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forming authentic bonds and learning firsthand about cross- cultural communication.” Qualifying students may have an opportunity to share their experiences at the association’s annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference. In 2010, 11 students at the Fay School, in Southborough,


Massachusetts, partnered with Saigon South International School (SSIS), in Vietnam. After a year of studying, raising awareness and brainstorming solutions for the global water deficit, Fay students focused on the challenges families in underdeveloped countries face that must walk miles to find clean, safe, water sources. A taxing water-carrying experiment brought immediate


appreciation for the difficulty of transporting water, prompting them to invent theWaterWalker. The modified rolling cooler with heavy-duty straps attached can carry up to 40 quarts of water on large, durable wheels and axles designed to navigate rocky terrain.


Re-Imagining Education “Transformative learning, which is vital to the learning jour- ney, goes beyond the acquisition of information,” says Aftab Omer, Ph.D., president of Meridian University, in Petaluma, California, and founder of its formative Institute of Imagi- nal Studies. “In informational learning, we acquire facts, concepts, principles and even skills, but in transformative learning, we are cultivating capacities. This is how certain capabilities become embodied in us, either as individuals or as human systems,” he advises. Portrait artist Robert Shetterly tours with his series of more


than 100 portrait paintings in traveling exhibits titled Ameri- cans Who Tell the Truth. They are helping individuals learn to embody patience, perseverance and compassion, while


34 Chicago North & North Shore www.NAChicagoNorth.com


enhancing their understanding of sustainability, social justice, civic activism, democracy and civil rights, via both historical role models and contemporary mentors such as environmental activist Bill McKibben, conservationist Terry Tempest Williams and renowned climate scientist James Hansen. “We don’t need to invent the wheel, because we have role models that have confronted these issues and left us a valuable legacy,” remarks Shetterly. In 2004, he collaborated to produce a companion curriculum with Michele Hemenway, who continues to offer it in Louisville, Kentucky, elementary, middle and high schools. Hemenway also teaches Art in Education at Jefferson Community & Technical College and 21st-Century Civics at Bellamine University, both in Louisville. Out of many, she shares a particularly compelling ex- ample of a student transformed due to this learning method: “I taught a young girl studying these true stories and portraits from the third through fifth grades when she took her place in a leadership group outside the classroom. Now in middle school, she is doing amazing things to make a difference in her community,” says Hemenway. Reflecting on her own life, deciding what she cared about most and what actions she wanted to take, plus her own strengths, helped the student get a blighted building torn down, document and photograph neighborhood chemical dumping and have it stopped and succeed in establishing a community garden, a factor known to help reduce crime. Among Shetterly’s collection is the portrait of John


Hunter, a teacher in Charlottesville, Virginia, who devised the World Peace Game for his fourth grade students. Chil- dren learn to communicate, collaborate and take care of each other as they work to resolve the game’s conflicts. The


Bill McKibben portrait by Robert Shetterly


Terry Tempest Williams portrait by Robert Shetterly


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