edu180atl: bob ryshke 9.10.12
Today we’re working at Serenbe as part of our administrative retreat. Serenbe, a community of roughly 1,000 acres located near Atlanta, is a superlative place to be thoughtful. Serenbe is a model for a sustainable community that is focused on land preservation, balanced agriculture, energy efficiency, green building, and community living for diverse people. Being immersed in this reflective space helps me connect to the importance of PLACE or SPACE in our work with one another.
For our work to invite thoughtfulness, we should carefully consider the PLACE in which we gather and work. While I understand it is not always feasible to travel to a place like Serenbe, we can create a space, even in our schools, that is more conducive to generating dialogue that is reflective. I believe this is important. Our team is at Serenbe on a brilliantly sunny, warm and wonderful day, but we are meeting in a room with dim lighting and only a few windows. Why aren’t we out in the space that invites contemplative thinking? I think the answer to the question is that we aren’t used to taking important work into PLACES and SPACES that invite reflective, quiet contemplation. Do we need to learn from experts, like practitioners of meditation?
In ecology, we define community as a group of interdependent organisms growing or living together in a place, space or habitat. What qualities do these PLACES possess that allow for interdependency? What common elements should we consider? Please respond to my thoughts for the day with suggestions for how to make PLACES in our community contemplative?
About the author: Bob Ryshke is Executive Director of Center for Teaching at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta. He enjoys working with faculty on issues that matter in good teaching.