Modern society continues to evolve around us, but have our education systems stagnated?
Most schools around the world push children to specialize and commit to disciplines long after the desire to pursue them has passed. That’s where the self-directed, democratic school comes in.
In this episode, Vanessa and Sara co-host a conversation with Marc Gallivan about this unique approach to education. Fun fact: Vanessa and Marc were classmates at the Alpine Valley school in Denver, Colorado where Marc now works and hosts their regular podcast.
What are the inner workings of a system which gives students and teachers equal responsibility for the school’s well-being? Can democratic-style meetings, self-directed work, and surprising experimentation thrive in the classroom?
There are no grades/marks, tests, or separation of children by ages. There’s only a unique opportunity to see inside a system that may hold the key to actually helping children realize their passions. Or, in some cases, their multipotentiality.
“One of the greatest things in multipotentiality is the willingness to move on, to say this is not working for me. And that takes a great amount of courage. If you’re taught from the time you’re really small that it’s OK and that this one thing does not define you, [then you realize] that there are other aspects of you beyond what you choose to do with your time. And you get to make that choice over and over again. That is a very powerful message.” – Marc Gallivan
You’re about to Learn…
- What a self-directed, democratic education system is and how it can help kids navigate life choices.
- How art can be a bridge between many interests and disciplines.
- That you can be a multipotentialite and change your expression at any stage of life.
- How to transition from different environments that may support or hinder multipotentiality.
Topics & Timestamps
- [00:00] Introductions and what the Alpine Valley School is all about
- [07:20] Sara’s experience at traditional schools in Madrid
- [10:40] Is the education system at AVS where multipotentialites could thrive?
- [23:15] How do you become comfortable with trying new things in a traditional education system?
- [30:00] The exploration of careers from graduates of the AVS
- [37:33] Future trends at the intersection of education and multipotentiality
- [45:34] Puttypeep spotlights
Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- The Alpine Valley School
- The Alpine Valley School Podcast
- The Malt Shop Podcast – another self-directed democratic podcast from Glacier Lake School
- Kingdom of Childhood – a book describing the fundamentals of the original democratic school in Sudbury, MA
- The Pursuit of Happiness – a newer book with stories of alumni from the Sudbury Valley School