Sapiente — an introduction to a new kind of school
Since 2019 we have started working on a purpose that is materialized today: the Sapiente.
Sapiente is a non-formal sharing movement composed of a community of misfits (a person whose behavior or attitude sets them apart from others in an uncomfortably conspicuous way). A set of principles and intentions drives them to create new models and paradigms for the community sapientes.
A non-formal educational movement with no predefined curriculum or conventional methods. No years or degrees. No certificates or diplomas. No evaluation.
Why try to create A New Kind of School?
In our education system, children are prepared for the real world, but it is changing very quickly and constantly. In fact, schools around the world have not altered much in their methods in the last few centuries. Many leaders worldwide even agree that our current educational system, which was devised in the industrial age, is, although possibly unintentionally, creating “industrial machines.” Therefore, this mentality of mass production and control continues to subsist in schools around the world, especially at the European level.
From the very beginning of their education — and herein lies perhaps one of the most fracturing errors — students are instilled to, above all, follow orders and preconceived models/ideas, failing to really learn how to think and develop their creativity/imagination. As Einstein said:
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge helps on the outside, but only love helps on the inside. Knowledge comes, but wisdom delays.
Sapiente vs. our current educational system
In our current system of education, we are highly rewarded for doing what we are told, something that is precisely in line with the values of the industrial age, where the success of workers (in their jobs) depended, above all, on following to the letter the instructions they received beforehand. But the big question that really arises in this regard is: how far in the real world (of work and beyond) can a person go by trying to follow instructions?
The values of the modern age, on the other hand, value those who are creative, communicative, objective, and deep in their ideas, and above all practical and multi-skilled in teamwork. But the truth is that our students don’t have much opportunity to develop these soft skills in a system based on the values of the industrial age.
Another of the most flagrant points in this reflection has to do with the slight lack of autonomy and, consequently, an intention to control, which considerably limits the space/amplitude of the students’ educational evolution as a whole.
The point is: in the world of work, especially in highly relevant business impositions, we have to manage — very well — our time and even make our own impositions: the important ones, as they may strongly affect business dynamics and the course of events, and decisions (what to do and when to do it).
But what goes on in schools has little to do with encouragement and intellectual cultivation. Thus, schools send the message — somewhat dangerously — to students that they are not above others in controlling their own lives.
Another (perhaps) shortcoming of our current educational system has to do with so-called “non-authentic” (non-effective) learning. That is, some of the knowledge that takes place in schools today is based on memorization and repetition mechanics — and is, therefore, called non-authentic because it has no long-term (lasting) impact.
Moreover, the school defines a whole set of knowledge/facts that all students must learn according to its standards. In this way, written tests are the measure that counts when it comes to grading skills, knowledge, and learning, proving to be (given all the depth that knowledge and learning thankfully offer) a bit reductive, which creates an unhealthy dynamic for students, parents, and teachers. In essence, students are asked to memorize a series of facts whose importance is slightly questionable and which, in the end, will be forgotten.
On the other hand, and I continue this reflection with a somewhat sensitive idea, that in our current educational system there isn’t much room for passion and intrinsic/personal tastes/interests.
Standardize educational system vs. Sapiente
Since this whole system is standardized, each student ends up learning the same thing, at the same time and in the same way as the others, and this presupposes that this dynamic — somewhat deficient — contradicts what it is to be human, where each one is unique and different from all the others, in their own way and authenticity. In fact, one of the most predominant factors for our sense of fulfillment and achievement (personal and professional) has to do precisely with finding and following our passion.
So there doesn’t seem to be much room in the current educational system to reflect on the most important questions in a child’s life, namely, “what will I (truly) be good at?”; “what do I want to do in life?”; “how do I fit into this world?” This system doesn’t seem to care much about that. It is no accident that we have today some cases of talented people who failed in the traditional school system. Fortunately, they had the audacity and boldness to overcome these difficulties and become what they are today.
From another perspective, and going back to one of the previous topics, we are all different and distinct when it comes to learning rhythms, and also when it comes to the tools and resources that best suit us to extract knowledge from them. Hence, the fact that our current educational system does not promote much interaction between students reveals some inhumanity in its methods. Subsequently, thanks to the internet and digital media, all the world’s information is just a click away. In this way, technology has made it possible for anyone, deep down, to learn anything. However, out of fear of losing control, the system does not invest enough in the range of these incredible resources.
So our educational system, for some of these reasons, is a bit out of line and can be seen as inefficient. And so, since we want to prepare our students for the modern world, there is no doubt that there is some need to overhaul, on these points, our current education system.
Every educational system is a political means of maintaining or of modifying the appropriation of discourse with the knowledge and the powers it carries with it.
Michel Foucault, The Order of Discourse
Sapiente — introduction to a new kind of school
Sapiente’s main purpose is to facilitate the discovery of creators through the assistance of inside-out activities among the misfit elements of the community, supported by a set of psycho-facilitators, under the essence of a set of principles and intentions. We need creators, not repeaters.
The school is designed for repetition and for creating industrial machines. We, on the other hand, intent to create an environment driven by principles that will facilitate new directions, and thus spawning poets.
Several types of dynamics are foreseen at Sapiente, such as:
- Circles — conversation moments with Sapiens (community participants)
- Intentions one-on-ones — moments to create possibilities and intentions
- Creative Challenges with Psycho-Facilitators
- “How to Not” Seminars — thematic sessions on different topics related to what we don’t find in school and formal education
- Academy of philosophy, stoicism, and epicureanism
- Art (painting, writing, meditation)
- Team dynamics in collaborative environments
The topics covered will be varied and may include the self (emotions and feelings), fundamental principles, interpersonal relationships, communication and feedback, responsibility, pressure and anxiety, problem-solving attitude, self-motivation, discipline and authority, decision-making ability, negotiation and conflict resolution, work capacity (binary), flexibility and adaptability, efficiency and time management.
What is our endgame?
Sapiente it’s not about revolutionizing school or education. It is not about creating something that will replace the void representing all of our opinions on school, methods, and assessment. It is not about questioning my unhappy past at the institution. It is not about spitting on the work done by the people who facilitated my “education.”
School as we know it will continue to exist. Education as we know it will continue to exist. In fact, we need it to continue to exist. For now, there is no other.
Our intention is to create a school of creators. A school of poets with inspirations from amateurs like Steiner (Waldorf methodology), Viktor Frankl, Montessori, Agostinho da Silva, Allen, James, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Jiddu, Krishnamurti, Epictetus, William Irvine, and Seneca.
This is our response to the educational model and the school model. But, again, we don’t want to bring or revolutionize education. We just want to bring more realities into the present. This is our attempt. This is our creation.
If it excites you, visit us here.
Originally published at https://angry.ventures on November 12, 2021.