desire. But is there benefit to being bored once in a while, even routinely?
I would argue yes, boredom is not only beneficial, it is necessary for development. When I truly disconnect (for days, weeks or months) and embrace boredom, I start to think clearly, now that my head isn’t filled with Facebook images of what a traveling friend had for breakfast in Bolivia, or what your sister wore out on Friday night. When those thoughts leave, they make way for what I care more deeply to engage in. I'm not the only one with this belief - many related studies are out there, and researchers such as Dr. Teresa Belton (University of East Anglia), have found that even children should be allowed to be bored to enable their creativity, rather than shuffling them from activity to activity to keep them as busy as possible.
As a lecturer, I love the moments when I feel my students and I are all together, ‘into it’, and in the flow. I struggle though, when I sense my students becoming bored; I up my enthusiasm, throw out questions for discussion, anything short of a literal song and dance to get them back and excited. In an excellent piece on embracing boredom to be more creative, Dr. Ian Robertson summarizes a feeling many high school and university teachers share:
“I know how irritated I feel when I see students browsing their smartphones while I am imparting my pearls of wisdom to them, but I suppose the challenge is for me to up my lecturing game sufficiently so as to make me more entertaining than the entire internet…?”
A passionate educator.. on a quest for a schooling model to love!