etauber's Travel Journals

etauber

 
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  • From Georgia, United States
  • Currently in Auroville, India

Auroville Fall 2009

Experiences in Auroville, India as a faculty for the Fall 2009 Living Routes program

Integral Education Seminar on Whidbey Island

United States Washington, United States  |  Aug 15, 2009
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 The word that first comes to mind when I’m thinking of how to describe this experience is: whoa! 

Just a week ago, I attended the Integral Education Seminar on Whidbey Island, off the coast of Seattle, Washington. The word that first comes to mind when I’m thinking of how to describe this experience is: whoa! The five days of this workshop/conference with 35 people were truly inspiring, accessing all at once the spiritual, intellectual, community-minded, and even the career-oriented parts of me. As such, I guess the organizers achieved one of the main goals of the integral movement: to promote development of all aspects of an individual or group(as well as society) so that no piece becomes excessively developed while others remain unexplored. I certainly feel that this well-roundedness, which is a defining attribute of the movement, is a positive change.

To be clear, when I say movement, I’m just starting to wrap my head around this creature that is the “integral movement”. I guess I had a lot of resistance at first when it seemed to be merely a fancy language for people to create more jargon in order to claim they were creating a system for looking at EVERYTHING. All existence, all knowledge, everything. It seemed at best a bit overly ambitious and at worst, downright condescending. But what I’m learning about this field of thought as I talk to more people who have been studying integral theory is that it has no problem whatsoever recognizing and even poking at its own weaknesses and limitations. Many of the central figures of the movement admit quite openly that integral is only one of many ways of looking at the world, and that it uses language to create structures around things that are not necessarily fully describable in words.  

What I gained is a much deeper understanding of how powerful a tool the theories can be for looking at oneself, at society, and at the world in a very honest and positive way. And in regards to education, I started thinking a lot about where I am coming from as an educator, what my former experiences are, and how they have influenced me to hold certain opinions about what is right and wrong within educational systems. So, as a result, what the seminar mostly did for me though was get me extraordinarily excited about the upcoming semester and the learning opportunities that it will present for all of us, both as individuals, and as a community.

Something that I’ve felt and believed previously but found to really resonate at this point in time is the idea that education is  not some material, static object that gets passed from one person (“the teacher”) to the next (“the student”). Education is dynamic and evolving. The personal stories and prior wisdom that we each bring with us, as well as the way in which we relate to one another, both as students and faculty, will be just as, if not far more important to our communal learning process than anything I might be able to share as a “teacher”. I am excited to see how this learning community will form and what new lessons and insights arise during our time together. It’s so very laden with potential.

Just to be clear, I am not making any assumptions about what will happen in the upcoming months, how we will function together as a group or one-on-one. Each of us will bring a unique presence to the time and space before us that makes it entirely impossible to predict from this current moment. And consequently, it is keeps me from carrying any expectations around. Well, actually, in all honesty I can say I have one expectation. My expectation is that I will learn a lot. No matter what situations develop in our time together, that is a sure thing. I know, and find great excitement in the knowledge that with 100% surety none of this will be boring or old. I keep myself open to the possibilities, to the not knowing, to the moments that will present themselves uniquely to our time together. And I eagerly await the coming months. See you all soon,

Ethan

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  • Integral Education Seminar on Whidbey Island

    August 15, 2009
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