Learning Exchanges, Field Experiences, The Repast Project, Birds of a Feather Day Camps, and Institutional Exchanges
Josuha Trees ( November 2017)
Learning Exchanges include: (1) guided travel to important regional cultural sites; (2) interdisciplinary-creative workshops; (3) mealtime conversations; and (4) ample opportunities to read, write and reflect in stunning natural and cultural geographies. Learning Exchanges also provide each group an opportunity to conduct field research and begin preparation for a collaborative issue of the Fourth World Journal, our magazine dedicated to the creative arts.
Since 2010, our Learning Consortium (formerly Witan) has helped to offer inspirational group travel. Expeditions have visited the driest desert in the world (Atacama Desert), Rapa Nui (the most remote place on earth), Patagonia and Mapuche territory. We have also enjoyed Zion, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Death Valley and Chaco National Parks. Fourth World has just completed its 2018 Learning Exchange in Kauai, Hawaii.
Upcoming Learning Exchanges include:
2019 Learning Exchange Mytheopia and Art Practice
Mount Shasta / This Learning Exchange focuses on Mytheopia and Art Practice - two of the creative concerns of Fourth World. The exchange takes place in places of stunning, inspiring beauty which also offer rich local culture (including indigenous and New Age groups) and even a local literary tradition (Oliver's A Dweller on Two Planets claims that Lemurians - ancient survivors of a sunken continent - once lived in tunnels beneath the mountain). In our literary discussions and creative workshops, we will consider “the signs and symbols” of regional artistic and religious practice as well as notions of “progress.” Creative activities, mealtime discussions, notebook and reading exercises, cooperative seminars and a group "Shasta Vortex" adventure are offered to all participants.
The Repast Project
We host supper and book clubs in local communities in order to talk about books, ideas and the creative arts in unconventional learning spaces: local restaurants, teacher's homes, farms and vineyards. But why? In our age of connectivity we have little time for face-to-face conversations and deep reading. Globally we have seen--in just one generation--a drastic decrease in all-important dinnertime conversations and a frightening rise in source illiteracy. In fact, the next generation is part of an America that seems to have no time anymore for thoughtful conversation or complex reading. The results are dire: non-readers have nearly tripled since 1978. The loss of social time and eye-to-eye group conversation conspires against today’s cyber-youth, as often they suffer from growing isolation and, understandably, are on the edge of a millennial mental health crisis. This disengagement and dearth of "Basic Skills" does not go by unnoticed by irked businesses who complain of employees that “…do not know how to effectively carry on a conversation and are unable to do things like ask questions, listen actively and maintain eye contact.”
We have provided hundreds of students, professors and community leaders with: (1) a free gourmet meal ; (2) opportunities for meaningful cross-culturalconversation about multi-dimensional issues, books and cultural art events. One student participant said, “It was an amazing experience, most of the time I am alone and it was really great to have conversations…. I valued how… at home it felt, it’s something...people should really experience.”
Birds of a Feather Day Camps
Currently, local elementary and middle school students are also eligible to apply for our free Birds of a Feather Day Camps - alternate educational activities after school that include mealtime discussions, scientific-creative-linguistic fieldwork and ends with a public creative exhibition.
These camps also allow time for the kids to put down their electronic devices, play in the fields with the goats, dogs and rabbits or feed the chickens, ducks and wild turkey.
When not reading in a hammock under the oaks, gardening or having snack-time conversation, kids read fables, make observations about the natural world, keep notebooks and take pictures, draw and paint in preparation for a sponsored, end-of week art exhibition in the middle of the woods.
FOURTH WORLD LEARNING EXCHANGES
Our Institutional Exchange Program
The aim of our Institutional Exchange Program is to improve an institution’s social, cultural and civic literacy and make it an ideal learning community.
The customized program includes workshops and materials, a mealtime conversation and day trip to visit community resources that encourage creativity, conversation and a love for books and travel.
Base-Fee includes four workshops (2 hours each) on reading and note-taking, democratic learning and civil conversation; a supper club event in your community and a regional fieldwork experience.
The institutional program also includes workshops on:
(1) Socratic discussion;
(2) the value of books and family and community meals;
(3) the "quadratics" of learning and other related "student-first" teaching approaches;
(4) notebooks and the "good life" of the mind.
The program involves a day-long regional natural-cultural-creative-scientific experience (related to the organization's mission) ending with a group mealtime conversation at a community learning resource (church, restaurant, school or farm) as well as didactic guides, books and invitations to apply for creative contests.
To host a Learning Exchange series and encourage creative collaboration in your community, please contact Fourth World at email@example.com to begin developing your Institutional Learning Exchange plan.