¿Dónde está la clase?

Alzar School | 15.11.13

Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself. -John Dewey

Maneuvering through diverse learning environments in Chile, Alzar students fully understand that no separation exists between life and education.

Lines blur between vocabulary and shopping lists. Street signs provide more than physical directions. Surf lessons are spanish lessons. Cooking lessons are history lessons. Stories exchanged in the community remind us that humanity is our common language.

Our classroom walls extend ever farther, expanding over nuestros sacos de dormir laid out in our carpas. Across the fine arena of la playa. Over our tablas and up to the cumbre of Iglesia de Piedra. Snaking along electric blue rios, carving paths through snowcapped volcanes. Classrooms become busy markets, swollen rivers, slow-moving ferries, dirt soccer fields, rain drenched caba˜nas…

Students instruct teachers, sharing the key properties of understanding vector valued models for projectile motion while preparing breakfast. Teachers become their peers, learning proper paddle strokes and correct masa kneading techniques. Everyone supports one another from choosing lines through whitewater to choosing effective words to use in confusing conversations.

Senses are overloaded. Connections continue forming.

Connections are most easily built through receiving praise. Confidence soars when a beautiful combat roll is celebrated with excited cheering from peers. When equations balanced on the whiteboard garner high fives and a huge grin from your teacher. When a nervously asked, yet perfectly articulated, Spanish question is answered with excitement and laughter.

Powerful connections are also built painfully by listening to the people sharing their stories of lost love and fear. Realizing that, despite nervousness and uncertainty, stopping to clarify directions is the only option to find the next destination.

¿Dónde está la clase? ¿Dónde estamos? Estamos acá. Right here. Fully living and learning. After all, it is one and the same.