Kt and a summer class of arts and gardening
"Education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another."
Earlier on our residency we posted an entrance regarding the demolition of the Ferry Pulbic School.
It has become quite clear that to put down a closed school is far less "complex" than having to pay taxes and preserve it.
Dave on a recent talk claimed that his effort to purchase abandoned buildings fell short since they always come with "demolition estimation costs" and demolition practices benefit the state and a small but well protected industry. The so called "demolition prize".
We tend to perceive education to take its most common form under the roof of a school. Living for two months in Detroit we re-discovered diverse educational platforms which focus on passing out skills, enhance mutualism, raise awareness and responsibility, address locality and possibly build an alternative economy practices .
Spread in various "roofs" and initiated by various organizations and individuals these acts respond to the failure of the state to preserve and advance Detroit's educational system.
Wayne State University and University of Detroit Mercy seem to be the only mega foundations promoting Detroit as an educational mecca. On the other hand Universities are just stations in someone's career and therefore embed within the act of temporarily living and subconsciously the act of leaving.
This summer Kt has been teaching art and farming in three locations around Detroit. We "invited ourselves" to her classes and I managed to attend her last teaching sessions in two of the locations.
We came up with a game of drawing your favorite fruit or vegetable on a paper ribbon, mixing the ribbons and pass them on as "hats" to every one participating. Each kid had to make four questions in order to guess what fruit or vegetable he/she was.
While still difficult to prevent children from looking at their "hats" the game focused on working on the right questions such as:
am i a fruit?
do i grow in our garden?
do i grow above ground?
do i grow on a tree?
am i yellow?
am i round?
The process of discovering could help them identifying with the object, break it down in forms and shapes, understand the value of the process of growing (gardening) and playfully perform a dialogue of passing out knowledge without the authoritarian overview of the teacher.
Everyone would hold the responsibility of sharing a common set of knowledge (the secret of what is on their friend's hat) and as a unity, by simply answering with a yes or a no could transcend that knowledge to the individual making the questions.
While talking to Joao about our experience, he brought up the term homo ludens introduced by Dutch historian and cultural theorist Johan Huizinga.
Huizinga does not mean that “play turns into culture”. Rather, he sets play and culture side by side, talks about their “twin union”, but insists that “play is primary”.