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The story of the da Vinci Program: a narrative study of an alternative learning approach Després, Blane Rolland 1994

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THE STORY OF THE BA VINCI PROGRAM: A NARRATIVE STUDYOF AN ALTERNATWE LEARNING APPROACHbyBLANE ROLLAND DESPRESBA., Mount Allison University, 1977BEd., Acadia University, 1980A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(CENTRE FOR STUDIES N CURRICULUM ANT) INSTRUCTION)We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAAugust, 1994Copyright © Blane Rolland Després, 1994In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of therequirements for an advanced degree at the University of BritishColumbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely availablefor reference and study. I further agree that permission forextensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may begranted by the head of my department or by his or herrepresentatives. It is understood that copying or publication ofthis thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without mywritten permission.(Department of L /isThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate AUosAbstractIn the spring of 1991 I read The Walkabout Papers, by Maurice Gibbons (1990) in whichhe posits an alternative curriculum that includes experiential learning along the lines of theAustralian aborigine walkabout tradition. This profoundly affected me and lead me in August ofthe same year to write a paper entitled “The da Vinci Files” which was the beginning ofmyattempts to bring about some radical changes in the way we undertake the education ofadolescents. My intention was to implement Gibbons’ ideas that academic year. Following astaff meeting where this paper was presented and input was solicited, a group of four otherteachers became actively involved with me in further developing the ideas. The group becameknown as the da Vinci team and the ideas eventually became clarified and solidified as the daVinci Program.In the da Vinci Program the student undertakes six passages over the course of the finalthree years of secondary school in conjunction with course work, thus incorporating the student’sexperiential learning in the curriculum. A passage is a particular learning event. The six passagecategories are philosophical inquiry, physical challenge, practical skill, creative endeavour,career exploration, and community/global awareness. For each passage, the student must presenta written proposal and negotiate it with a teacher/advisor and maintain a journal in order todocument the experiences during the passage completion from which s/he will conclude theexperience in a wrap-up. The culmination of the passage is a public celebration after completionduring which time the passage experience is shared with the audience.The da Vinci Program is about learning in as complete a manner as is currently possiblein the public school system. I contend that schooling is not complete, that it tends too muchtoward mastery of subject matter and that it tends to neglect the learner as an experiential andinteractive being in the realm of daily existence. It is largely out of this frame of thinking thatthe da Vinci Program developed. Nonetheless, the inception, development and attemptedimplementation of this program at Chugalong (name altered) Secondary School, BritishColumbia, have been experiences of diverse proportions for me as the initiator and as aparticipant-observer.11The foundation of this program (Gibbons’ [1990] Walkabout concept) helps students toarticulate better their goals and to pursue personal interests that aid in the achievement of thosegoals while it demands greater interaction between school and community members (Gibbons,1990; Bogard, 1992; Langberg, 1992; Horwood, 1987). The da Vinci Program, the adaptation ofideas from Gibbons’ writings (1990, 1991) and materials from Jefferson County Mountain OpenSchool near Denver, Colorado, is innovative and radical in the context of the traditional approachto schooling that is prevalent in most public schools (witness the British Columbia Ministry ofEducation curricular innovation, Year 2000: A Framework For Learners [1989], whichattempted to address public concerns about the nature of schooling).As the da Vinci Program developed and moved into the timetable as a curricular offering,difficulties arose that confinned issues and concerns in implementation as noted by Gibbons(1990), Miller & Seller (1990), Eisner, (1985), Doll, (1989), and Pratt, (1980). The problems dueto the attempted implementation of da Vinci that I chose to examine were the challenges ofchange (personal, pedagogical and socio-political) as well as the curricular orientation of theProgram in comparison with traditional schooling. As a teacher, the effects of these changescaused a shift in my thinking and approach to learning and living. Personal and pedagogicalchanges that I noted included my outlook on educating, interpersonal relationships with students,and a more critical interest in schooling.Socio-political changes that I documented and reflected upon confirmed Miller & Seller’s(1990) findings concerning temporal, social and institutional workings affected by an innovationthat proceeds to implementation. Teacher reticence to change, structural alterations in the schoolprogram, community uncertainty about curricular offerings, and administrative ambiguity (interms of roles, responsibilities, interests and actions) were difficulties that I noted and foundsupported by the literature (Provost, 1993; Hansen, D., 1992; Migyanico, 1992; Miller & Seller,1990; Cornbleth, 1990; Doll, 1989; Mitchell, 1989; Steger & Leithwood, 1989; McCutcheon,1988; Sergiovanni, 1987; Martin, Saif& Thiel, 1986; Brady, 1985; Knight, 1985; McNeil, 1985;Carson, 1984; Cuban, 1984; Eisner, 1983, 1985; Giroux, 1983; Wilson, 1981; Aronowitz, 1980;Baidridge, 1977; Gibbons 1976, 1990; Pratt, 1980; Hills, l975b).‘iiProblems associated with the challenges of change in education are linked to curriculumorientations (Miller & Seller, 1990), or ideologies, and as such demand an examination in thecontext of the da Vinci Program and its foundation. My choice ofMiller & Seller’s (1990)treatment of orientations and meta-orientations was borne out of philosophical analysis of theProgram. I found that the da Vinci Program tended to be a mixture of the Transactional andTransformational meta-orientations. I also posited that the foundation of the Program could beargued as a meta-orientation or over-arching guiding principle for curriculum in its own right.The discussion about curricular change and orientations via da Vinci lends itself, too, tocomparisons with the traditional practice of schooling in North America. However, since the daVinci Program was never “fully” implemented (which is to be understood as I speak ofimplementation throughout this thesis) at Chugalong Secondary, a complete analysis of thebenefits or drawbacks is impossible at this point. Nonetheless, I have made some comparativepoints which are drawn from my teaching experience and from various research findings. Thekey points that I found were that, 1) traditional schooling practices have changed little over thecourse of the past century despite literature that challenges the traditional paradigm (Cuban,1984; Pallas, 1993) and, 2) the nature of this traditional paradigm tends to be a function ofeconomics and institutional convenience and needs to concentrate more on full humandevelopment (Chamberlain & Chamberlain, 1993; Ozar, 1993; Becher, 1992; Goodson, 1992;Harber, 1992; Gough, 1991; Levin, 1991; Mallea, 1989; Mitchell, 1989; Bacharach, 1988;Clandinin & Connelly, 1987; Tizzell, 1987; English, 1986; Gray & Chanoff, 1986; Oakes,1986a, 1986b; Aronowitz & Giroux, 1985; Blackledge & Hunt, 1985; Cuban, 1984; Eisner,1983; Sanders, 1981; Anyon, 1980; Apple, 1980; Kohl, 1980; Donmoyer, 1979; Madgie, 1979;Gibbons, 1976, 1990; Proctor, 1975; Freire, 1974; Illich, 1973; Lister, 1973; Collins, 1971;Coombs, 1967; Rogers, 1967; Withelms, 1967; Parsons, 1959; Russell, 1949).The information which I amassed in seeking to explicate the da Vinci Program was usefulalso in reflecting on the Program’s potential worth, not just for me or to me, but in theeducational process as well. The Walkabout concept that Gibbons (1990) developed and thatserves as the foundation of the da Vinci Program has been proven effective (Gibbons, 1990,iv1992; Bogard, 1992; Langberg, 1992; Horwood, 1987). To speak of the worth of the da VinciProgram, then, requires looking at it through the Walkabout program, for example, in JeffersonCounty Mountain Open School. The development of the da Vinci Program resulted in a locallyproduced working document that can be utilized by educators to understand the Program and itspotential effects, and to implement it.The nature of the da Vinci Program lends itself to a narrative explication rather than astatistical analysis. Curriculum innovation and implementation obviously involve elements thatare not so given to quantification. The thinking process, the undergirding of choices made, thequestions raised, the power structure and struggles, the nature of educating, the role of students,teachers, community and administration, all in the context of implementing this Program, areexperiential factors that elude quantification. Yet, such elements are significant parts in theprocess of education. The narrative voice is one dimension of the academic experience thataffords a means of furthering our understanding of the educational process and complementingthe knowledge we have about curriculum innovation and implementation. I will be employingprimarily my voice throughout this document. However, there are places and moments when thenecessity of using the first person plural in reference to the da Vinci team should be evident Inthe chapter layout of this story I have employed the format used in the da Vinci Program itself:proposal, passage, and wrap-up. The Appendices contain documents that relate directly to the daVinci Program from the initial presentation to the staff (Appendix 1, “The da Vinci Files”) to theworking documents (Appendix 4), Passage examples by some of the students (Appendix 5), to afinal report that was completed for accreditation purposes (Appendix 6, “GraduationDevelopment Site, 1991/92 Final Report). In this way, I have sought to offer the reader not onlyreference materials for clarifying my experiences in the da Vinci Program, but also workingdocuments whose function may serve to help in the implementation of a similar program.vTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract.iiTable of Contents viList of Tables viiAcknowledgmentIntroduction Background 1The da Vinci Program 3The Issues 11Methodology 12Directions in My Thinking 13The Walkabout Papers 14Chapter One Proposal:Genesis of an idea 18StaffMeeting and Response 19The Core Group 20Site Development Grant Proposal 20Jefferson County Mountain Open School 24Chapter Two Passage:Pilot Program 28Administrative Involvement 31Presentations and Responses 34Change and Timetables 35Preparation for Implementation: The Art of Quiet Revolution 36Year One: Walk Through 38ADaylntheLife 40Influences Across the Curriculum 45Chapter Three Wrap-up:The da Vinci Program: Foundational Considerations 48Historical and Philosophical Influences 49Curriculum Orientations 50Principles of Self-Education 57Strengths and Problems 58Strengths 59Problems 60On Ideology 63Summary and Conclusions 66ANewMythos 67Shifting Paradigms: Poetic Catharsis 75Recommendations 77viWhat I Would Do Differently .81Bibliography 85Appendix 1 The da Vinci Files 95Appendix 2 Initial Site Development Grant Proposal 97Appendix 3 Staff Presentation Agenda, Feb. 5 107Appendix 4 da Vinci Program Working Documents 108da Vinci Assessment 127Appendix 5 Passage Examples:Pilot Group 135YearOnç 137Appendix 6 Graduation Development Site 199 1/92 Final Report 142viiList of TablesTable 1. Comparison of Noted Strengths and Problems of The Walkabout ConceptIn Relation to The Student, The Teacher, and The System of Educating 61viiiAcknowledgmentI am particularly indebted to Dr. Maurice Gibbons whose interview with me was bothtimely and provocative as I attempted to analyze my experiences in teaching and in theimplementation of his ideas (modified) through the da Vinci Program.Mr. Jeff Bogard deserves mention also for his time and sharing his experience andinsights from being in and with the Walkabout program at Jefferson County Mountain OpenSchool near Denver, Colorado since approximately 1974. Together, these two men providedmuch needed (and sought) direction and information that aided in the facilitation of thedevelopment of the da Vinci Program.Without Drew, Kerry, Linda and Val (and later, Sally) the da Vinci Program would havestruggled merely as a personal curricular interest and likely would have not developed into anactual program offering in the timetable.ixIntroductionBackgroundThe crucial issue of secondary education, and perhaps of all education, is how topromote the successful transition of youth from childhood and school toadulthood and the community (Gibbons, 1976: 1).Such curriculum activities and additions as advising, outdoor education, gifted programs,global awareness projects, to name a few, and meta-curriculum (Miller & Seller, 1990) directionshave been attempted in schools over the years with varying degrees of success or failuredepending on the tenacity and energy of the implementers, budgets, politics, and long-termvision (Cuban, 1984). While educators have claimed for decades that schooling is for the wholechild, much evidence, in fact, suggests that the opposite is true in practice (Becher, 1992;Cousins, 1991; Ministry of Education, 1989a, 1989b, 1990; Gibbons, 1976, 1990, 1991; Cuban,1984; Illich, 1973; Lister, 1973; Rogers, 1967; Wilhelms, 1967). My own experience in teachingbears this out both in practice and in observations.In practice, the curriculum has determined the content, by and large, with variationsoccurring on occasion (i.e., activities of a more personal nature to the student). Evaluationschemes tend toward regurgitation of rote material, and staffmembers have shared their lamentsabout trying to “get the class to learn” a particular point (Cuban, 1984; Gibbons, 1990; Eisner,1983). At the secondary level, schooling as an atomistic practice is the norm (Miller and Seller,1990; Eisner, 1983, 1985). The opportunity for the individual student to deal effectively or tolearn to deal effectively with a personal issue or interest is generally a function of the counselingdepartment or administration. There is little room left in the already crowded timetable andcurricula for teaching students other skills that will be, in many respects, more practical in day today living now as well as in adulthood. This was Gibbons’ (1976, 1990) thesis, and it served asan impetus for change for me and my approach to educating. The result of reading TheWalkabout Papers (Gibbons, 1990) was the adaptation of Gibbons’ concepts in what I called theda Vinci Program (explained in detail below).The overall experience of teaching has intrigued me in the light of the institutionalizationof education, or what I call schooling. I was struck a number of times by the way we go abouteducating. It seemed more often than not the expending of energy, but with only the occasional1moment of satisfaction. I have taught for twelve years in the public school system: five years at alarge secondary school (approximately 1600 students from grades ten to twelve) and two years ina junior secondary in Nova Scotia, and five years in a rural junior-secondary school in BritishColumbia. I taught French as a Second Language along with, for a brief two year existence, aGifted program. But listening to other teachers and parents, and seeing the results of schoolingover a period of time along with my experiences with a number of different administrators whowere neither good managers nor curriculum experts left me in a tension between simplysurviving in a tough job and wanting to improve the whole system of education.My active interests included research in values education, philosophy for children,metacognition (in essence, reflecting on our own thinking process), and synthesizing these three.I believed that there was something missing in the curriculum, something that would enablestudents to be more active in the learning process which I thought was too impersonal and notreally relevant to the student. When I read others who stated much the same thing (Gibbons,1990; Eisner, 1983; Lipman, 1980; Freire, 1974; Illich, 1973), I was delighted but saddened atthe lack or slow rate of change.I was able to practice some of the above educational interests in the Gifted program that Itaught for two years with the result that the students, for the most part, were able to pursueprojects of a more personal nature. The students were challenged to perform their personal best,to think of alternative approaches, to reflect on their thinking, and to enjoy success. For me, thiswas probably the highlight of those twelve years of teaching in the regular curriculum. Thosefew students still make reference to a positive and valued experience. Gifted programs, though,tend to be centered on the few and, as I have discovered, dependent on the economic well-beingof the district. At the end of the second year, the Gifted program was removed from thetimetable due, it was claimed, to fiscal restraints. It seemed to me to be one more example of abeneficial and necessary program for the student that was removed for reasons other thanpedagogical. My frustrations and dissatisfaction with this system of education continued togrow, however, and I was beginning to lose interest in the profession of teaching even as I alteredmy French Program each year in attempts to involve the students more in their learning process.2Chugalong Secondary School had a small population when I began there (roughly 400students in grades 8 to 12) comprised of children from white, middle-class families and aminority native settlement. The community is a remote rural setting with a vicinity population ofapproximately 3000 people. The average age of the school staff is approximately early fortieswith relative stability of the group although the administration tends to be changed roughly everyfour to five years. The average teaching experience of the staffwithin the district is 10 to 15years.Away from the entrance to this school, tucked in between the penitentiary-like walls ofthe gymnasium that guard the parking lot and the office with its protected rampart-like windows,there is an arresting view, a refreshing view that replaces the uninviting one behind the viewer. Ifelt it every time I went into the school and would often marvel at that incredible sight. Thedome ofMt. Elphinstone in the near distance with its range and the bay below are poeticallybeautiful. These are seen briefly as one exits the building, but nowhere in the school is that viewexploited.The da Vinci ProgramThe da Vinci Program, on the other hand, is the view without, the opening of the walls,the re-establishment of the link with the world ironically where educating began, begins, ends.Let the name da Vinci conjure up visions of cathedrals, flying machines, tanks, submarines, andother engineering feats long before their time, or of an enigmatic portrait now revered behind avault in the magnificent Louvre, or ofwritings and musings of one of the greatest geniuses evenbeyond the Renaissance. Rebirth. It is the quintessential call to the process called education. Inthis rather remote community, in an unassuming structure that marks and fosters traditionalschooling as well as any, the adherents of the da Vinci Program, which draws upon the notion ofinsatiable, willful, life-long learning as that master of Renaissance history so demonstrated,struggle to adapt, to establish, to succeed, even to encompass, and to lead.Although we adapted much of Gibbons’ material, the actual da Vinci working documentsare closer approximations to the Walkabout Program at Jefferson County Mountain Open Schoolnear Denver, Colorado. The following description of the ideal da Vinci Program is comprised of3a mixture and development of these two influences which came about as we developed theProgram (in Chapter Two, Year One, p. 39, I discuss the Program as it actually unfolded). Theda Vinci Program itself is comprised of six passage categories (the full working documents arefound in Appendix 4, p. 108). These differ from Gibbons’ (1990) list of passages: adventure,creative expression, logical inquiry, practical application, and service (later, he added a sixth,academic [l991b1).•Philosophical Inquiry—dealing with deeper issues that demand logical reasoning andreflection; i.e., personal loss, life after death, suffering.•Physical Challenge—performing an activity that challenges physical endurance andstamina; i.e., a bike trip for a weekend or a week, rock climbing.•Practical Skill—acquiring a skill that previously required someone else to complete; i.e.,repairing small appliances, minor mechanics, gardening.•Career Exploration—in-depth look at an occupation of interest; i.e., shadowing aprofessional for a period of time.•Community/Global Awareness—researching and responding to an environmental issue;i.e., logging practices, waste management, hunger programs.•Creative Endeavour—demonstration of a project in the visual or performing arts; i.e., aphotography exhibit, a dance production.The da Vinci Program, as in Gibbons’ (1990, 1991) writings, emphasizes self-directedlearning through guided instruction, through the teacher/advisor, and through practicalexperience. The learning activities undertaken by the student are interrelated in three domains:personal, social/interpersonal, and academic or technical. The teacher/advisor role involvesfacilitating and advising using diverse strategies which assist students in developing the attitudes,personality characteristics, and skills needed to pursue and achieve their goals.Each student in the Program must negotiate an individualized action plan (initially, aproposal), or learning contract with his/her advisor. This document is designed to be not only aninstrument for self-directed learning, but also a guide to maximizing the student’s learningthroughout the passage process. In meeting the demands of each of the six passages of the4Program, the parts of the contract should anticipate the difficulties and challenges the studentwill face as well as indicate solutions for the student to explore. Ideally, the contract willidentify the vision or goals of the student, the learning strategies to be used, acceptabledemonstrations of achievement, and the roles of each participant. The teacher/advisor needs tounderstand the nature of the project being undertaken, the anticipated learning outcomes, andagree upon the standards that will be used to evaluate the outcomes. As part of the proposal, thestudent must negotiate an evaluation technique that includes a minimum, an excellent, and asuperior level of achievement (Gibbons, 1991), thereby incorporating evaluation in the learningprocess. As part of the passage process, students are required (and learn) to keep a workingjournal as they progress. The journal is a sketchbook or record of thinking, learning, planning,action and reflection, becoming a resource of ideas and reflections, much like the notebooks ofLeonardo da Vinci.The learner is encouraged not only to synthesize the learning experiences, but also tobecome conscious of developing skills, applying processes, pursuing goals, and participating in avariety of experiences. Evaluation is both formal and informal, and includes self-assessment asmuch as assessment by those supporting the student (such as a group of advisors and peersupport group). While the demonstration of outcomes is an important aspect of evaluation ingeneral, much of the evaluation/assessment in the Program will be through journal entries duringthe passage process and the wrap-up, advisor reports, and creative work, all of which will besynthesized and documented in a formal portfolio. Students are responsible for formative self-assessments to monitor their ongoing progress as well as summative self-evaluations that involvecareful self-reflection and analysis of their learning experiences. Peer assessment takes the formof support groups known as triads or quads. In these small groups, peers informally discuss andassess each other’s passages providing ongoing support, suggestions and feedback. Parents playa key role in assessment by receiving and providing feedback at meetings and in theirinvolvement in their children’s passage.Advisors are responsible for monitoring the student’s self-assessment process throughinterviews, anecdotal records, proposal editing, progress charts, etc. From such interactions5advisors also provide external, objective feedback to students. Feedback is ongoing and rangesfrom informal interactions to formal structured assessments. Advising could also be a functionof a mentoring team comprised of specific teachers, parents, and other supporters (although muchof the work of advising takes place on a one to one basis). Ideally this team works with thestudent to foster an environment that is caring, safe and effective for learning. Together, or bytaking on specific roles, members of the mentor team teach and guide the student in learning howto learn and in how to achieve goals, as well as in the learning and achieving itself. The mentorteam becomes involved in assisting with assessment and evaluation, as well as in celebratingachievements with the student. The team is assembled based on the needs of the student and thecharacteristics of his/her goals.The student is not left on his/her own but surrounded by a support system which includesboth the human resources and facilities available within the school and the community. Ianticipated that learning would include an exploration of the available support systems, how theresources in the school and community could be bridged and/or used in support of the student’slearning experience.I imagined the ideal role of the school administration as both an enabler and an objectivesource of assessment by providing informal and formal feedback to advisors and students as wellas to board officials. Meanwhile, the school as a whole serves as a venue to present and displaypassage wrap-ups and provide public support and feedback to students and advisors.I became convinced early in the inception stage of the da Vinci Program that Gibbons’ideas should be a regular part of the student’s learning environment in secondary educationparticularly within the context of the alleged many problems in education (see Goodlad, 1985;Cuban, 1984; Apple, 1983; Illich, 1973; Rogers, 1967; Wilhelms, 1967), public demand forquality (i.e., product [the student] and accountability [undocumented comments from parentsover twelve years ofmy teaching experience]) and lamented deficiency of education in providingthe adolescent with the requisite skills for the transition to adulthood as a contributing member ofsociety (Gibbons, 1990; Ministry of Education, 1989a, 1989b, 1990; Wilhelms, 1967).Early in his career, Dr. Maurice Gibbons, Professor Emeritus at Simon Fraser University,6considered the plight of the adolescent as s/he left school and faced society: an adult world inwhich the individual is expected to participate as a thinking, responding, efficient and capableperson who productively maintains his/her society. In “Walkabout: Searching for the Right ofPassage from Childhood and School,” an article published in the Phi Delta Kappan (May, 1974)which was to become the most requested reprint in the history of the journal (Gibbons, 1990:xvi), Gibbons laid the ground work for an alternative learning approach after questioning theappropriateness of the traditional North American education system in relation to the readiness ofthe adolescent in preparation for adulthood. In his book, The Walkabout Papers (1990), heremarked that the traditional methods seemed so wasteful since these methods failed (generally)to be relevant to the actual needs of the student such that “[nb matter what we did, within thetraditional framework...,” students’ interest waned and they seemed unprepared in the transitionto adulthood (p. 2). He noted how he was struck by the “stark contrast between the aborigine’swalkabout experience and the test of an adolescent’s readiness for adulthood in our own society”(p. 2). The Walkabout concept evolved as a practical response to the lack of a trulyrepresentative “rite of passage,” one in which the educational experience would truly prepare theindividual “for the transition from dependent adolescence to an independent, productiveadulthood” (p. xv).Gibbons argued for the importance of learning processes that “. . .could be used for alifetime; responsibility, challenge and real-world projects not only [would lead] to the desiredlearning in compelling ways, but [also] to personal growth and the development of character” (p.iv). These processes include “goal-setting and planning, designing one’s own learning project,communicating, problem-solving, leading and participating in groups, reflecting in solitude,securing and organizing resources, and evaluating one’s progress” (p. xiv). Thus Gibbons, alongwith some associates, developed the Walkabout concept. In essence, it is a learner-focusedprogram of challenging students to adopt a challenge of personal best in five areas (mentionedabove): “adventure, creative expression, logical inquiry, practical application, and service” (p.xv. In Slashing a Pathway to Education 2000: