Keystone Magazine - Page 14

Interview Q: You have spoken on many occasions about experiential learning. You actively promote and want to apply experiential learning at Keystone. You also wrote a very influential essay on this particular topic. Can you elaborate on how experiential learning will be implemented at Keystone? A: Experiential learning takes place inside the classroom, where it is best exemplified when the teacher actually gets the students to do things. It is active in this sense. Experiential learning also takes place when you take students outside the classroom to explore places such as museums, Beijing and other parts of China, and outside China. Learning topics in these locations are related to what is being covered in the classroom. Finally, experiential learning happens when you are doing something, yes doing it, that is unrelated to what you are learning in the classroom, but which allows you to develop other characteristics and qualities, skills and attitudes. There are great theorists of experiential learning in China as there are in America. It is not something which is particular to any culture. It is something which is frequently ignored, however, because once you get into the routine of a school week or year people tend to focus on things which are less important than the bigger picture. At Keystone I want to have a Director of Creativity and Innovation. I want someone who is actually paid to have the time and expertise to think about doing things creatively and new. The responsibility to implement experiential learning effectively will be a duty that is included in this person’s job description, for sure. Q: What unique characteristics will a Keystone graduate possess upon graduation? A: We will produce students who are dynamic and impressive. We are (re)imagining the global preparedness needed to enable young people to become the leaders and trailblazers of their generation. We are confident that we will produce math and science students of a very high quality and we know that the way of teaching and learning through working in small groups with discussion and debate will promote the liberal arts. We are also confident that the focus on Chinese and English in a bilingual immersion model is going to produce students who are fluent in both of those languages and cultures. As students move up, they will take on yet another language in their final years. So they will have two languages, which are the two major languages of the world right now, that they are really comfortable using, and then a third language, which they will bebeginning to understand. 12 The Keystone Magazine Malcolm McKenzie at an team meeting Keystone will prepare graduates for top universities around the world. Ultimately a Keystone education will equip them to take their place as significant participants on a global stage. Q: You have been carrying Lao Tse’s Dao De Ching with you for a while. Comparatively speaking, western wisdom is also very rich. What inspirations have you received from Lao Tse’s Dao De Ching that has motivated you to carry the book with you and give weight to the wisdom that the author presents? A: There are different books that I have carried with me at different times of my life. But there are different ways of carrying books with you: you can carry them with you in your suitcase, or have them in your bedroom, and you can carry books in your head. There are also books that you can carry in your soul. So there are a number of books that I often carry with me and frequently they are with me on paper. The Dao De Ching is one. My great grandfather’s autobiography is another one. The Charter of the United Nations is another one. 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda is another. With the Dao De Ching, here was a philosopher or sage that I discovered when I was probably 15 or 16. And I just felt an immediate affinity with his way of seeing the world and writing. It has resonated with me since. I was introduced to Lao Tse by a man who was the Chaplain at my school, Bishops in Cape Town, which was a church school. He became a very good friend of mine and had quite a significant influence on me at one point.