essence of the Curriculum Vitae

There are a number of different learning styles or “multiple intelligences” as they’re called by educational researchers. Sharing Canada through a variety of these routes enhances possibilities for each participant to take part most fully: a mirror of the pluralism Canada is renowned for. It also offers an opportunity for each to experience the challenge of the world through a less-than-optimal channel. That is the lot of many in our midst: the immigrant in a new language/culture, the child surrounded by unspoken rules/protocols, the senior with new technologies.

Knowing ourselves as competent and differently abled, as strong and weak in different media and situations is part of being human. Bringing it together, holding it comfortably within our individual selves and in the larger body of a group—this is the task of humanity. Knowing/accepting ourselves in both ways, without false pride on one hand or self-deprecation on the other, is a prerequisite to being leaders who serve. People and societies “together” in this way will not lord it over others or abdicate their choices to strongmen and women in a crisis.

Realizing this model for Canadian Classroom … means there will be no one “natural” leader to take charge. The star student with straight A’s, the athlete, the model, the intellectual, the budding politician, the showman, the would-be priest, social worker or spokesperson for the victim—none of these will have a monopoly, and each will have the opportunity to know his/her strengths and shortcomings in the context of a balanced and supportive group. This orientation is not uniquely Canadian, but the Canadian context is a promising setting for this development.

Here are the major modes in which learning will take place in Canadian Classroom

induction – This is pickup by osmosis, exposure to the streams around us. These streams can include formal instruction, recitation and book learning, participation is physical and cultural activities, individual and group research projects, watching someone else try, succeed or fail. At some point an “I’ve got it” awareness dawns.

interaction – This is a close ally of Induction. Classroom participants will interact daily with:

*  on board resource persons and facilitators accompanying the length of the trip
*  guides, writers, business persons and others traveling for parts of the journey
*  the land we pass through and over, and the sites, we stop, visit and stand upon
*  fellow participants we talk, room, work with, sing, dance, hike and recite with
*  instructional materials: books, scripts, videos, local and national newspapers
*  our inner selves in journaling/quiet times as we’re stretched and sifted

instruction – Each day on the road will include a number of formal learning activities:

*  silent reading and summarizing scripts and papers
*  group readings and recitations (readers’ theatre) on selected topics
*  physical activity on the train and on the ground (e.g., yoga, hiking, biking)
*  artistic/cultural: singing, drama, dance, sketching, photography (choices)
listening to/questioning guest speakers, visiting historic/geographic sites

integration – Participants will team up for small group projects sharing their respective skills.

interpretation – At some point on the journey each participant/group will make a presentation that “joins dots” and imparts a personal slant to the learning taking place.

improvisation – At points en route participants will be invited/urged to Risk it: setting aside the formal learning and express in the moment the country they’re experiencing.