SefDirection, Integration, ChallengeGraduation, Gibbons introduced a sixth area, “academic concentration” in which the student was7to become an “expert” in a particular field [1991b: 1071). In each of these categories, the studentmust negotiate a learning contract that includes the purpose of the project, the intended outcome,the means of achieving the goal, and a tn-level evaluation scheme ofminimum, excellent, andsuperior level of achievement. In this curriculum, subjects/disciplines are still a part of thestudent’s learning plan but with more relevance since the students, and this is the crucial point,are more involved in the planning process of their goals and seeking those courses that arepertinent to their attaining them. All of this is facilitated through teacher/advisors, directcommunity involvement, and a more flexible school structure; one that is conducive to individuallearning. Similarly, the da Vinci Program challenges the traditional view of teaching, learning,curriculum offerings, timetables, and community involvement but it can also serve as anintegrative agent: course to course, course to life experience of the learner, learner to community,community to school.Ideally, the da Vinci Program is a program that demands, teaches and fostersresponsibility, self-direction, time-management, study strategies, writing skills, journal keeping,interviewing and critical thinking. I argue, with Gibbons, that including the experiential ineducation via a structured program such as da Vinci better prepares the adolescent for thatinevitable transition to adulthood with the subsequent demands of society (but this is not to saythat school is the only institution where this is possible).However, the function of education appears, especially in practice, to revolve aroundprofessional and expert determination ofwhat the adolescent qa student needs (Chamberlain &Chamberlain, 1993; Barone, 1992; Parker, 1992; Levin, 1991; Gibbons, 1990; Jackard, 1988;Brooks, 1986; Driver & Oldham, 1986; English, 1986; Knight, 1985; Lipman, 1984; Cuban,1984; Eisner, 1983). Arguments are couched in terms like “society,” “economics,” “businessdemands,” “community needs,” “basics.” Education is confused with schooling and course workwith learning. How do these aspects ofNorth American culture aid the emerging adolescent inthe face of peer pressures about drugs, sex, alcohol, smoking, or gangs? How does being anotherface in a classroom of 25 to 30 or more other students the same age, being expected and pushedto perform at a prescribed pace, time and level in any particular course aid the individual student8in dealing with the reality of a broken home, a parent with multiple partners, and increasedresponsibility to function maturely in the absence ofmodels? These are the “realities” that I haveencountered in my classrooms through open inquiry (1985 - 1993) and in some readings (Bibby,1990; Anyon, 1981). How is staid traditional educating supposed to be significant to adolescentsin the above context and in light of competing fast-action, sensually-gratifying films, videogames, television, or music? Where in the burdened curriculum offerings ofmost schools isthere space or time for teaching those essential skills for coping with loss, depression, conflictingvalues, personal interests and issues? Where is there adequate time for helping the adolescentwho, through interrupting, belligerence, defiance, or apathy, demonstrates socially inappropriatebehaviour? As Darling-Hammond (1993) pointed out,Efforts to create more socially connected “learning communities” are buttressedby research evidence on the importance of alternative organizationalarrangements— smaller schools fostering caring, common learning experiences ofrelevance to students, positive faculty and peer relations, cooperative work, sharedvalues, and participation of parents, teachers and students (p. xviii).In at least the majority of years that I taught before reading Gibbons’ (1990) book, TheWalkabout Papers, I was struck more and more by the process of schooling and its intensity. Inthat time, I sought ways and means of not simply enlivening the practice of teaching, my practiceof teaching, but ofmaking the process more “learner friendly” without degrading the content ofteaching or the purpose of learning. The above questions are ones that I have both raised, readand heard from others and which are important in relation to the da Vinci Program in that,ideally, the Program more readily enables the adolescent to begin to seek constructive responsesin a structured, though not limiting, framework. Altering evaluation techniques, teachingcooperatively, field trips, and personal projects are all important and satisfying to some, but onlyto a limited extent. For myself, I was caught between having to deliver course content within amanaged time frame and wanting to be able to help students address more practical issues.In the past century of education, various groups and individuals have sought to balancethe curriculum by including other than academic programs in order to offer students a broaderapproach to life, thus assisting them (Carter, 1984; Lipman, 1984; Simon, Howe &9Kirschenbaum, 1978; Frazier, 1976; Freire, 1974; Raths, Harmin & Simon, 1966; Dworkin,1965). A conclusion that I have drawn is that if education were complete, then there would be noneed of a Progressive movement or any other challenge to the curriculum. But I have read aboutand heard on numerous occasions staffmembers decrying the “over emphasis” on academics ormaking calls to raise the status of various “peripheral” subjects such as power mechanics,woodworking, family management, and languages (Gough, 1991; Goodlad, 1987; Apple, 1983;Conners, 1983; Eisner, 1983; Donmoyer, 1979; Madgie, 1979; Gibbons, 1976, 1990, 1991b;Proctor, 1975; Illich, 1973). Traditional education in practise lacks committed consideration ofthe whole child (Pallas, 1993; Eisner, 1983; Anyon, 1980; Gibbons, 1976, 1990; Wilhelms,1967, Coombs, 1967; Rogers, 1967). In reality, only parts of his/her mind tend to be addressed.This is not to ignore that there are curricular components that attempt to help the student dealwith other than academic issues. Nevertheless, the lack of processes for students, such asphilosophy for children or values clarification programs, that are more specifically suited forsuch issues and that are grounded in research findings, is real. It is absurd to believe that largegroups of adolescents, grouped according to age, expected to perform at near the same level andtime are being benefited by this and by the major emphasis on academics to the virtual exclusionof the experiential (Oakes, 1986a, 1986b; Cuban, 1984; Lipman, 1984; Gibbons, 1976, 1990;Illich, 1973; Lister, 1973). As an example, whenever the da Vinci team (the teachers whobecame interested and active in the da Vinci Program) made a presentation to parents oreducators on Professional Development Days, one of us would ask, “What is a key experience orsignificant event that you had and that you wouldn’t mind divulging to the group?” Theresponses never included an event in school which the da Vinci team would then emphasize.As I indicated above, the da Vinci Program, as part of the secondary school curriculum, isa set of parameters that help the adolescent to focus on a specific topic of personal interest,developing various associated skills, and gaining from personal experiences. Theteachers/advisors are supporters, guides, sounding posts, critics, supervisors, co-learners, andencouragers. Does the da Vinci Program begin to address the above mentioned schoolingproblems? Certainly the Walkabout concept has proven successful in these areas (Gibbons,101992, 1990; Bogard, 1992; Langberg, 1992; Horwood, 1987). Ideally the da Vinci Programwould address these problems, but a specific study of the da Vinci Program would need to beundertaken after a period of time to prove the particular long-term effects of the Program atChugalong Secondary.While the many merits of such an alternative approach are verifiable (Bogard, 1992;Langberg, 1992; Gibbons, 1991, 1992; Horwood, 1987), the da Vinci Program did notexperience a full implementation (to the time of this writing, three years after its inception) atChugalong Secondary. To elucidate the issues and arrive at a response that is both insightful tofuture program innovators and conclusive for me about the worth of this experience, serve partlyas the impetus for this thesis. I also believe that it will better prepare the innovator who wishesto undertake the implementation of this Program in particular. Thus, the following issues willserve as the parameters for pursuing this study.The IssuesThe da Vinci Program itself demands a critical analysis as a radical program that saw itsdebut in a remote, public secondary school in British Columbia and that laboured long before theeyes of the majority of the school staff and district bureaucrats. As intimated above, school-widereticence in adopting this Program as an alternative learning approach plagued the da Vinci teamfrom the beginning and even after two years of development, presentations, informing, a pilotattempt, and a particular offering in the school’s curriculum. My initial response was to wonderif this was a phenomenon endemic to this site or indicative of a greater problem outlined in theeducational research (i.e., teacher malaise, institutional politics, social valuing). I havedeliberately concentrated on the staff and administrators for the most part in this study mainlybecause these are the key individuals who have a greater impact upon the acceptance and fullimplementation of a program. Why should anybody, not just educators but also students andparents, want to know about this Program? What makes it significant particularly in the face ofstaff reticence? These are significant questions to which I will attempt to respond as I examinethe challenges of change (personal, socio-political and pedagogical) due to the da Vinci Programalong with its curriculum orientation.11There are two key issues, then, that I will endeavour to examine in this study. These are,1) the challenges of change brought about, in this case, by the da Vinci Program, a curricularinnovation and attempted implementation and, 2) the particular curriculum orientation of theProgram. A third issue that corresponding to the first two, but which is not readily treatable indetail in this study, is the comparison of traditional schooling with the foundation of thisProgram.MethodologyThe story of the da Vinci Program is about ideals, about innovation and implementation,and it is about the effects of the same on people as well as on schooling. This is an inquiry, then,into a social event which I shall undertake by means of recollected and documented incidences ofthe process, having been a participant-observer. There is a particular difficulty here in that as Iunfold the story, I change voices depending on the circumstance or reference. Thus, it is moreappropriate at times that I speak as a participant in the group. At other times, I speak about theProgram, or a related educational issue as an observer, somewhat detached as I reflect upon it.As the reader, think of the unfolding of this story like a fireside, but academic conversation withme. As I speak, the story weaves in and out ofmy experiences in the da Vinci Program, at timesdrawing in pertinent topics that I believe help to clarifr particular points and/or my thinking.DiPardo (1990) emphasizes the point that narrative is both significant and essential in thedevelopment of knowledge particularly of the “human condition.” She states, “one’s ownvoice—indeed, one’s intellectual self—is a dynamic blend of the personal and public” (p. 83).References to “Journal Notes” are taken from my notes maintained throughout thedevelopment of the Program and are followed by the day-month-year so as to give the reader achronological reference in the development of this story. The transcription of personal notes,related materials over the course of the da Vinci Program’s development and implementation,samples of passages, and my readings will serve as the data.Chapters one through three are arranged similarly to the pattern followed in undertaking aPassage in the Program as outlined above. For a Passage, the student must submit a formalproposal in which the desired learning experience is presented along with the intended evaluation12scheme. This is followed by the actual undertaking and documentation of the experience (the“passage”) and, finally, by the wrap-up where the student summarizes the experience, reflectsupon it, and draws whatever conclusions are appropriate. This narrative, then, follows a logicalsequence from the background information that led up to the inception of the da Vinci Programnotion to the idea as a proposal to the staff of Chugalong Secondary School through to the finalstage, or wrap-up wherein I examine the curriculum foundation of the Program and reflect uponthe story of da Vinci. I invite the reader to reflect upon the story and the information I haveincluded along the way and to ask, “What are my own presuppositions as I contemplateeducation and this story?” In the final chapter, under “Recommendations,” I include somethoughts on what I would have done differently and suggest to the reader that you ask yourselfwhat you would have done differently. In this way, you will participate in this story at a deeperlevel. As a potential program implementor, the exercise should prove beneficial to you if for noother reason than to stimulate greater reflection upon the activity of educating and thereby,hopefully, cause some positive changes.Directions in My ThinkingTeaching as an integrating process of self and others in the context of learning, be itknowledge or practice, has only become a deeper interest to me within the past eight years. Inthe four years previous to these I was preoccupied with maintaining the status quo of schooling,developing my identity, using the memories ofmy student days to guide my approach in dealingwith students, and struggling to balance teacher-as-authority with teacher-as-human. I taughtFrench as a Second Language from grades 7 through 12 for twelve years and also a Giftedprogram for grades 9 and 10 for two of those years. The interaction with students andinvolvement in extracurricular activities with them was, overall, an enjoyable time. I was able totranscend the barrier of teacher/authority and studentJperson. I initiated a philosophy club as anavenue for dealing with deeper issues not provided for in the main curriculum and a leisure clubfor those who just wanted an alternative place to relax during breaks. I have attempted reformingmy approach in the delivery of content nearly every year. Some have been subtle alterations(such as evaluation schemes) and some have been major shifts, both in thinking and approach13(treating