I would like to continue working with people of all ages and descriptions, to help widen their range of options in the present and future. By borrowing from the best of past and present proven methods, we can explore and develop the tools and techniques for determining what is a good life, and how to achieve it. We would participate in an ongoing study of the actual patterns followed by individuals who have succeeded in leading good lives of their choosing.
First, each person would have to decide for himself what a “good life” encompasses; proceeding from that determination, the individual would be given the opportunity to explore and become aware of his own strengths, attributes, and talents. Developing these qualities would highlight the learning process. Broadening each person’s options for a good life would necessarily involve a natural process of modification, change, enrichment, and growth…through the learning experiences we would be involved in.
The setting for this concurrent learning experience would take place within “informal” school parameters and “outside” living within the family and community members, and the world at large. I would encourage a greater interaction among the members of this enhanced setting, to the ideal point where “school” would be everywhere and no longer confined formally within the classroom walls. Thus, the “inside and outside” influences would become a more interdependent entity, with greater emphasis on learning by doing, in a cooperative, dynamic setting. The student would, by natural progression, become more responsible for his own learning experience; the teacher would have greater freedom to participate as a guide and co-worker, among the other useful and relevant influences and mentors in the student’s everyday world.
Our objectives would include immediate, medium, and long-range goals. Measurements of the mastery and practical assimilation of relevant skills and abstract concepts would be partially determined by self-administered diagnostic and mastery tests, discussions, observation, demonstration, application, and self-determined satisfaction that one phase of mastery has indeed been accomplished, and that readiness for the next level of mastery was apparent. The transition from one level to the next, in any subject or skill area, would be specifically individualized. although much of the work and study process could be accomplished within large, medium, and small groupings. Grading and dichotomized “labeling” would be unnecessary, thus leaving the teacher and student free to progress beyond predetermined limits. Motivation would basically be achieved through the mastery and personality of fine teacher-guides, and by the knowledge that each individual would have the combined freedom and responsibility to “follow your owns star…the sky’s the limit!”
With this modification in the process, the student and teacher would be relieved of the demobilizing and often wasteful effects of artificially-created pressures and ensuing anxieties. Furthermore, the possibility of cheating would become unnecessary, and therefore nonexistent. Boredom, so often based in anxiety and the perceived inability to function on one’s own initiative, would be much less likely to occur. Negative attention-getting devices, which so often lead to self-defeating and annoying behavior problems and a precious waste of time and effort, would no longer be deemed necessary because ample opportunity for wholesome positive attention would be provided each individual during his successful interaction with others being involved with his total daily experience. Everyone needs the right kind and amount of real recognition, as having been genuinely deserved through one’s honest efforts. Thus, one’s energy and enthusiasm for learning and doing would be greatly enhanced. Outlets for youthful curiosity and genius would be channeled into more wholesome and productive use, both for the individual and the society which would be maturing and developing, made up of many such unfettered and enthusiastic individuals.
In this respect, the individual would exist and grow for his own sake, in the good company of others, rather than merely existing for the sake of an all-enveloping society made up of a complex of impersonal, self-serving institutions. A natural sense of cooperation, harmony, and mutual respect could not help but develop, by thus emphasizing each individual’s positive life values and qualities, and by providing the opportunity for these viable factors to be first recognized and then duly nurtured.
This entire development, and nurturing growth process would be shared by all, because each individual would early on develop the strength and capability to ask that the others in his life contribute to the process. Clear, direct communication on all levels would take priority in the early stages of learning…so that the individual would learn how to ask for help and guidance, in such a way that the message would be effectively understood and acted upon. Throughout this process, others would be more likely to satisfy the student’s development needs, once they realized the immediate and far-reaching effects that their cooperation was helping to achieve during this overall nurturing process.
In turn, “society” itself would be strengthened and improved…as the very individuals who formed that society were allowed and encouraged to determine and pursue the qualities of happiness and a good life. Those who would abuse others would be diminished in their ability to manipulate, exploit, and thus control large sectors of society for their own self-aggrandizement, ambition, and profit. Strong individuals are more likely, first, to be aware of such manipulative efforts; second, they would be less likely to allow such abuse to take place. When people are conditioned, early on, as subjects for manipulation and exploitation, either through ignorance, fear, or lack of awareness of other options…they are necessarily willing victims for those who would seek to abuse their freedom. Strong, healthy, confident, individuals who have hope, compassion, and enthusiasm…individuals who have direction and determination…individuals who feel they have the support and kinship of others in their everyday lives…individuals who know there are options that are realistic and within the realm of possibility…these people will not only be able to develop and apply their own strengths in the pursuit of happiness, but they will also insure that others will have the same opportunities. Good reciprocates with good. Give enough folks the chance to be “good guys”, and the “bad guys” are more likely to go out of business. I advocate the good guys, and wish to continue the process in my teaching and guidance of individuals.
For an introduction to my self-learning/poetry workbook with several examples please visit: www.pecoskid.com/self-learning/poetry workbook samples
Continue to next page: