July 2, 2015
I recently wrote this article for El Sistema Toronto’s e-newsletter:
El Sistema is both a social movement and an inspiring music education program. The social component is about community building and eliminating barriers to participation, but is that enough? The music education component is an enriched intensive experience for our participants, but are we just offering a conditioned traditional approach?
Education in its best form is a shared experience. It should be an atmosphere of discovery. Our students are not empty vessels needing to be filled. They are also our teachers. It’s not just our participants who can learn and grow as we teach young people, but also our teachers, administrators, volunteers, families and communities.
The positive psychology movement is casting a revolutionary framework we can use for the social/educational context of El Sistema. Seligman, one of the leaders of this movement has proposed five foundations of human needs which give us a comprehensive sense of well-being. They are: Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishments. If we make this model the foundation of our social/education framework we can then create tools to nurture these five areas of personal and social development.
These tools and approaches will help us continue to develop our revolutionary programs and create more influence for better education approaches and social impact.