students as people, as humans). Nonetheless, even after making changes in the coursesI taught, I discovered that the “right” approach was still not achieved.The rigidity of a too-often-stale curriculum (Cuban, 1984), the demands of a distant(figurative and real) administration (Moore, 1992; Bacharach & Shedd, 1989; Mitchell, 1989;Tizzell, 1987; Brady, 1985), the pressures and redundancy of performing the requisite duties, andthe desire to ameliorate at least the learning process for students led me to despair at times aboutthe teaching profession and what seemed like the attending act ofmerely processing students.The image of factory and workers in an impersonal and stifling atmosphere (to which Eisner[1983] also refers) was quite often one I entertained in my thoughts and with friends, not becauseI was cynical but because the institutionalization of education and its practice reminded me ofsuch a metaphor. It led to much pondering and discussions with those outside of school whoindicated interest. I was genuinely concerned with finding the best way to teach given theconstraints of time, resources, curriculum demands, and professional or administrative support. Iwas excited to read how the teacher could exemplify learning through praxis (Freire, 1974). Andwhen I read about an alternative curriculum (Gibbons, 1990) that spoke to those very areas that Ihad been contemplating for some time, I became increasingly interested in the process ofeducating.Leonardo da Vinci, who delved insatiably into the world around him seeking to knowmore, ever more and bequeathing much to the world (Richter, 1952), was the inspiration for mefor a title that seemed the most suitable for a learning process that encompassed living in a realworld as opposed, for example, to that factory world of texts, timetables and testing. AsAronowitz (1980) stated, “experienced-based pedagogy is grounded in a theory of learning whichargues that the separation of form and content and specifically, the bifurcation of knowledgefrom its consequences is deleterious to learning” (p. 44). But how could I respond to this? Howcould any program contend with the traditional paradigm of schooling? The da Vinci Programgave the substance to begin to speak to the problem that Aronowitz (1980) raised.The Walkabout PapersGibbons’ (1990) book, The Walkabout Papers, was ordered in 1991 for the staff14professional reading rack (which I was just developing). I took the book and read how he haddeveloped (in the early seventies) an alternative curriculum that, in North America, attempted toaddress the inadequacy of transition in a structured sense from adolescence to adulthood byhelping the student develop the necessary skills that will effectively enable lifelong learning. Itwas a curriculum based on the traditional practice of Australian aborigine tribes where theadolescent is expected to undertake a solo trek for an extended period of time into the outback asa vital part of the transition to adulthood. A program of five passage categories (see “The daVinci Program,” p. 4) was developed by Gibbons (1990) that would, with the aid ofmentors,help the student to set, negotiate, attain, and celebrate goals that were personal, relevant, andauthentic. In turn, these goals would better prepare the individual for fuller participation insociety.As I read the book, I began to think of specific strategies that I could implement in myclasses. I thought of practical projects that would be more personal and thus beneficial to thestudents as well as an evaluation scheme that would be more relevant to the students and be moreconsistent with learning a second language. The more I read, however, the more I was struckwith the notion of learning, my thoughts about learning as well as the system of educating, or theinstitution of schooling.Education designed as a continuous lifelong process requires an approach toteaching and learning suitable for such a long-range perspective. Ifweacknowledge education as designing resources for development—a strategic arrayof experiences, activities, relationships, and training to supplement normallyavailable resources for growth—then we must view learning as the desire andability to use those resources (Gibbons, 1990: 29, emphasis added).In other words, this was not a process merely to be talked about or mentioned in policies,but to be practiced. But how does that apply to schooling? How did that apply to me? Thespark for Gibbons was a film about an Australian aborigine on a walkabout, “a six months-longendurance test during which he must survive alone in the wilderness and return to his tribe anadult, or die in the attempt” (Gibbons, 1990: 2). In the film, the young native encountered awhite girl and boy lost in the outback and, eventually, helped them to survive and return to theirhome. Gibbons states,15What I find most provocative is the stark contrast between the aborigine’sWalkabout experience and the test of an adolescent’s readiness for adulthood inour own society... By contrast, the young North American boy or girl is faced withwritten examinations that test skills very far removed from the actual experiencehe or she will have in real life. He or she writes; he or she does not act. He or shesolves familiar theoretical problems; does not apply what he or she knows instrange but real situations. He or she is under direction in a protectedenvironment to the end; does not go out into the world to demonstrate that he orshe is prepared to survive in, and contribute to, our society (p. 2, 3).I pondered this image for a great deal of time. The more I read, however, the more Iwanted to see this Program in action. I was excited about and in accord with what I was readingand about the ideas that were provoked. I began reflecting upon my experiences in high schooland university as well as in my teaching, comparing these with Gibbons’ approach.On a methodological level, I began to contemplate differences in my class for thefollowing year. Over the course of the summer I gave the book to one of the newly arrivedadministrators of the school to read. Later that summer, he helped to organize the annualadministrator’s retreat, inviting Gibbons to speak at it. The questions he raised about the natureof educating and adolescent preparedness acted as catalysts to clarifr my own contemplationsover the past previous years. I became even more introspective about the nature of my approachin the classroom (French as a Second Language).Up to this point, I had not arrived at any global responses to the issues mentioned above.I was keenly aware that the vast majority of students in grade twelve (at age 17 and 18) were nomore prepared to undertake a systematic course of action to arrive at personally determined goalsthan students at lower grade levels. Most were planning to go to university. Whenever Iconfronted a student (this happened a few times) about why s/he was going to university, thetypical response was, “Because! You have to go to university,” as if this were a universal edict.But when I would pursue the question further, invariably the student would ask, “What else am Igoing to do?” Usually at that point I would suggest a year off from studies to travel or work soas to think about what s/he really wanted to do.I researched values clarification and critical thinking strategies, thinking that somehowthese could improve the education system. But each of these still tended to be extra-curricular16additions and still only addressed particulars. I continued to search for an improved approach.The longer I taught, though, the more institutionalized I became in my teaching. Yet, this causeda turmoil inside. I despised the practice of schooling and the frustrations began to dominate tothe point where I seriously contemplated a career change. More and more, it seemed to me thatwe were merely processing entities called students.In my former school near Halifax, Nova Scotia, I had developed a strong, positivereputation in the conmiunity (approximately 60,000 population). Innovations tended to be sparseand merely inserts in the curriculum such as recording two to five minute segments of televisionprograms and having my students develop, in small groups, a French dialogue that would suit thefilm. While highly successful, such curricular activities were indicative ofmy attempts toenliven the traditional approach.When I moved to British Columbia and began teaching in Chugalong Secondary, I had tocontend with an antiquated French as a Second Language (FSL) curriculum (literally severalyears behind that in my previous school) and an emphasis on Provincial Examination results. Ihad to balance these with my desire to make the FSL Program more dynamic and practical. Iemployed a contract system of evaluation and tried various techniques to impress upon thestudents the idea that the language needed to be practiced by the student. I also believed thateach student should have more responsibility in his/her learning.While reading The Walkabout Papers rekindled the excitement of learning for me,gradually there grew within me a sense of confusion mixed with excitement and even greaterconcern about the nature of educating. The upheaval was felt throughout other aspects ofmylife, too, but particularly regarding education. The more I thought about the possibility ofGibbons’ ideas, the more I felt dissatisfied with teaching in general and the more this alternativeapproach seemed the most suitable response.17Chapter OneProposalGenesis of an ideaDuring my reading of Gibbons’ (1990) book, The Walkabout Papers, I was often amazedat the concurrence ofmy ideas with his as though my thoughts and laments on education werebeing given substance and specific direction. Reading that book, the subsequent dialogues, andrethinking that information helped me to re-examine the role of the student and that of theteacher. How could the system of schooling be altered or challenged to move away from itstraditional stance? As I quoted from Gibbons (1990) above, it was also my contention that thetraditional paradigm of schooling was lacking in its approach and substance. The approach tendsto be dominated by emphasis on academics and the substance tends to be preparation forevaluation. Gibbons (1990) states that there are, among others, three “tendencies inschooling[:]... the tendency to cultivate failure, isolation and confusion. In the traditionalparadigm all learning leads to the test and its proven success in it .. .While tests create pressure tolearn, they primarily serve the needs ofmanagement and create serious downside risk for thelearning of many students” (p. 147).Gibbons (1976, 1990, 1991a, 1991b) presented variations of how teaching and learningcould be accomplished differently than in the traditional paradigm, thoughts that had alreadybeen a part ofmy thinking for several years. Concerning the traditional practice of schooling, hestates:But it seems to me that our expectations are conditioned by student performancein courses. In fact, we have no idea what they may be capable of when the sameenergy and ingenuity that have gone into our system for teaching them subjectsare transformed into a system for supporting their development of their ownpotential. How far they can and will go along any particular path they choosemay be limited, over the years, only by their ability to conceive of it as possibleand our ability to confirm it (p. 14).But my perception of curricular and administrative restrictions was significant enough to causesome concern about even approaching the administration to propose a program of alternativelearning despite the increasing frustrations of working in the traditional framework andsubsequent concern about students and learning.18As September, 1991, and another school year approached, I was beginning to toy with theidea of attempting something of a similar nature as Gibbons’ thesis. I began to write up apossible program approach that approximated Gibbons’ model but with some reticence toattempt it. Nevertheless, I decided to ask the school administration if I could “do this program.”Initially, I was given encouraging support by the administrator to whom I had passed Gibbons’book that summer (“What do you need?”) and by the third week of September called a staffmeeting to present my proposal entitled, “The da Vinci Files.” I was eager to implementGibbons’ (1990) ideas but somewhat nervous about presenting my version to the staff. I wasinterested as much in receiving input and suggestions as I was in seeing others involved in thedevelopment and implementation of the Program. This was to be the beginning of an excitementfor me that grew steadily over the course of that year and into the following year. Reading TheWalkabout Papers (Gibbons, 1990) and the time over the summer months to wonder how itmight work and what it might look like helped me to begin to think about a viable possibility inalternative learning.StaffMeeting and ResponseA copy ofmy proposal, “The da Vinci Files” (see Appendix 1, p. 95), was given to eachstaffmember and to the administrators and a meeting was scheduled a week later. This was thebeginning document that began the dialogues and the questions. About twenty-five of the staff(approximately 30 total) appeared at the meeting after school hours to hear clarifications andpose any questions regarding the proposal. The fact that so many had turned out was satisfyingto see. I briefly commented on the content and timeline. Most were politely interested andwanted to know what the ramifications would be upon their classes. Others wondered if it wassimilar to a gifted program that I had facilitated for two years previously (which, interestingly,incorporated practical, critical thinking activities and some experiential learning projects). Onlyabout eight people were vocal, but the concerns raised were certainly legitimate. Was thisProgram going to take place during school time? Was it just for gifted students? Could anystudent be in it? Who decides which students are in it? How many students would there be?Who was Maurice Gibbons, anyway? What was so special about the Program? How was it19going to affect other teachers and courses? What did the Program do for the student?At the time, I was a bit perplexed at the questions. Hadn’t I given them enoughinformation? I explained that I didn’t have answers in many cases, but I was seeking theirfeedback and willingness to dialogue and especially participate. In retrospect, I can see that Iwas acting rather naïvely. First, I did not have a well-laid out master plan, just an introduction.Second, I hadn’t given ample thought to the nature of the Program and to what exactly I wantedto see transpire. I wanted to “do this Program,” not knowing what else to do beyond making apresentation with some aspirations that the staff would want to join in. But this had itsmeritorious side. In such a bare-bones