So my question is what is wrong with the world today and how can I fix it through my roll as a teacher? My one simple answer is that people are disconnected from who they are. Most people spend most of their time doing things they do not enjoy. My solution is to implement dreaming into education because I believe that this intuitive and mindful practice will help human beings, learn to be happy and create happiness and connection those around them.
When I walk into schools I have to pretend that I am someone else. The climate of Toronto schools is so thick with unexamined layers of oppression that to avoid screaming I have to become a cartoon version of myself. It makes me sick to think that the system which holds up learning, also teaches students to mindlessly obey their superiors, to follow the protocol, sit at a desk quietly and do ‘work’ given to them by someone who ‘knows better’. Fear of the teachers’ disapproval, fear of being sent to the office, years of being trained to perform the same routines in the name of respect and efficiency- I think of the whole system as sick and, quite frankly, lacking imagination. Aren’t we beyond the industrial farming of young minds? (Perhaps not just yet.) I don’t like the environment of schools and I think I have something that would help contribute to drastic change. It’s not an easy idea to explain.
What is missing from education is dreaming, teaching to and learning how to dream. When I say this I don’t mean going to bed and observing the images that float across your mind during the REM phase of a sleep cycle (though this is an important aspect which I will come back to in another entry). What I am talking about, and yearning to bring into education, is a very important piece of what it means to be a soul wandering around on this planet wearing a human suit. If you don’t believe in souls that’s fine – dreaming refers to the answers to the questions – Who am I? and What to I want to accomplish in my lifetime?
In a lot of ways this can be confusing. The association with what one wants to do with a lifetime is often understood and translated as a sort of sterile planning of events like a lifetime a list of things to do. But for me dreaming is connected to something much deeper; a yearning for a certain life, to learn, to experience, to know and try certain things – all tailored to the needs and desires of a specific student.
It also involves learning how to visualize your deep desires for your future. “Your brain can’t tell the difference between a neural pathway created by doing an action and one created by visualizing it.” (P 107. Hume) Visualization helps a person move in the direction they want to go, but we don’t really practice this in schools.
School does not teach how to have and nurture or even acknowledge those deep desires (at least the school that I know). It is this skill and ability that I think we should be introducing into standardizations like curriculum and every day routines like the announcements. Teaching how to dream is more than having a “follow your heart” banner in the classroom but it is giving our young people the knowledge, skills, understanding and confidence of how to do so. The problem with education is the disconnection people feel towards their purpose in life and I believe the solution is to teach dreaming to students so they have the ability to transform the world into a better world they can imagine.
Karen Hume. Tuned Out: Engaging the 21st Century Learner. 2011. Pearson Canada Inc. Toronto Ontario.