Here you will find writings that give some insight into Trinity’s programs.

Learning for Life – Part Two

Posted on Jul 4, 2017 in

 

Team in the Sunset

There are a few things I would like to say especially to Trinity’s Peer Leaders here in Toronto, in Elliot Lake, in Sault Ste Marie, and Thunder Bay, as well as Peer Leaders in Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver, and Ottawa as you move on at this time in your education either from grade to grade, secondary to post secondary or into the work place or a year off.

The key workshops of the Peer to Peer mentoring process we used to reach out to younger, more vulnerable students in our school communities were all based on different areas of a person’s social/emotional development. The areas were (i) learning the importance of respect in one’s life (ii) stepping up and naming the issues in whatever community you find yourself (iii) learning how to handle conflict and the benefits of assertiveness in relationships (iv) the importance of our gender identities and the personal and community diminishment we experience in all forms of prejudice, as well as the misuse of addictive substances.

Each of these areas continues to grow and broaden in our lives as we grow so it’s about some of these more mature areas of concern I’d like to talk to you about in this brief writing.

Concerning respect: Strive to develop an insight-based approach to life. Be constantly reflecting on experience and making assessments re how you think about a particular event, relationship etc. This self-initiated respect applies both to yourself and others.

Concerning naming issues: Assume diversity in all things. We don’t need illusions like ‘normal’ or ‘universal’, or any other label that hides a lazy mind full of generalities to be able to observe life and name what you see.

Concerning handling conflict and developing assertiveness: Don’t be imprisoned by our person made reality systems. When you look at a tree and see only a two dimensional object you are imprisoning yourself in a reality system called ‘nature’ and ‘landscape’. But when you “see’ the invisible ie see with insight and imagination the nutrients being absorbed by the roots and rising to the branches and leaves and the act of photosynthesis, you see the whole tree. When we conflict with another person the world encourages a simplistic win-lose mentality and ‘truths’ about human nature like the inevitability of conflict in life. Strive to see the bigger picture of the conflict. You can choose to do other than conflict.

Concerning gender and substance use and abuse: You will have to keep learning all your life. And often to learn you will have to unlearn, or relearn something previously known but no longer applicable or useful. Learning who you are gender-wise and growing creatively in that evolution towards fulfilling relationships can often mean being honest and resisting comfortable mindsets which are very similar to the constant invitation of addictive processes in our personal growth concerning both substances and behaviours.

To all Trinity Peer Leaders past and present, live a creative life animated by open mindedness and the capacity to flourish in diversity.

Take a leadership role in your own life. Don’t let fear or any form of censure curtail or limit your life.

Love is our primary process for engagement with the world around us.

Live in love, and be guided by kindness.

Learning for Life – Part One

Posted on Jul 2, 2017 in

Learning over schooling.

“We thus are learning all the time if we have a spirit and mind to.”

 

School is ultimately just one of the platforms or stages on which education takes place. Indeed when you think more broadly institutional education is just one of several, but is the one that takes a good deal of our time especially when we are young.

One suspects that our society’s predecessors chose it because ideally they wanted education of their young to be done in groups, thereby insuring some degree of social development while students learn their ‘reading, writing, and arithmetic’.

This social development is still expressed in the mission statement of the TDSB:

“To enable all students to reach high levels of achievement and to acquire the knowledge, skills and values they need to become responsible members of a  democratic society.”

It is sometimes hard to recognize this social/emotional development agenda in the overwhelming amount of academic curriculum outlines, materials, and exams.

So in many ways it’s up to us ourselves to broaden our learning. And perhaps this is a good thing because it’s hard to envision an academic lecture from the front of the classroom in the usual spirit of one size fits all actually inspiring us to pay attention to our social/emotional growth.

For just as institutional education is not the only place we learn, we as persons are not singular and have many aspects to our characters. We thus are learning all the time if we have a spirit and mind to.

We of course learn in all our relationships. We learn from the community narratives around us in news, entertainment, literature and art, and especially in the unspoken norms and expectations of our society.

As well we learn from self-directed reading and study. We learn from work situations, apprenticeships and volunteering. And if we have been balancing our external academic progress with committed self-aware personal growth and resilience we will be in a constant learning process all our lives.