introduction, I was able to gamer the support and willingparticipation of a few. Third, I hadn’t really researched this enough—the Program, its workings,or the impact of attempted change on an organization. I had read a book (The WalkaboutPapers), I was challenged by the ideas, and I wanted to see the ideas happen in this school. Moreimportantly to me, I wanted the staff to become as interested as I was. After all, it was thestudents who had the most to gain.The Core GroupAbout six staff members were interested enough to seek another meeting to clarify theProgram’s curriculum and even to become involved in it in some way while others were vocallycontent to let me work out the details and continue “my project.” My perception was that thelatter staffmembers were not interested in altering their teaching strategies and certainly not keenon having their classes interrupted through parting students on their way to “some special class.”A meeting was scheduled after school hours a few days later for the six interested staffmembers consisting of a teacher’s aide (SETA) in the school’s Alternate Program, four otherteachers from diverse teaching backgrounds: Business Education, Intermediate Science, English,Drama, Western Civilization, and myself, French, and Gifted program. We proceeded to meet onseveral occasions with resolve to work out a plan of implementation.Site Development Grant ProposalWe decided to apply to the Ministry of Education for a Site Development Grant with thehope of receiving enough money to enable us to have some release-time from our teaching duties20in order to develop further the idea of the Walkabout concept (see Appendix 2, “Initial SiteDevelopment Grant Proposal,” p. 97). We spent after school hours and even a couple of suppermeetings discussing, challenging and writing down ideas and compiling information, referringoften to The Walkabout Papers. As the deadline for the grant approached, the group decided toaccess personal Professional Development funds in order to take an entire day (October 10,1991) to finalize the grant proposal. As that day progressed, I paused at one point and askedaloud, “What if we don’t get any grant money?” There was silence. “Are we going to continue?It’ll mean extra hours and lots ofwork!” As cliché as it sounds, “Yes!” was the unanimousresponse, “This is too right. It has to take place!” At that point, the ideas seemed too beneficialto students and even us to just relinquish. My journal notes from this time indicate some of theshared thoughts and directing points:Walkabout—what is it about?-challenging people without which we have a high drop-out; irrelevant curriculum-provide more freedom in curriculum; involvement in community and beyond-set up curriculum—very specific, very practical, need relevant resources-give student different audiences (celebration)—peers, experts, parents-self-directed study; student-oriented/directed-survival skills-holistic-how celebrate without “sugar” [incentives]-learning is/as a right of passage-reason for living-journey unto itself and benefit from journey-discovery of new and other places to visit; quest-learning without manipulation-teacher also involved in process-community connection-help kids become life long learners-time to “grow up” as a civilization in our approach to educatingQuestion: 1) Just a change of excitement about ajob or actually how we (I)believe the individual learns?-need clear thinkers for future and now is the time for change-evidence already (albeit scattered thruout curriculum) that this works (workexperience for example)2) Prepared to deal with approach to educating because of the complexity of thefuture?-discreet program: if begin with small group—non-tbreatening to otherteachers—isolate key individuals who would benefit from thisapproach—doesn’t jeopardize the other staff members’ program (Journal21Notes, 11-10-91).It was very exhilarating to work in this group. We were cohesive, supportive of ideas,encouraging, and energized by a marvelous idea. Slowly, the ideas for our own program tookshape. The superintendent, whose wife was one of the original da Vinci group, offered concretesupport in the form of his secretary’s word processing skills in writing up our grant proposal.The materials that we were developing, often referring to Gibbons’ writings, were presented tothe staff for their responses and participation. Throughout its development, the da Vinci teamensured that the staff and administrations as well as the community were well informed. Despitethe wealth of information and eagerness to dialogue on my part, some staffmembers articulateddislike of the Program. The reactions of some were startling (“Students need a teacher in front ofthe class.” “I like being in control.” “I am the expert and no one from the community can do myjob.” “You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.” “If it’s [da Vinci] so good, whyaren’t there more such programs around?” “This is just for the elite, isn’t it!” “What’s wrongwith the way I teach now?”) and a number of surprising rumours filtered back to us from otherschools in the district about what the Program supposedly was (“...another gifted program,”an elitist program, not really good for the average learner,” “. . .just self-directed learning, oh,we’re doing that, too,”—Notes, 06-91).On one particular occasion, we specifically requested a return response to our grantdocument which we provided to each of the staff members, but of the twenty-four other staffmembers only one individual returned the information with valuable questions and writtenconcerns. Working with the same individuals over a period of time affords one the luxury ofbetter understanding idiosyncrasies. In this case, I was not completely surprised that we were lefton our own to pursue this program. Yet, I still hoped that our obvious enthusiasm and effortswould inspire others to consider seriously our endeavours and take an active interest in them. Iexpected to receive at least several responses back, even if they were negative. But the singleresponse we did receive found us musing about the nature of the Program and the demonstratedindifference of the staff. Since the focus of the Program was on the student and improvinghis/her learning experience, not to mention the attractive benefits for the teacher (such as22broadening his/her role, increased interaction with the individual adolescent, modeling learning,building and capitalizing on student interests), I was somewhat puzzled at the apparent reticenceto change.The community, on the other hand, was as much a cause of concern as it was a valuableresource. At a public presentation at the school, many community members expressedtremendous interest and willingness to share their expertise, from graphic arts to sewing tomechanics and so on. I heard of one incident that a parent expressed concern that his/her childwas “doing da Vinci” in regular classes and s/he was not about to have that. Nothing of the sortwas taking place. I was slightly amused and, once again, amazed at the misinformation,concurring with the others that we continue to inform the public and the staff.During the first year of development, the two administrators of the school continued tooffer support and facilitate venues for acceptance and growth of the da Vinci Program, whether atstaffmeetings or with individual teachers. Occasionally, as I was inclined to be bullish in myenthusiasm, the administrators would call me into one of their offices to offer constructivecriticisms, whether regarding my interaction with others or in presenting information. Thiscarried on throughout the year and I believe I grew the most professionally in that time. Iappreciated their candor but also their genuineness. I was sure they expressed a united desire tosee the da Vinci Program fully implemented in the school and to pressure those staffmembers tochange who were opposed to or otherwise unsupportive of the Program. While accolades werewelcomed from the administrative levels, after a period of absentee and oblique verbal support inthe following school year, I began to doubt the sincerity of the “shared” vision particularly inlight of the evident lack of understanding about the nature of the Program noted through lack ofparticipation or sustained active support.The meetings continued after school hours even after the grant proposal had beencompleted and sent to the appropriate government department. However, we still wrestled withwhat the final outcome would actually be like. How would the Program actually function? Eventhough we had thought, discussed, written and read, a concrete idea of the day-to-day working ofthe Program eluded us. We felt assured that it would work and that it was somehow very right,23very necessary but confessed difficulty with envisioning its practical operation.Jefferson County Mountain Open SchoolNear Denver, Colorado, Jefferson County Mountain Open School continues to function asa Walkabout school: that is, it follows a similar format as that outlined in Gibbons’ (1990) book,The Walkabout Papers. Gibbons (1990) refers to the school in his book and Horwood (1987)offers an in-depth account of the school. I had contacted the school principal in late September,1991, after the presentation of “The da Vinci Files” to inquire about the school (referred to asJeff Co) and the finer points of its operations. This information was beneficial on occasion lateron as the da Vinci team (as it came to be called) discussed various ideas concerning the Program.We wanted a local program but without the proverbial re-inventing the wheel. At some pointearly in our discussions, the notion of a trip to Denver to visit the school was introduced (part ofthe grant proposal included the request for funding for the group to travel there to observe).After the grant proposal was sent, we continued to work out details of the Programmainly through dialogue and reading. The more we discussed its operation, the more we weredetermined to visit Jeff Co. In mid-December, we received a $16,000.00 grant (from ourproposed total of about $26,000.00). The request for several thousand dollars for the team totravel to Denver had been denied by the Ministry. I felt that the grant was an initial confirmationthat we were actually doing something legitimate. Given this, we began to talk seriously aboutthe real possibility of traveling to Denver, somehow finding the resources. We were told that thesuperintendent would help us in our plans by offering to pay for part of our trip. We hastilymade travel arrangements over the Christmas school break confident that we could secure theremaining funds necessary to complete the trip.In the beginning of January, 1992, after some discussions with the superintendent and theDistrict Professional Development Committee, we received enough funds to go. Theadministrator to whom I had passed Gibbons’ book during the summer wished to join us and sosix of us (the SETA from the Alternate Program declined) confirmed plans to go to Jeff Co.While the trip was scheduled for January 18 - 22, 1992, a few staffmembers voiced concerns that“those da Vinci people” should have such special privileges and asked why couldn’t they get24some money as well to go on trips and have release-time? I was astonished at this response afterthe amount of time that we had spent in disseminating information to, and encouraging dialoguewith the staff. It seemed to me to be another example of the unwillingness of some staffmembers to genuinely consider what it was that we were attempting to accomplish. Some of ustried to explain that we had already put in tens of hours of our own time and had continuallyinvited staff to participate, but this seemed not to assuage the vocal malcontents. After havingmade all the necessary arrangements, we left on schedule. For three days (Wednesday to Friday)we, in groups of two or individually so as to collect as much information as possible,interviewed, observed, questioned, photocopied and, later on, discussed our findings.Begun in 1973 as an alternative school, Jeff Co developed to its present approach.Gibbons’ (1990, xvi) Walkabout article, according to Mr. JeffBogard (Bogard, 1992), cameabout a year afterward and the teachers decided to contact Gibbons since his ideas correspondedso well with the direction of the school. The da Vinci Program owes a great deal to Jeff Co bothin terms of the directional support it received from the various teachers there and from theinformation retrieved and adapted. We even spoke amongst ourselves of establishing a means oftransferability of credits between the schools for students in the Program should any studentswish to pursue alternative studies in a different and enriching environment for a short duration.A group of students and chaperones from Jeff Co did pass through our community within theyear and we coordinated a brief rendez-vous. Since that time (to the time of this writing), nofurther contact has been made.There are three main reasons, I believe, for the lack of continued communication.Beginning a new curriculum, and a radical one at that, consumes a tremendous amount of time.In many respects, the feeling among the da Vinci team was that it was akin to having two jobs.Regular teaching duties can be time consuming enough by themselves. Developing a curricularapproach that largely departs from the traditional paradigm of schooling on top of the regularduties, however, left little time remaining for correspondence. Also, due to the nature of being soinvolved in the Program, little thought was given to maintain correspondence. Thus no one tookthe initiative to do so whether through lack of interest, busyness, or lack of an organized25arrangement to do so.For the three full school days that we spent at Jeff Co, we interviewed, video taped,collected materials, and observed. We were struck time and time again by both the aura of calmin the school and the articulateness of the students regardless of their particular social orientation(leather jackets to preppies to dreadlocks). This experience was as beneficial to us personallyand professionally as it was pedagogically. On the personal and professional level, the intensityof the interaction and the open willingness, even desire, to share information and ideas wereenlightening and liberating. Excitement about the potential in our own school moved us to thinkof ways to ensure the da Vinci Program would be implemented. It caused us to think of changeswe could attempt in our classrooms (such as evaluative schemes and learning contracts) and ofcooperative ventures between teachers. We were also intrigued by the seeming peacefulnessexhibited by both the staff and the students. Did that help to account for the waiting list ofteachers to get into this school? Or the waiting list of students to enroll?On a pedagogical level, here was a Walkabout Program that was working, fully