This blog was originally written for Knowmads Business School, Amsterdam.
#3 The Importance of Real Life Education
The tingling feeling I get after dipping my toes in the ice cold seawater of the North Sea, the taste of an incredible amount of salt when waves come crashing in. While writing this I’m sitting on a sunny and empty beach. I feel alive, surrounded by the sound of seagulls and waves, the sun softly burning on my skin. How, I don’t know if it’s even possible, could you describe these experiences? Are they only to be experienced? Or to be told and understood as well?
You can tell someone what it feels like, but is it possible to experience with your mind only? Trying to grasp a smell, the feeling of goose bumps by thinking how it will feel through our senses. Personally, I approach my learning rather as experiential, trying to embody what I have learned on my way. As I learn and live this way and find a lot of purpose and meaning in experiencing fully, instead of thinking about an experience, I plea for education through experience. As I may quote Pieter Spinder in his TEDtalk: ’’ Educating the mind without the heart is no education at all’’ I completely agree with his saying.
Because, how can we separate studying from life? As we live our lives for the first time and our path might be scary, it seems to me it is important to practice living while being in school, as studying seems to me something that is inseparable from life. If we separate life and learning, we separate parts of our self. I think we have to start seeing people as whole human beings and practice our heart-head-hands connection in school. We will have to get to know the other parts of our being outside or after school. At Knowmads, people are not approached from the perspective of reductionism; it’s rather real life, holistic education. The bridge between being in school and life seems a lot smaller then in regular education because of this approach. The beauty in this ‘real life education’ lies in having learned life lessons, fully experienced with heart, hands and head, while being guided by a school. Instead of stumbling and experiencing big leaps of not knowing what to do or where to go between studying and having a job, you develop parts of yourself. Parts that provide you guidance, creative leadership and a positive mind set to go forward in our fast developing world with endless possibilities. The leaps of insecurity young people seem to experience, and I experienced myself are taught to be approached differently. They have the potential to be turned into feeling empowered by following our intuition and making our dreams come true.