EP 74 - How to Connect Students to a Higher Self
Feat. Hsuieh Dean Lee, Founder of Nomadic School
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Our guest is Hsuieh Dean Lee, Founder of Nomadic School, discusses the education crisis and how we can support, facilitate, cultivate, and nourish discovery to a higher self and bring meaning to a student's life.
The Problem: The current education model does not aid students in discovering one’s self, one’s potential, as well as life meaning and purpose.
The current model of education was designed to produce workers embedded in a economic system.
School’s don’t help students to wrestle with the fundamental questions of life surrounding topics like purpose, love, or truth.
The Solution: Nomadic School, which is dedicated to adolescents’ and young adults’ exploration of the beauty, truth, and goodness within in connection to Something larger than oneself.
Using experiential learning and a Montessori approach, students learn multiple skills and subject areas through real world experiences.
Self directed learning & intrinsic motivation allow for flexibility what a student learns, exploring questions that interest them, and pulling multiple subject areas together to answer them.
Relationship building through social experiences & sharing of dialogue between students around fundamental questions in life
Why it matters: There is a rise in people’s expressed importance to live life with a sense of purpose: 80% in 2016, 89% in 2017, 91% in 2018.
If school does not address students will enter adulthood without adequate tools leading to despair, higher depression, & suicide.
This interview is part of the series of research interviews on the education crisis and how we can solve it. If you want to hear the other experts, please see our education thesis.
Lesson 1: Education is Controlled By The Economic System
Starting with the age of the military industrial complex, education was designed to produce skilled workers to maximize benefit and growth for the economy.
Students are created to be human resources to contribute, to be orderly, and to be controlled by the system for continued economic growth.
Students are pigeon holed into choosing one skill major such as engineering or art, rather than exploring the possibilities of both in organic manner.
Education emphasizes survival. Competition. It is has a lopsided approach to the understanding and development of human potential.
Traditional education is informed by the materialist, rationalist view of the world. Of which the only thing that matters is what is tangible, material, and measurable.
Questions of love, identity, or spirituality are to hard to measure so they are regarded as unimportant.
Why it matters: Student’s who are never given the tools for individual sovereignty or ability to answer the questions of life that plague us all will forever be beholden to what others tell them their life means.
Lesson 2: How to Find Meaning & Purpose
Dean’s work often involves the questions of the discovery and fulfillment of one’s potential, which requires starting with the self.
Begin by asking what is it that you truly want beyond survival? Beyond food and shelter and beyond your egotistical needs of being recognized and being praised and loved.
Your answer will come from a deeper part of yourself as a combination of life lessons learned and experience gained. It will be larger than you, scary and exciting.
Using a combination of psycho-spiritual model of development inspired by Bill Plotkin, & a psycho-social model of development inspired by Eric Erickson, Dean leads students through questions to find purpose.
Some questions are:
What kind of people do I enjoy being with and belong with?
How do I relate to them? And what do they bring out in me?
What are my values? What do I really care about?
What kind of places inspire you? Where do you want to live?
What are your strengths? What are your talents?
Why it matters: When learning is connected to what a student is intrinsically motivated by, they are highly driven to learn it, remember and apply more, and feel a greater sense of well being.
Lesson 3: A School to Discover the Self
Nomadic School’s model is built entirely around the relationship of the self to the rest of the world and facilitating discovery and exploration of that relationship.
The building block’s Nomadic School uses are:
Phenomenon Based Learning: self-directed, group work
Experiential Self-Exploration: instructor led, group work
Online Courses: self-directed, solo work
Arts or Sports Based Activity: self-taught or instructor led, solo or group work
Examples Dean gave are:
A student exploring why the divorce rate is so high will learn economics, careers, psychology, emotional intelligence, sociology, and spirituality.
Students spend the first hour of learning by sharing stories from their personal lives and then a physical activity to wake up the whole body.
Focus on one topic for the day and explore it from many angles. For example, exploring nutrition by visiting a restaurant, supermarket, or nutritionist office and having discussions and activities in those places.
Taking self directed online courses on platforms like MasterClass and Mindvalley.
Connect With Our Guest:
Nature of the Human Soul by Bill Plotkin
Soulcraft by Bill Plotkin
"Erik Erikson's Stages of Psychosocial Development" By Dr. Saul McLeod
(00:00) - Introduction
(01:10) - How Dean's life culminated into education
(06:41) - Why start a new school
(11:52) - Dean's mission with Nomadic School
(12:38) - What is the Self & how do we discover it?
(16:32) - How the economic system & industrial complex have effected education
(21:44) - Why traditional education does not help learners wrestle with the fundamental question of life
(23:44) - How to create a transdisciplinary school model for student discovery of the self
(29:12) - A day in the life of a Nomadic School learner
(34:25) - Challenges of starting a school with a radical model
(39:29) - How to help students find meaning and purpose through learning
(47:56) - What is the meaning of life
(49:11) - Call to action
(51:02) - How to push the world to Evolve