operatingas an extension of Gibbons’ (1990) thesis. Students were taught and accepted the responsibilityof self-directed learning. Experiential learning was a significant part of the student’s overallsenior education. Subjects were also taught but even the process of timetabling, course selection,evaluation, and documentation were challenges to our traditional framework. Subjects wereoffered according to perceived needs by the teachers/advisors and according to the expressedpreferences of the students. In some cases, courses were taught by an “expert” from thecommunity or even by a student.Certainly the students were not portrayed as unique (i.e., gifted or underachievers, etc.)but clearly demonstrated, in our observations and interviews, typical behaviours for adolescentsgrouped in a school setting. The only difference that was noted was as mentioned aboveregarding the positive, goal-focused, and self-determined activities and articulation of thestudents. To have students become interested and proactive in their own learning seemed to havea direct correlation with the structure of the curriculum and the functioning and nature of thewhole school environment which would confirm similar findings by Crumpacker & Esposito,261993; Darling-Hammond, 1993; Ozar, 1993; Provost, 1993; Becher, 1992; Harber, 1992;Cousins, 1991; Christopher, 1990; Genevro, 1990; Hailer, Monk, Spotted-Bear, Griffith, &Moss, 1990; Rieselbach, 1990; Horwood, 1987; Tizzeii, 1987; Gray & Chanoff, 1986; Graves,1985, 1993a; Cuban, 1984; Conners, 1983; Eisner, 1983; Alexander, Ishikawa & Silverstein,1977; Strauss, 1977; Gibbons, 1976, 1990; Dworkin, 1965.On the return flight, and even in our hotel prior to ieaving Denver, we each spoke of thetransformations within as a result of this experience, likening it to a passage. This was anexciting challenge to us—to appropriate this milieu into the one to which we were returning. Buthere was a dichotomy of pedagogical urgings. On one hand, I wanted to see a similarprogram—the da Vinci Program—implemented fuiiy in our school. On the other hand, I wantedto stay and slip into this educational setting so as to learn more and to grow. Nevertheless, wereturned home speaking of one of the greatest professional development experiences any of ushad had. Turning to our school and the challenges ahead of implementing an alternativecurriculum, we felt prepared and anxious to begin that process.27Chapter TwoPassagePilot ProgramThe information from Jeff Co, our experiences over the months, and the SiteDevelopment Grant which we received culminated in our felt readiness to implement theProgram as a pilot attempt with twenty students. This number was decided upon since wewanted to ensure success both with respect to advising (assigning four to each advisor seemed tobe a reasonable number largely due to the demands of our regular course loads) and to the spiritof the Program. By this time, the da Vinci team was comprised ofjust five teachers. The SETAremained an interested advocate and the vice-principal who had accompanied us to Jeff Cocontinued with his responsibilities but promoted the ideas as well as encouraged me. While wesolicited a potential pilot group from the staff and included our own suggestions, we soondiscovered that it was becoming easier to think in terms of generating a list of those studentswho, for behavioural or academic reasons, would be unsuitable for a pilot attempt (it was a muchshorter list). We indicated that students exhibiting gifted tendencies, under achievement, oranyone who would be considered a “suitable” candidate would be welcomed submissions thoughwe, the da Vinci team, reserved the right to decide the actual group. Given that the remainingschool time was short and being conscious of academics, gender balance, social significance, aswell as the importance of best enabling the Program, we agreed upon a diverse grouping drawnfrom the list of recommendations.The list of the initial twenty students was divided among us and we approached eachstudent individually, explaining the Program to each one with an encouraging request toparticipate. Most of the students were interested with six from the first group of twentydeclining. We presented a brief profile of our interests and backgrounds to this group and eachone was asked to choose a team member as his/her advisor along with a second choice. Theresults were only slightly imbalanced and so adjusted to spread the numbers evenly amongst theteam. The procedures (see Appendix 2, p. 102) and the decisions were explained to the studentswith an invitation for feedback. The students accepted the outcomes and a letter was sent home28to the participating students’ parents with a request to attend a retreat that was specifically held toexplain further the Program to the group.Our first retreat was held at a local Boy Scout’s camp. We “walked through” theProgram with the students, instructing them in critical thinking and study strategies, timemanagement, journal keeping, and the actual demands of the da Vinci Program. Activities weredeveloped to help the students participate in small support groups and to have times of reflection.The response was very positive from the students, demonstrated through their openly discussingsome concerns and expressed heightened interest in following through in the Program. Most ofthe parents attended a one-night presentation and supported our attempt with some interest.In the end, fourteen students formed the pilot group of which four actually completed apassage by June of that school year (see Appendix 5, “Pilot Group” for samples, p.135). Thestudents were drawn from classes on Thursday mornings usually for one half hour each. Duringthis time, we pursued ideas, developed proposals, helped problem-solve, and clarified aspects ofthe Program. Two advisors worked with their da Vinci students for half of the morning followedby the other two advisors for the remaining half. One team member who had been a long-termsubstitute for a teacher on maternity leave had left and was now teaching in one of the otherschools, leaving just four of us on the team. Two substitute teachers were hired on the morningswhen we conducted our advising. These two covered the classes of the first two advisors andthen move on to the other two advisor’s classes while the first two advisors returned to theirclasses. We were very conscientious about trying not to use too much money from the grant ordisrupting our regular teaching assignments. For the months ofMay and June, this approachappeared to work quite well. We were also concerned about the image we were portraying to thestaff and community, wanting to ensure a bona fide program.Although it came as no surprise after the first month to fmd that most of the da Vincistudents were having a difficult time maintaining journal entries, we were, nonetheless,concerned. After all, part of a successful completion of the passage demanded the valuableresource of reflecting on the record of notes kept during the learning process. Gibbons (1990,1992) himself had noted similar struggles (and others that I was to note as time went on).29Negotiating a learning project based on a personal interest was nearly as challenging asperforming the passage for the students. With the exception of a few, these students tended toneglect not only journal writing, but also following through with their own ideas. Despite thefact that each one had initiated a personal learning project that was generated by his/her owninterest, pursuing its completion seemed to be as onerous as completing assignments in regularcourse work. Advising for each of the team members included suggestions in time management,scheduling, writing properly, and encouraging, all of which continued with the next stage, theimplementation of the da Vinci Program as an open offering to the school. It seemed strange tous that given the opportunity to do so, students tended to avoid completing tasks, even ones thatwere personally initiated and sanctioned by external authority (the teacher/advisor), whetherbecause of fear of failure, fear of the freedom to pursue actual interests (needs), or because of thenovelty of the Program and approach. Similar scenarios occurred during the first year ofimplementation (discussed further on).There was uncertainty about the procedures although the da Vinci team intended to createa “survival kit” of necessary documents for permission from parents and the Board officials. Atone presentation to the board officials, I mentioned to one of the members that I was taking oneof the da Vinci students sky diving, which was her particular passage (Physical Challenge), towhich the member responded, “I don’t want to hear that!” Nothing more was said until later onin an informal meeting with the administrators of Chugalong Secondary where it was suggestedthat the sky diving trip might not be a good idea. As it was, a formal school permission form wasused to document parental, teacher, and administrative approval. I replied that, by that point, wehad already gone ahead and successfully completed the passage (that was May 13, 1992). Otherconcerns were also a part of the team’s consideration as is evident from the following extractfrom my notes:Concerns—Real and Potential-time commitment-write-ups (proposals and wrap-ups)-legalities—Advisors meet regularly to cover passages—mutual support andunderstanding.-set of principles of safety: Does it violate- self?30- others?- life?- general acceptable standards?(Journal Notes, 6-05-92)My concern at the time was between taking a calculated risk with permission from theparents and encouraging the various administrations to support the program with active directionfor a policy development. Ensuring the safety of the student was foremost in my mind and I amsure in the minds of the others. But there is a fine line between restricting activities for the sakeof fear and relinquishing much of this control to the parents, student and the advisor. I as anadvisor and the parents would have to be clear about the nature of the passage and attempt toexamine the possible scenarios that could inhibit its successful completion. To use the skydiving passage as an example, despite the fact that we (the student, parents and I) verified therelative safety of the passage, that there was the drill-training prior to the jump conducted by thesky diving school, and that I accompanied her to the jump site and jumped, too, there is,nonetheless, a slight margin of risk that cannot be avoided. It is, and it was stated, a fact that it ispossible for a parachute not to open, even after all the packing precautions have been taken. It ispossible, too, that the landing could be just wrong enough to cause bodily injury or the airplanecould crash. At some point, I thought, we have to accept the risk and proceed or discontinue. Itis also a part of learning. The parents were in full agreement. Still, even as I kneeled in theplane beside her, I thought about the above scenarios. I also reflected on the program at Jeff Coand marveled that so many challenging activities were sanctioned in a country that is known,rightly or wrongly, for lawsuits. Some of these included major trips to Mexico or New York,bike riding or hiking ventures in the desert or working in a biological research laboratory. Notonly did we not have a policy in place, but neither was there insistence upon such. The schoolpermission form and an individual teacher approval form had been signed by the appropriatepeople, thus giving support. For the time being, this seemed to work well enough.Administrative InvolvementStudies of innovation in school systems generated conclusions that were evenmore at odds with traditional management models. Schools that were particularlyinnovative were found to have ‘norms of collegiality’ and ‘norms of continuousimprovement’ that minimize status differences between administrators and31teachers, engage all staffmembers in planning new programs, and cultivate an ongoing critical dialogue on how school programs and every individual’sperformance might be improved (Bacharach and Shedd, 1989: 149).Prior to the arrival of the new administration in the school, decisions were madeconsultatively and the staff accepted the dictums generally without quarrel. A staff committeehad already been established and served to deal with key issues that affected the school frompolicy-making to budgets. At the same time that da Vinci was being “fleshed out,” the newadministrators (principal and vice-principal) assigned to the school consisted of a successfulprevious principal of an elementary school in the district and a principal from outside the districtbut known to the superintendent.I learned of the power struggle between the two early on. The elementary principal wasrelegated to the role of vice-principal, despite his efforts to work toward a collaborativeprincipalship, thus modeling a consensus approach for the staff. While the staff struggled withthe concept of collaborative decision-making instead of voting on issues, the principal assumedhis role of top-down authoritarian, indicating that he had already done his stint as vice-principal.Although the consensus model gained strength in staffmeetings, from appearances, it seemed asthough the principal tolerated rather than supported the process. The overall situation,nonetheless, was one of continued schooling with suspicion or at least questions of ulteriormotives of the actions of the administration.Mitchell (1989: 163) notes that for administrators, “the key question is whether to viewschools as bureaucracies or as professional communities.” Certainly contending with teacherunionism (Bacharach & Shedd, 1989), conflicting community demands coupled with a perhapsover-sensitivity to accountability, and changes in the power manipulation take their toll on theindividual who strives to maintain control despite Bacharach & Shedd’s (1989) conclusion that“[tihe top-down management techniques that were sources of efficiency in an earlier era havegrown increasingly inefficient in today’s more specialized, varied and variable product markets”(p. 151).It was the perception of several staff members including myself that the situationappeared to be the administrators struggling along a path of domination. That the vice-principal32requested a transfer, to a classroom ifneed be, at the end of that school year because he “couldn’twork with him (the principal) anymore” and accepted a principalship of another elementaryschool says something about the nature of the conflict that power can cause. Bosetti, Landry &Miklos’ (1989) critique ofwhat is called the dominant rationalist model of administration isappropriate here, particularly that this model “emphasizes regulation and power rather thanchoice in public administration.” Thus, I would conclude that in this particular situationMitchell’s (1989) question