What Students Said About The Great Connections Seminar 2015
“The seminar is transformative; I grew as a person. Working part time in the Philippine Congress, my biggest goal is to share what I learned with my colleagues and friends and apply it to positively affect our lives.” Ken Wu, junior, University of the Philippines-Dilman, from Quezon City, Philippines
“It has surpassed my expectations! I loved it! I learned so much from everyone, the texts, the experiences and myself! I’m really happy! I’ve gained awareness of when you are accepting someone else’s opinion (author, person or institution) without inspecting their arguments and logic. It can be very dangerous to accept ideas blindly, without thinking about the consequences they may have on your own life.” Isabel Moino, senior, Universidad Francisco Marroquin, from Guatemala City, Guatemala
“My biggest goal in life is to reach my highest physical and mental potential. I took away many things from the seminar, but three main lessons: 1. The reading selections allowed me to learn and incorporate a wider range of subjects. 2. Groomed analytical skills which I grew over the week. 3. The people I have met here are more similar to me on a conscious level than any other people I have ever met. I am very thankful for what I have learned from each one of them. Where I come from, people cannot even picture themselves doing what I’ve done this week; I can be an example of what everyone in my community can do for themselves.” Derick Ansah, sophomore, SUNY-Purchase, from Bronx, NY
“One of the best experiences of my life and I’ll definitely be back next year, perhaps with a good friend as well! I’ve gained more self-confidence and lost the self-doubt that weighed me down, which will be important in pursuing my job as a corporate lawyer and writer on issues.” Remy Oliver, freshman, University of Virginia, from Potomac Falls, VA
“As the week went on, I was surprised due to the fact that each new day was even more amazing than the last.” Kaitlyn Means, senior, Brookfield-Broadview Heights High School, from Broadview Heights, Ohio
“A life-changing experience! It’s crazy how such a diverse group of people can come together and grow as a family! Super glad I had the opportunity to attend. Knowing the importance of clear definitions and coming to terms with a reading will be very useful, as well as knowing the many aspects of power. But the largest lesson this week is how to live objectively via reason, individualism, and freedom. “Seth Kannarr, senior, Harlem High School, from Machesney Park, Illinois
“At Hillsdale College people have of a lot of philosophical and political debates outside of class. My impression was that engaging in these would be relatively useless because the disagreement would usually stem from a very fundamental disagreement (such as if there is a higher authority). But I learned this week that what seems to be two irreconcilable stances might actually just be two people using different definitions. I plan to use this knowledge when I get caught up in such a debate.” Nora Gibes, freshman, Hillsdale College, from Augusta, MI
“I struggle to set society’s influence aside and only focusing on what I truly want for myself. My desire of wanting to be a better person, being able to know me more. I believe that this seminar has helped me get on the path to really getting to know me, to discover what are the things that make me who I am, and to question more, and listen carefully.” Tanya Badillo, geophysical engineer, from Mexico City, Mexico
“I can see myself implementing a mandatory seminar to every business I might own some day. I believe that this will help them develop their reasoning skills and their collaborative structure.” Rene Miguel, sophomore, Harold Washington College, from Chicago, IL
A radical imagining of what education could be like in a fully free market:
“It is a sign of crudity and indigestion to throw up what we have eaten in the same condition it was swallowed down; and the stomach has not performed its office, if it has not altered the figure and shape of what was committed to it for concoction…Let the tutor make his pupil thoroughly sift everything he reads, and lodge nothing in his fancy upon mere authority…To the fragments borrowed from others he will transform and bend together to make a work that shall be absolutely his own; that is to say, his judgment. His education, labor, and study aim only at forming that.” Michael Montaigne
Socratic Practice is a formidable discussion methodology that, when used properly, incorporates Active Listening at its best and nurtures reasoning skills and independence powerfully. Classrooms using Socratic Practice are active learning environments—they are intellectually, socially, and physically engaging. By encouraging the learners to ask their own questions of what they are studying, the motivating power of individual interest is harnessed. Furthermore, because they are so engaging, Socratic Practice discussions don’t tax attentional resources, making learning much easier and enjoyable; students often get into a Flow state, forgetting how much time is passing because they are engaged.
