See Sixteen Pix of the Nepal Ashram on the AERO Site
What is 21st Century Education?



Back in NY Office! Help us make the AERO Conference Great!
I just got back last night from my month-long trip to England, Finland and Nepal. As you'll read below, the last visit was to the amazing and unique Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir Ashram/orphanage on the outskirts of Katmandu, Nepal. You'll also learn how I wound up in the hospital two nights ago in England, on my way back.
 
But I'm now back in the office, catching up on a lot of things, and ready for the final push to have a great AERO conferenceAugust 3-7 in Portland, OR. Nearly everything is in place for that but the number of attendees. I need your help on that. We want to do everything we can to make sure that these wonderful workshops and keynotes are full. Please contact me if you have ideas about this, if you or a group needs some special help to be able to attend, etc. We particularly need help getting get the word out around Portland, the state of Oregon and the West Coast to people within driving distance, because it's getting late for people further away to book reasonably priced flights. We particularly like groups of students and teachers. If you haven't registered yet and you need help with that let us know.  
Nepal Stories
Ramchandra with children at the ashram


Nepal Diary

After I left Finland I flew back to England and transferred to a flight to Delhi, India, and there to a flight to Katmandu, Nepal, a very arduous day of travel. I finally was going to get to visit the Sri Aurobindo Yoga Mandir Ashram/orphanage. It is one of the most amazing and unique programs I have ever seen, and I've seen hundreds. We've been helping them in any way we could since 2001 when I met the founder, Chandra Mani Bhusal, known as Ramchandra, when he was gathering support for the Ashram in New York City. Before committing to help them I had a member of our organization, who happened to be in Nepal at the time, do an on site visit. With her recommendation, we jumped in. Since that time I have met Ramchandra and his students many times, mostly at the IDEC in places such as India, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and the one we hosted in New York. But this is the first time I have been here myself. They now care for 110 children at this site, 60 at a farming site they have in Terai. A few of their graduates are developing a site in Gulmi for trekkers to support the Ashram. 

Despite the fact that nobody pays for these orphaned children, it is 70% self-supporting through agriculture, dairy farming, selling organic food and milk at local markets, making incense, essential oils and pashmina, milling flour, hosting tourists to teach them meditation and yoga, etc. They do this primarily on only 2 1/2 acres toward the hills on the outskirts of Katmandu. We even got a grant for them years ago so they could buy some of this land. When the earthquake hit, many of their buildings were damaged. They've had to scramble to survive. AERO members raised $10,000 to help with repairs but they will need hundreds of thousands. Construction goes slowly here, as they are able. The earthquake stopped construction of a big new building that had started. They were going to host the IDEC here in 2018 but because of the damage that was just postponed to 2020.

Read the rest here, including the current threat to take some of their land away. (Also see sixteen pictures of the Ashram)

Description Of The Nepal Earthquake By 7th And 8th Graders

My name is Sarmila. I am a 15 year old girl. On the day of the earthquake I was loading fertilizer on the truck. Other people were working in the field. Others were getting cow food. Everybody was outside when the earthquake hit. If everyone was inside some people would have been killed. Many of our buildings fell down. Many walls fell down. We have eight buildings here. In the school building many walls fell down, windows broke,  etc. We were very afraid. It was a 7.5 quake. I could feel the earth moving. I had never been in an earthquake before.

I looked everywhere in the community to see what the damage was. I felt sad. A lot of the children were  crying. Sounds were coming from everywhere.  The air was very thick with dust. The sky was dark with a black cloud. The teachers went into all the buildings to see if everyone was OK......


Read the rest here.

Earthquake damage at the ashram

One Final Adventure-To The Hospital!
I caught some kind of stomach bug in Nepal which began to hit me as I flew from Katmandu to Delhi, India. I felt very tired on my layover in Delhi from  7 PM to 1:50 AM. Then I didn't get much sleep on the 10 hour flight from Delki to London. Fortunately I had built in a rest day overnight in London.

I arrived  at  6:30 AM and went to a nearby Heathrow hotel. That's when I really hit me. I had the runs all day. I was worried about getting dehydrated. I even called my doctor in New York by Skype who said I should get some Imodium and electrolytes and stay hydrated. But it was too late. I took a taxi to the nearest pharmacy and got those things. I felt sicker and sicker and the Imodium didn't work at first. I decided to drag myself to the restaurant to get some soup to get some liquid in. I could barely finish it.

Read the rest here.
The 'Maker' Movement Is Coming to K-12: Can Schools Get It Right?
By Benjamin Herold

The maker movement is going mainstream, migrating from museums, garages, and informal "faires" into the highly regulated world of K-12 education.

For fans of hands-on, student-driven learning, the shift presents an opportunity to breathe fresh life into old teaching philosophies.

Read the rest here.
Two Ted Talks And A blog By Ramin Farhanghi From Sudbury School Paris
Pourquoi j'ai créé une école où les enfants font ce qu'ils veulent. | Ramïn Farhangi | TEDxSaclay
Pourquoi j'ai créé une école où les enfants font ce qu'ils veulent. | Ramïn Farhangi | TEDxSaclay (Subtitles in English)

Ecole Dynamique offers the educational approach that I wish for myself, for my future children and all the families which are looking for a school designed to learn and develop in complete liberty.

Read the rest here.

Watch another Ted Talk by Ramin in English Here.
What Is a 21st Century Education?
By Ian Cunningham

Some people have suggested that the only change from Victorian schools to those of today is from black to white - blackboards have changed to whiteboards. We still have classrooms that are not much different from the 19th century with curricula that have progressed little since then and with lessons of standardised times delivered in (increasingly) large institutions. Indeed there is an argument to suggest that the school is possibly the only institution that would be recognisable to a Victorian who might be transported to the current time.

Factories now have robots and offices don't have clerks working in serried ranks. The world of employment has changed enormously. Surveys of employers always produce the same results - school leavers are not good enough at working in modern conditions that demand team work, self discipline and creativity. I attended a meeting in Brighton on education at which there were a number of recent graduates. None had a graduate-level job - half were not in paid work and half were doing low skilled jobs. They were clearly disillusioned with their situations and could see no immediate way out.

Read the rest here.
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Please send us feedback on this issue. also, we would like to have more articles written by AERO members and about AERO school and organizations.  Thank you for your ongoing support. With  your help , we will make learner-centered alternatives available to everyone!

In Service,

Jerry Mintz
Executive Director
Alternative Education Resource Organization

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