was not a part of this administration’s role except for the vice-principal’s attempts to treat teachers as equals and his striving to work toward the same goal, thatis, the education of people. The unionist mentality ofwe-they, their job and ours, was evidentand likely added to the conflict and frustrations of the administration to a certain degree.As a teacher and curriculum innovator/implementer, I expected those individualsinvolved in the administration of schooling to show greater interest (if not participation) in newprograms, especially of the philosophical and practical caliber of the da Vinci Program. Personalexpectations and actual practice are dichotomous themes it seems in education. While generalinterest was expressed, active participation was limited to occasional responses which becamefewer as the first year of the Program progressed. Little more was demonstrated from any of thelevels of administration which supports the findings of Harber (1992), Fullan (1990), Miller &Seller (1990), Brady (1985), Cuban (1984), Wilson (1981) and Hills, (1975a, 1975b). Miller &Seller (1990) noted in their discussion of roles and implementation thatAlthough the teacher is the actual implementor of a new program, the roles of theprincipal. . . and superintendent as support to teachers are equally important[I]mplementation success can depend a great deal on the overt signs of supportfor the new program given by principals and superintendents, for example,budgetary actions, comments made in public, and personal interest shown in theprogress ofthe implementation. Principals who frequently discuss theimplementation with their staff at meetings, who personally talk with individualteachers about the new program and assist them in solving problems show agreater success in implementation in their schools than principals who do notengage in these activities (p. 283—italics added).At one point, an individual hired by the school board to film various new programs in thedistrict arrived at Chugalong Secondary. She interviewed us (the team) and explained the33general purpose of the filming project. We never saw the fmished product and it was neversuggested to us that we should. Part of the rationale offered for the filming project was a kind ofshow-and-tell (or “dog and pony show” as we called it) for the district. In other words, “Lookwhat’s happening in our district.” As with the staff of the school, it would appear that thevarious levels of administration viewed the da Vinci Program as merely a program—no moresignificant educationally than a self-directed methodology or photography course. It was simplyan event that was owned by a particular group (the team).Presentations and ResponsesThe staff was informed about what was being done as much out of professional courtesyas out of genuine desire to influence some to consider the Program and join in. After a fewweeks, however, there appeared to be a growing chasm between the “da Vinci types” and the restof the staff. The da Vinci team was perceived as giving cause for some alarm because of the(assumed) potential future threat against some of the existing courses, particularly those with fewstudents. This persisted despite our efforts to keep everyone abreast of the development. Twoweeks after our return from Denver, for example, a one-half day presentation was scheduled forthe benefit of the staff in which great pains were taken to explain the development of the daVinci idea, the trip to Jeff Co, and the direction of the implementation (see Appendix 3, p. 107for the agenda). The staff showed polite interest. Despite our increased enthusiasm and desire todialogue, the staff remained disinterested in changing or at least in considering the da VinciProgram as an active interest. Although we anticipated questions, distributed informationpackages that outlined the Program, and solicited feedback as well as participation (for the mostpart polite gestures of thanks were all that were offered), we heard hearsay accusationsconcerning the staff’s dislike of “being pushed” to accept this Program, or of being tired ofhearing about da Vinci, or of the perceived threat to other courses if it were to be added to thealready-burdened timetable. It was interesting to note the entrenchment of some of the staff intheir thinking that this was some insidious threat to them personally, that they would have tochange. It is around this time that I began to re-examine some of the earlier process ofattempting to deal with change (the staff even had a professional day workshop organized by the34professional development committee of the school on the concept of change, but I am doubtfulthat much really changed).Shortly after our return from Denver, a presentation of the same material was made to thecommunity through the local Cable Television station. In April, the da Vinci team presented at aworkshop for the district-wide professional development day followed by a special presentationat one of the other two secondary schools in the district.This school was much more open about its disinterest in this curriculum alternative.Approximately twenty staffmembers (of about thirty-five and excluding the administration)attended our presentation. I was struck by the number of people who were busy markingassignments throughout the presentation. Since there had been some misinformation that hadsomehow filtered down to this school, such as the Program being the same as their own self-directed learning project or of its being just for gifted students, part of our question and answerperiod was taken up with dispelling such. We left information packages with the staff but heardnothing more from this school.Change and TimetablesThe notion of perceived threat to other teachers and their courses became even morepronounced as the staff considered altering the timetable for the following school year. Theschool’s timetable (which one individual affectionately wanted to call the learning table), a topicthat had been batted about since my arrival at the school five years previous, reached the point ofachieving real change beginning that next school year. A number of hours were spent discussingoptions and different desires both collegially and in a particular committee. One person at a staffmeeting voiced concern about “all those da Vinci people” being on the timetable committee(comprised of approximately six people). Actually there was me and one other person from thefour-member da Vinci team on it and that after a request for volunteers. Part of a staffmeetingwas devoted to the presentation of several models, one ofwhich was set forth by the da Vinciteam that emphasized a more open concept similar to most university timetables. The mainargument was that this model accommodated everyone’s desires, was the most suitable for the daVinci Program, and approached a more humane convenience for students. That staffmembers35would have to cooperate in deciding the slotting of their subjects was readily admitted andencouraged. One staffmember suggested (seriously) that I present a working example. Iattempted to accommodate his challenge but gave up after trying for a week to fit all the coursesinto a possible scenario and after realizing I had missed my own point: “staffmembers wouldhave to cooperate in deciding the slotting of their subjects.”At one point in a meeting of a timetable interest group, I voiced my frustration at theseeming lack of ability to comprehend an open timetable as if none of those present had everbeen to university. I was aware that sitting down with one another and deciding upon the besttime for such and such courses, even rethinking preparation of information units for thosestudents who could manage the material on their own would require additional time, possiblyeven over the summer months. I had hoped that the system could be changed through reasoneddiscussion and reflection, a dialogical approach to educating as opposed to the atomisticcontinuation of schooling that seems to be moving along by the sheer force of its ownmomentum (Cuban, 1984; Eisner, 1983). The decision was to alter slightly the then presentstructure. Some staff even balked at spending any time on the timetable. After all, it was stated,that is what the administrators get paid for!One encouraging aspect of the change in the timetable was the inclusion, at least, ofspecific times for the da Vinci Program to carry on its advising (a critical part of the Program).While this was a positive statement that we interpreted as a hopeful sign of acceptance, the day-to-day functioning of da Vinci, we discovered, was left to us to continue. No changes occurredwhere staffmembers became actively involved in the Program. In actual practice this was alsothe main slot where special events were presented and course changes were undertaken duringthe first two to three weeks of the school year which had adverse effects on the Program(discussed below in “Year One: Walk Through,” p. 39).Preparation for Implementation: The Art of Quiet RevolutionIn September, 1992, 114 students of the approximately 450 student population at theschool had chosen da Vinci (as an elective “course”) which was beyond my anticipation thoughmuch to the team’s satisfaction. There was no doubt in my mind that this “statement” would36rankle a few staffmembers. This simply caused us to be all the more concerned about thelegitimacy and the success of the Program. Plans were completed to teach the group rather thanassume some requisite skills such as time management, critical thinking, journal keeping,interviewing, and cooperation. While we argued that the Program ought to be a part of everystudent’s learning experience, we nonetheless sought to establish quickly a group of studentswho would become enthusiastic about learning. We believed that if the students did actuallyrespond in this way, as well as experience the value of advising, negotiating and seeking ways toattain goals, they would begin to exert pressures on the other teachers to alter some of theirteaching strategies, even move to embrace the da Vinci Program. We believed, too, that over aperiod of time (I kept suggesting it as the “Five Year Plan”), Chugalong would become the daVinci School with, hopefully, an interchange of students (and teachers) among the secondaryschools in the district. Surely, I thought, the successful students in the Program would tout thebenefits and achievements possible from participating in it. Parents, community, and otherstudents would eventually hear about it. Since all our other attempts to encourage greater staffparticipation failed to move anybody to become involved, this became a simpler way, energy andtime-wise, to bring about change in the school. While we continued to assert the benefits of theda Vinci Program wherever possible, I was no longer so adamant or bullish about it. Instead, weconcentrated on perfecting the Program’s operation and planned for a strong beginning.Despite the earlier presentation to staff and encouragement to them to read the materials,the da Vinci team continued on its own to manage the Program. After all, it was “our idea.”Since the “revolution” was obviously not going to transpire immediately, perhaps a more“creative” solution needed to be explored. The problem that needed this solution was how to geta staff to embrace a radical approach (the da Vinci Program) that would both benefit the studentand refresh the teacher, a program, it was argued, that would accommodate students of diverselearning levels while aiding each one to achieve those necessary skills for successful interactionin society. Gibbons (1990) must have anticipated much the same as is evident in his statement:Many teachers new to S-D [self-directed] programs report feeling incompetent inthe classroom initially. Some find their personal philosophy of education severelychallenged. Others find difficulty finding personal gratification in their new37teaching role... Those who believe that all students should be treated in the sameway find themselves in deep conflict as students and their programs become moredivergent and require more divergent responses from teachers (p. 64).I began to believe that the successful participants in the program would inevitably causethe staff and even the system to change: a silent revolution. Through increased interaction withand in the school, the parents and the community would likewise aid the “revolution.” I washopeful that over a period of time, the community would reap many benefits from activeparticipation with the education of its own young people and thus come to recognize the vitalityof integrating education in the context of the whole community.Year One: Walk ThroughThe pilot program had enabled us to experiment fairly cautiously with the details of theProgram. The day-to-day operation of da Vinci was no longer a nebulous concept but a firmerreality. Thus, we were ready to propose formally that it be made a part of the learning programat the school. In the spring of each year, the counseling department helps students prepare for thefollowing academic year by having them register for courses. In preparation for the studentselection, a course selection booklet containing the course offerings at the school is developedeach year. The da Vinci Program was a newcomer and was presented to the students as anelective in the booklet but only after some protest from me. I had been approached by theadministration and the counseling department to draft a brief statement about da Vinci for thecourse selection booklet. I was adamant, once again, that da Vinci was not a course andconfounded by the constricting restrictions of the administration and counseling department for ashort description of such a dynamic program. I insisted that da Vinci was an alternative learningapproach and that, in fact, it should be part of every student’s program in the school. I was toldthat this was merely a stepping stone to getting da Vinci into the school as a fully operationalprogram. I discussed the matter with the team and we acquiesced, feeling somewhat cheated bythis quick-fix approach. I believed, instead, that a concerted effort on the part of theadministration and, subsequently, the school would establish a more secure program in the eyesof the students and the community (Mitchell, 1989; Bacharach, 1988; Brady, 1985; Wilson,1981; Aronowitz, 1980; Hills, 1 975b), that da Vinci would be viewed as more than another38curricular novelty.Although the relegation of da Vinci to the status of elective course in the face of myopposition was a small set-back for me, the large number of students who enrolled in theProgram served as a confirmation for the team that the Program that September was appealing toand desired by the students. Would the initial high numbers send a message to the staff, Iwondered. My hope was that it would spur some of the staffmembers to seek more