Listening Session Paintings

Monday, October 20, 2008

Invercargill Listening Session is set for October 30th.

The YMCA Invercargill will be the site of our first international Listening Session! We will be leading it from four to seven pm on October 30th their time. Don't ask me what time that is here because it would require math. Suffice it to say they are about 17 hours ahead of us, so you do the Math.

We are excited to meet this special group and thank them for making it possible. We also want to thank Saskia Nieuwlands, the YMCA Youth Development Manager for being so open and for playing with us! Not long now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Check Out Secondary Futures in New Zealand

Today, Richard Whatman of New Zealand forwarded the link to Secondary Futures. I loved it. It appears the country of New Zealand is doing its own full-scale research program to determine what secondary (high school) education should be in the 2023! Awesome. They are way ahead of anyone else I have heard of at this point. I have emailed the Chief Executive to see if they might meet or speak with us while we are there. The link to their site is posted down on the right under Great Links.

Time to Test the Field Guide

For the past six months or so we have been writing a Field Guide to Conducting Listening Sessions (thanks to the Core Team for their input on this). This is an essential part of the program as it enables us to involve others in the conducting the research and means we will not have to be everywhere in the world to lead the Listening Sessions as well.

So we are going to begin testing it in other areas of the country. The first champion to step to the plate is Chelsea Kouns. Yeah, Chelsea! She lives in Ashville, NC and has been an ardent supporter for a long time. She has volunteered to try this as if she were a new member of the team. During the next two weeks, she is going to put her three person team together, hold a meeting and begin the process of lining up the young people for the Listening Session.

As I discussed this tonight, I already see we are going to need to send people a kit of information to have when they go and talk to other organizations about sponsoring the Listening Session. I use a few photos and talk people through it. We also sometimes show the video. No matter how it is done, people are going to need something to look at! So that is the next effort (probably on the plane to New Zealand).

You can check Chelsea out at her blog which is listed in the Great Links section. Aleima Soeparto is our next potenital candidate for testing the Field Guide in another country (Jakarta, Indonesia) and La Leatha Ryan (Detroit, MI) has said she would be willing to try it as well. Once the test is done, we will know a) whether we can do it this way and b) what needs to be changed to make it work together. Onward!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Youth Radio to Host a Listening Session in Oakland

Today, I had the great privilege of visiting Youth Radio in Oakland. WoW! Amazing. If you ever get the chance to visit and get a tour you will be blown away by the energy, the sophistication and the level of available technology. Thanks to Stephanie Martija for putting this together.

Located at 17th and Broadway in downtown Oakland, Youth Radio was founded in 1990 on the deeply held belief that underserved youth, ages 14-24 years old, have the creativity, technical skills and entrepreneurial spirit to become leaders in the multi-media industry. The heart of its pioneering efforts is to train young people from under-resourced public schools, community-based organizations, group homes and juvenile detention centers in broadcast journalism, media production and cutting-edge technology.

Youth Radio currently trains 1,300 youth each year to develop core competencies in audio, video, web and print and to produce the highest quality original media for the widest range of mainstream outlets. Its reporters are heard worldwide through radio, video and the Internet and through print media.

So check them out at Massive!

I met with the founder Ellen O'Leary and Julius Toledo, their Education and Career Manager. We will be doing at least one listening session with them in November or early December.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Center School in Seattle is Considering a Listening Session

While I was in Seattle this week, I happened to be in the Seattle Center looking for Compassion in Action, a day long event that spun out of the Dalai Lama's Seeds of Compassion visit earlier this year. It is so cool to see a community beginning to discuss how to bring compassion into the issues that their city faces.

The Seattle Center describes itself as "the nation's best gathering place. Supported by the people of Seattle, we are home to the finest cultural and educational organizations, sports teams, festivals, community programs and entertainment facilities. We exist to delight and inspire the human spirit in each person and bring us together as a rich and varied community". Sounds great, eh?

Well, they also decided to attach a public school to the site and call it the Center School. It's located just above the Food Court (great idea!). The Center School (TCS or Center) is a small public high school with a focus on the arts and community engagement. It has 300 students. Imagine having a school in the center of the city's art and cultural engagements. Talk about experiential learning!

Well, I was wandering around looking for the Compassion in Action event and I bumped into the entrance of the school. As usual, my curiosity got the better of me and before I knew it, I was sitting in the principal's office. Her name is Lisa Escobar and she was the type of principal every school needs. She is ON FIRE about the students, the school and its possibilities. She liked Imagine Learning and is now considering doing a Listening Session in November! Perfect. Kids from all over Seattle go there and while they focus on arts, the school is strictly first come, first serve.

So she is into it and we just need to get the students and the date! Road trip anyone? We could do Portland at the same time!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Listening Sessions in New Zealand!

I am headed to New Zealand October 23rd and looking forward to conducting 3 Listening Sessions while I am there. The details are still being worked out, but it is our hope to do two with a diverse group of New Zealand students and one with the Maori young people. I am so excited to be going as I have wanted to go for almost half of my life!!!

It's going to be fun to see how the format of the Listening Session works in another part of the world with English speaking young people. Special thanks to Te Rawhitirowa Bosch and Glen Lauder for working so closely and enthusiastically with us to try and get these arranged.

Watch for my blogs from there beginning very soon!!!

A Listening Session in Ecuador?

Let's wish MacKenzie Amara a beautiful trip as she has headed to Ecuador for three months to work in the Jungle with children. MacKenzie participated in a Listening Session at Tam High School and is now in Ecuador trying to figure out if she can do one there. It's a bit dicey she says because of the difficult conditions, but she is going to give it a try. Let us all wish her well and safe journeying!! MAC send us a picture so we can see you there in your new home.

It's Official! We are Going Global!!!

Well everyone, the moment we have discussed is at hand. I am officially committing Imagine Learning to conducting Listening Sessions in 47 countries around the world. It's an IMAGINATIVE endeavor to say the least!!! But I think it will be a wonderful endeavor to hear the voices of young people around the globe tell us their visions for an ultimate learning experience. I have thought and sought into my heart about this and continuing our work around the world is the next step.

If you know of anyone in the following countries who might be interested in helping us, please let me know!!!! Think about connections to connections!

Here is the initial list of the countries followed by the number of Listening Sessions to be done in the country:)

United States - 10 Mexico - 1 Guatemala - 1 Columbia - 1
Ecuador - 1 Peru - 1 Brazil - 1 Egypt - 1
Benin - 1 Nigeria - 1 Ethiopia - 1 Kenya - 1
Tanzania - 1 Zimbabwe - 1 South Africa - 2 Ireland - 1
United Kingdom - 1 Italy - 1 Sweden - 1 Finland - 1
Poland - 1 Czech Rep. - 1 Romania - 1 Russia - 3
Iran - 1 UA Emirates - 1 Qatar - 1 Jordan - 1
Israel - 1 Pakistan - 1 India - 5 Nepal - 1
Burma - 1 Thailand - 1 Vietnam - 1 Indonesia - 2
Malaysia - 1 Phillipines - 1 China - 4 Australia - 3
New Zealand - 1 Jamaica - 1 Dominican Rep - 1 Bahamas - 1

A total of 47 countries and 75 Listening Sessions (if I did my math right!).

I did this by spreading a world map on the floor and asking which countries it would be optimal to do. I listened and wrote and when I was done, this was the list.