Lifelong Learning Institute, Wheelock College, Boston

Making the World Better for Children and Families: The Pathway to Global Social Justice through Educational Relationships - 5 sessions

We live in troubled times. Daily we see mistrust of the “Other” bud into indifference or disdain and then grow into prejudice, hatred, and more. At no time have we known more about the nature, causes and costs of these dynamics, yet many fail to feel empowered by this knowledge and hesitate to act upon it.

The good news: we have not only the knowledge, but also the resources and the clear promise that we can create a better, safer, more just, humane world. I believe that education is the arena for that work; that working together across boundaries near and far is the method; and that creating environments in which ALL children thrive will create the pathway to world peace.

In this course I will introduce you to pioneers and programs at Wheelock College that are educating people to “improve the lives of children and families” and advancing social justice. I will also share my own experiences developing and supporting programs in the US and abroad, including work with Operation Respect, an anti-bullying, pro peace program that has taken me to Europe, Asia, and Africa. We will look through 3 lenses: 1) Opening hearts and minds through the arts; 2) Connecting education, health care, and community development; and 3) Developing professionals and communities through national and international “service learning.”

We will meet organizers of the Wheelock Family Theater; teachers in a pioneering curriculum on LGBT Families; and leaders of a service learning program that takes students to New Orleans, Guatemala City and elsewhere to do health and education outreach. You will learn how these exemplars began, their strategies, challenges insights, and visions. We will discuss their work, make suggestions, and consider possibilities for supporting current approaches and developing new ones. You do not need teaching experience to enjoy this course – just curiosity, a critical mind, and a hopeful heart.
Reading: Selected articles. Bibliography for further reading.
Computer Use: Highly recommended.

Writing Your Family’s History and Your Own Journal - 5 Sessions

During this mini-course you will learn the how, when, where and why of writing your family’s history. In addition, you will learn the why, how, when where and the scope of writing your own Journal. Compiling one’s Family History requires writing and, since Writing is like a muscle, it needs training. The “Training” comes via the writing of a Journal. Therefore, the Journal writing and the writing of the Family History are co-dependent activities.

Each class will be centered on helping participants make incremental progress with their Family History as well as with their Journal Writing. For example, the first class will concentrate on the fundamentals of both activities and, after several illustrations are provided, the participants will contribute to the discussion.

Caveat: This is not a course for someone who wants to maintain the status quo! Your life will be figuratively and literally changed in very positive ways if you follow all the guidelines presented to you during the five two-hour classes and if you participate in class activities as well as those you will be expected to perform between classes.
Reading: Almost none. However, you will be asked to keep a daily Journal, which will require 15 – 45 minutes per day.
Computer Use: Recommended

Harvesting Your Experience: Writing Creative Non-fiction - 5 sessions

Did you know that “non-fiction” can be creative? Working with a journal, you can create reminiscences, political essays, meditations, and dialogues. You can include poetry, clippings from newspapers, art, and photography. In each class, we will read one or two short pieces of creative non-fiction. After reflection and brief discussion, we will write. Then some of us will share what we have written and we will examine how our awareness and our writing skills are evolving.
Readings: to be selected – estimated 1 hour per week
Computer: Internet access strongly recommended




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