I am referring to a very specific, carefully crafted methodology of teaching, which I will describe shortly. Some of you may have been to classes called Socratic Seminars which are quite different from what I mean. In these, a teacher might ask a question like “What is justice?” and then proceed to tell students they’re wrong when they give an answer the teacher doesn’t want. However, Socratic questioning is meant to develop the student’s ability to think about a subject, not to test them and catch them when they are wrong or call them on the carpet for the right answer.
Teachers looking for the right answer encourage students to focus on pleasing the teacher, not on thinking for themselves.
Teachers looking for the right answer encourage students to focus on pleasing the teacher, not on thinking for themselves. But the truly excellent teacher aims at helping students learn how to find the right answer on their own….(read the entire article here.)
Students must be inspired for really effective, optimal learning. Read why in this article, “Inspiration Comes First, Then Teaching” by RIFI President Marsha Familaro Enright, published at The Savvy Street.
|Here’s another 5-minute clip from Kirsten Lombard, editor of Resounding Books, in which she and I talk about whether all children could be educated if there were no public schools, and how that might happen.
Note: In my last email, I made a mistake in the title of Resounding Book’s volume. It’s Common Ground On Common Core. Sorry about that – to Kirsten especially!
It’s a book of 17 essays from across the political spectrum, analyzing this latest government-promoted program for the public schools and calling for a rebellion against it. My chapter, “Liberating Education,” examines what education would be like in a fully free society, and I go into detail about the history of education here in the U.S. from the time of the Pilgrims.
The paperback is only available through Resounding Books’ website (link above). But it is available on Kindle, where my essay is in Volume II.
This book is a must-read for anyone concerned about this latest push to control our children and, through them, the country.
Marsha Familaro Enright
Great Connections head Marsha Familaro Enright wrote a new article on university education as it might be and out to be at The Savvy Street. This is Part I of a five part series of articles on optimal higher education. Below are the opening paragraphs from the article:
Standard education not only fails to teach the philosophy, history, economics, and politics of a free society, but its methods oppress individuality and instead encourage conformity and obedience. It does the opposite of teaching young people how to live as free, autonomous persons.
In the main, the teaching methods at traditional universities have remained unchanged for centuries. Most classrooms rely heavily on an authoritarian, top-down structure of a single arbiter of knowledge, often in the position of lecturer, discussion leader, and knowledge authority, who conveys knowledge to the waiting student-receptacles.
Of course, many colleges and universities are using all the bells and whistles of the latest physical technology, which makes the world’s knowledge available to their students through Internet-connected classrooms, cool electronic-writing technology, online discussion groups, and handheld quiz machines.
But the more crucial and fundamental psychological and social elements to learning are often still ignored, especially at the university level. Yet, a free future demands more than the dissemination of information; where do free individuals learn how to use it in their lives?
Given what we now know about human development, learning, and motivation, university education is ripe for a revolution in its psychological technology.
Students need an educational program that embodies the ideals of self-sufficient, self-responsible, goal seeking, and autonomous individuals. Furthermore, when freedom and autonomy are directly experienced, students become more engaged, interested, and enthusiastic learners and more often adopt the ideas and values of liberty. Such a system for lower education has been around for more than 100 years.
This is why RIFI aims at innovating higher education, starting with The Great Connections Seminar. Continue reading the article here.
Registration for the Great Connections Summer Seminar is now closed. If you would like to be considered for this program next summer or a weekend program, please sign up for our newsletter.
The week-long program includes Great Connections-style discussions of classic texts in philosophy, logic and reasoning, science and mathematics, economics, history, psychology, literature and other humanities. Students also study logic, introspection, artwork, architecture, meet accomplished professionals in a variety of fields from finance to physics, medicine to ballet. Also, we visit places such as factories, scientific laboratories, entrepreneurial warehouses/offices, Montessori schools, The Second City Comedy Club, and The Art Institute of Chicago.
Fees for the seminar cover tuition, entrance fees, room, and some board; in 2017, they are $2,000 for the week. However, there are discounts for early enrollment, and some scholarships available. All scholarship recipients are asked to contribute what they honestly can afford towards the program.
Below is the schedule from last year; for the complete schedule for 2017 go to this link.