[My colleague David Strudwick and I] are building a school called My School so that kids can take possession of their school. We have funding for curriculum and architecture for a different way of learning and a different way of teaching. The idea is to see yourself see and to create spaces that provide the opportunity to not just respond, but to experience the process of seeing. More deeply, it’s about trying to see the world differently — it’s about seeing the grays. The principles of the school are community, creativity, choice, and compassion.
The reason for the four C’s — and we could add a fifth, confidence — is that everything the school does relates back to, and responds to, these four principles. We feel that these are a potential consequence of being put in a situation of seeing yourself see.
What if we could create a situation where this is not just taught, but encouraged and pursued? The end result is that we create people who are far more adaptable. It’s about making people who can see things from different perspectives — because that’s really what we need in the future.
What type of curriculum will the school have?
We just received some funding to create what we are calling the “curriculum of compassion.” It uses illusion as a medium for teaching. And the idea is that the kids are going to make an object — a glass windmill, [for example,] with all the spokes of the windmill pointing up, like a flower. The glass spokes will be prisms. When the light hits, it will refract, and you’ll get an amazing rainbow. Around this object, the teacher can teach things such as ecology, renewable sustainability, design, art, architecture, engineering, but also perception, of course. When you look at the windmill, it will appear to spin one way, but when you look at it again, it will flip and look like it’s spinning in the opposite direction.
More importantly, we can also take kids who just don’t get the idea that people can have different perspectives on something, or that two communities can interpret something differently. And they can say, “Look, you see it spinning in one direction, but I see it spinning in the opposite direction. If you keep looking, you also see it spinning in the opposite direction.” Here is a situation where you’re literally seeing [something in] two different ways. Imagine this glass windmill as the symbolic representation of so much of what life should be about.