“I see reality as ultimately a great mystery that will never be fully known (and I feel humbled and awed and reverent of this concept). Knowledge is better expressed as experiential knowing, if we really want to learn, and the way to this is through our sensings, feelings, imaginings, thoughts, and ultimately as a personal expression of this knowing,” writes Nancy Ellen Peden in her book, “Who’s in Charge of My Life? Discovering the Magic of Learning with Yourself and Others: An Experiential Education Program for All Ages.”
This treatise is a primer for those who see contemporary educational systems as a regurgitation of facts and tests. Peden views education as something that should be enjoyed, that groups can do to make their learning processes more meaningful.
Many in the educational system view children as “little adults” who should do as their elders want- this becomes not a system of learning but a power play between adults and children.
Peden hopes to change this thinking by proposing making the resistance to learning something children and even young adults a more fun and rewarding experience. She proposes that groups be formed that facilitate simple exercises that are easy to lead for “facilitators” instead of the stodgy “teacher” label used today.
She notes, for example, that “One article recently has suggested that just adding a couple of ten-minute play breaks can assist children who are diagnosed as having ADD or ADHD.” Sitting at a chair staring a blackboard can be very dull for any child.
Many children are rebellious and rightly so of authoritarianism which has permeated our society. “While therapy is OK, I consider mental illness to be rooted in the lack of love, attachment, and abuse as a child, and these can be dealt with in community settings. Unless there is no other choice, I recommend no one ever be drugged.”
She also states that “Life is a process more than a goal. The wisdom is found in knowing our own selves, minds, bodies, and creative spirits and in the ability to interact with others effectively.”
This book is a seminal look at the process of facilitating learning by getting to know the difference between being a test taker and creating an atmosphere of trust, of honesty, of knowledge that should be the goal of every educator.
Nancy Ellen Peden, “Who’s in Charge of My Life? Discovering the Magic of Learning with Yourself and Others: An Experiential Education Program for All Ages” by Nancy Ellen Peden