I did a small interview a while back that I’d randomly discovered was posted when I did a search for schools and ecosystems. The interviewer had been especially interested in an idea I’d brought up a while back, based on an idea from Permaculture: guilds.
To review, a guild can be explained as “a group of animals and plants that co-evolve in a mutually beneficial (or “symbiotic“) manner. Such examples of guilds can be found in nature, but also can be developed intentionally by humans. A traditional example is the Three Sisters, squash, maize, and beans, cultivated successfully in Mesoamerica for thousands of years.”
In the interview, I give an example of how this could apply to a school:
“I think this applies to schools, because we magnify differences too much,” Anderson said. That fact keeps students from learning about the real communities they will live and work in, where people have authentic differences from one another.
“Traditionally, we are looking [sic] at special education as excluding, but it is also denying,” Anderson said. “We should be trying to seek to include these students in average classes.”
“It’s not about being stupid or not being able to do things,” he said. “Kids have a good understanding of these things: That we all have strengths and weaknesses.”
Human beings, of course, don’t fall into such easily definable categories as squash, maize, and beans, but when you have students on the spectrum of autism, students with a language processing delay, and so on . . . well, you have students that act and learn just a tad bit differently. But like I said, I think we magnify these differences overmuch. At the end of the day, some of us are good at some things, and others not so good, but we all get better by working together with one another.