In a recent comment on this blog, Ellen asks:
It sounds like things are evolving just as you would wish. I’m glad! Does each semester have a theme such as “Science and Proof” (a very provocative theme I should say!) or is this a foundation that each student is asked to delve into as the first component of an education with Sphere?
First of all, thanks for the question, Ellen. It prompts me to update the blog!
What I defined was the Sphere Program, and a very important part of the students’ learning process is to define how to implement that for their own classes. I do get a bit impatient at times because I can imagine where we are going to be and I want to get there quickly. Of course, my vision is only one possibility—the core of the vision is that the students will determine the direction of the college and we will all (myself included) learn from this process. One of the many things I’m learning about is patience and enjoyment of the process.
We’re currently at the point of defining just how the classes will be conducted, and it’s different for the two classes. My co-learners now seem to be understanding that I’m quite serious when I say that they will be making fundamental decisions about how the college runs. It’s a bit frustrating for them because they feel as though they don’t have enough information and direction, but I believe that creates the desire for the necessary education, as long as they aren’t losing enthusiasm. This doesn’t appear to be an issue.
A bit more to the point of Ellen’s question: we’re currently moving through a sampling of topics, one of which was related to “Science and Proof”. In the class that studied a bit of Galileo I brought in a physics experiment in which the outcome is perhaps different than what some of us believe the outcome will be. (I also added a twist that made it a bit of a multi-level experiment.) The greatest obstacle to depth of study right now is time. Everyone is so overworked that they don’t have much time or energy left to devote to their studies. But the classes are still quite good and we all do seem to be learning about ourselves and others—the primary goal of Phase I.
Incidentally, the Steering Committee opted to have a table for the College on Bridge Street in front of Earth Mart for the regular Friday night festivities from 5-9ish pm. Please stop by to chat with them. (I can’t be there, which is probably a good thing anyway.) They also took the initiative to create an informational brochure. One of the students has an interest in learning about graphic art and some other students who have graphic art experience worked with her on this project to help her learn by creating it. Another couple of students produced the text that is used in the brochure. Pardon me while I pinch myself.
Onward and upward!