informationabout the nature of the Program and even become involved. Despite the large group, not tomention the effect of reducing sizes in some of the elective courses, ironically the only individualto become involved was a teacher new to the school that September who was filling a temporaryposition for another person on temporary leave.By that time, the necessary documents were printed for the students, the group wasdivided up among us, and a plan of action was generated for the first three weeks. The Programdebuted that school year with approximately 114 students, but the total dropped to approximately60 within the first three months. Lack of a strong and sustained beginning at the commencementof the year along with the misconceptions by the students themselves about the real nature of theProgram are the dominant contributing factors in explanation for this. The unfortunate situationof the allotted time for course changes and a new timetable conflicted with our meetings with thestudents during the first two weeks of the school year. Technically, there were three advisingtime slots in the timetable: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from 8:30 to about 9:45.While this was also a time for students to take advantage of additional help in their course work,many sat or wandered in the hallways. As the students in the da Vinci Program were to pursuetheir interests also during this time (after advising and other preparations had already takenplace), some staffmembers were quick to note those “da Vinci kids” who “were not working”which apparently also caused some concerns for the administration which were passed on to usthrough one of the members, never directly from the principal.We had anticipated the time set aside in the timetable to be used for a methodical walkthrough of the Program with the students for the first three weeks. During this time, we madepresentations to the whole group, and eventually smaller groups, about time management, study39strategies, thinking skills, proposal writing, and accessing resource people in the community.However, during the first three weeks, a large number of students missed the time due toindividual timetable conflicts and due to expressed ignorance of the expectations of the Program.Some of these students failed to inquire about the time requirements, or failed to inform us or thecounseling department of any changed status. One particular student presented himself to one ofthe advisors (team member) well into November claiming that he didn’t know where he had to goso he just sat in the hallway (which many students did during the advising time as this was also aschool-wide “self-direction” time. The “hallway” practice was beyond our influence at that time,though, I suppose, it may have been beyond our influence at any time since it was the decision ofthe administration and implemented without researching the ramifications, either on the staff oron the school climate). His particular advisor had assumed, after his sustained absence, that hewas no longer registered in the Program. What with the back-log of student changes through thecounseling department, it was easy to draw that conclusion.The course changes through the counseling department along with other organizationalinterruptions in the course of the first few weeks of school were, I thought, an infringement uponour advising time. Although I was deeply concerned, it seemed the most that I could do was tosimply articulate my frustrations within the group. Students were becoming restless and boredwith the tedium of the advising time interruptions as well as with our lengthy presentations. Theproblems that we encountered were passed on to the principal who indicated that we would haveto address those problems for next year. After the second week, it was suggested that we foregothe walk through and begin immediately the passage process, capitalizing on specific momentsover the course of the next months with our own groups to instruct in the fundamental skills, liketime management and studying. The team was in agreement with the proviso that the wholegroup meet together from time to time for updates and preparations for retreats or otherappropriate events. By the end of September, da Vinci had fewer than ninety students with thenumber decreasing each week. Undaunted, we continued, choosing to concentrate on the oneswho had demonstrated their interest in the Program. Thus, the da Vinci Program began.40A Day In the Life...A typical day witnessed the students of the da Vinci Program meeting together with theirparticular advisor who recorded attendance and inquired of high points or difficulties. Whereappropriate, the concerns were addressed as a group for the benefit of all. Otherwise, concernswere raised and examined one on one. At this point, the students would either go to the libraryor to the computer lab to conduct research or writing. Since the initial stage of the da VinciProgram is the Proposal stage, each student had to present a formal proposition of his/herpassage. I insisted that these be typed since they would be placed in a portfolio (maintained bythe student) and because it would be easier for the student to have an electronic (computer)record of his/her passage progress. Other team members varied on this although I voiced aconcern for consistency among us.Mentoring was an aspect of the original nature of the da Vinci Program, but it did notbecome a reality. Mentoring differed from advising in that an individual (or possibly a smallgroup of people) was to serve as a personal resource person whose expertise was directly relatedto the Passage topic chosen by the student. Ideally, a network of individuals from the communitywould be available from which to draw. Instead, individuals in the community were contactedon a need basis (which depended on the student, who we knew in the community, and the natureof the Passage) and the student discussed any necessary information with him/her. As advisors,we tended to take on the dual role of advising and mentoring, only occasionally contactingcommunity members. In my own case, the demands of regular teaching and advising tended topreclude attempts at seeking individuals in the community who could have acted as a particularmonitor even though we had, at one parent information meeting, created a list of people whoexpressed interest in acting as mentors or as resource people.The actual advising time was comprised of the above and personal discussion. It was notconvenient to have my group remain in my classroom (each of the team members met withhis/her group in a classroom) as a group while I discussed with the person. Thus, afterattendance, I sought out students from my group to discuss progress which I formally recordedfor record keeping purposes (see Appendix 4, Assessment, p. 127). The novelty of the Program’s41approach sometimes left students with idleness. This was either reflection time, clarificationtime with peers, or unproductive time.A situation that I found perplexing was allowing for the student to develop a personalresponsibility for his/her learning and passage completion, and operating in the traditionalframework of external controls such as determining where students are to be at all times in theschool or the sustained activity of the student. In some instances, I displayed my frustration witha few students who, expressing an understanding of the Program, nonetheless, chose to spendless than productive time on their passages. I found some, for example, in the computer lab,talking about unrelated events or even playing computer games. Some were actually challengedby this new approach and did spend some time reflecting upon their passage choice and thedetails. Some of the students had a spare block in their timetables designated as da Vinci timewhich meant that they were to conduct their research or work on their passage. I thought itludicrous but tell-tale, insofar as da Vinci being viewed as a course in the traditional sense, toexpect the students to “do da Vinci” in the library. After all our presentations and informationpackages, the Program was still viewed by most as a special projects course that would requirethe resources of the library which, we were informed by the librarian, were “severely lacking forthe types of projects these kids want to do.” That some students would need time to pursue theirpassage was explained but always in the context of after school, on weekends, or, ideally, duringextended hours in the timetable. A fifty-minute or one-hour block of time somewhere in thetimetable was hardly conducive to setting up an interview or contacting someone in thecommunity or researching practical details for an expedition. Thus, most of these students usedthe time for homework completion or for relaxing. Numerous occasions arose where thelibrarian put a note in my mailbox complaining about a particular student, or students, who weresitting in the library where they had been assigned for their da Vinci block doing nothing,requesting that I “please find them something to do” (Notes, 09-93).Each of us on the team had encounters of an absurd kind, from insinuations that thestudents were not occupied all the time to students who were unsure of what da Vinci was about.For example, I had two young students who, tending to embark on similar ventures, spent three42months trying to draft a letter requesting permission to visit the Armed Forces Base in Comox,British Columbia. I encouraged them and became impatient with them as time passed at theirlack of tenacity and preparation. On a humorous side, the initial draft of the letter was presentedto me for approval relatively quickly. After I had pointed out to them some of the grammaticalerrors and made suggestions as to the overall format of the letter, the two informed me that theyhadn’t electronically saved the original. I recommended that they each get a computer diskettefor future work as they would likely be using it regularly. For a few weeks, each took turns inforgetting the diskette at home, or not having made an additional copy of the file onto the other’sdiskette. An inordinate amount of time was being spent on rewriting the letter. After about twomonths, I reprimanded them for taking so long to write a simple letter. I spent one advisingsession with the pair explaining the Program, elaborating the details of their responsibility. Theywere surprised to learn that they could pursue any interest, following the procedures of course.From that experience, I became more conscious of the need to ensure that the nature ofthe Program be expressed on a regular basis (I was not sure of a time frame for such) to thestudents as well as to the school and community in the form of public presentations. Miller &Seller (1990) suggest that the attainment ofmeaning for a program innovation takes time (p.235). It has become obvious to me that the reference applies just as well to students’understanding. In the interest of the development of the Program and to communicate suchexperiences as the above, the team tried to meet on a regular basis during spare times to discussor clarify issues. After the events with the students who had misunderstood the Program, I raisedthe issue of ensuring that the student perceptions were accurate. The others agreed, havingreported similar situations.Another issue that we had to discuss was concerning a large percentage of the studentswho stalled in the proposal process and who experienced difficulty both in expressing theirinterest and in the preparation of the formal document. Gibbons (1990) noted the same and wenton to continue working with the students, encouraging them, pushing them, and clarifying forthem over a period of time. The task of advising, I discovered, sometimes included routinemeasures of demanding greater productivity or improved presentation and format. Many times43the students became frustrated as they were encouraged but required to clarify ideas, or considerdifferent approaches, or choose an aspect of a problem. I think that in most cases this frustrationwas due to lack of patience by the students from being distraught at having to rewrite a proposal.In many instances the proposal process carried on for several advising sessions and involvedthree or more drafts before the final copy was accepted. I explained that the process wasimportant as it afforded a means of developing quality as well as assurance that the idea wasclearer to anyone who wanted to read it. I also explained that the final draft would be included inthe student’s portfolio—a formal record of the student’s accomplishments. This last point wasan ideal rather than a reality.Part of our intent through the da Vinci Program was to develop an alternative evaluationscheme. A formal aspect of this was the student portfolio containing proposals, wrap-ups, andadditional information pertinent to his/her learning experiences while in school. This failed totranspire partially due to lack of time, but also for other reasons. The team’s enthusiasm seemedto wane after a year and there was greater adamance by members to maintain present courseloads which consequently inhibited maintenance of the Program and the cohesiveness of theteam’s efforts that was so prevalent initially. I recall in an interview with Dr. Gibbons (1992)how he expressed similar frustrations nearly twenty years previous with his own program and, insome ways, it seems best summed up in the following quote from Cuban (1984):I do not have the energy nor, at this point, the willingness of [sic] fight the system.I know the scores of open education classes in our school will be compared withthose of traditional classes. The comparison is itself fallacious. I know that... Butmost parents don ‘t. Many administrators don ‘t and the system doesn ‘t (p.168—emphasis added).Attempts to access the grant money that had been obtained by us for release-time (which Itried to arrange as a group meeting on a regular basis) were often thwarted by team members’concerns for missed classes and even by the reticence of the principal to permit a regular time ofmeetings (none ofwhich he ever attended over the course of two years). Over the course of thefirst year, the efforts became increasingly fatiguing:Time—stealing, it seems, from other areas—from classes (release-time), fromafter school, after supper, from weekends, from other interests and44pursuits—alwaysfrom. And yet, importantly,for—for a well developed program;for students, community, teachers; for the future; and sometimes, I think, fornothing. Given the right (wrong) mentality, insensitive school board, community,teachers, it (the Program) will wither and die (Journal Notes, 29-01-93).Tiring. [The] retreat [has] come and gone. [The] meeting this pastMonday revolved around evaluation. I finally mentioned that we have a grant forevaluation/assessment purposes and we have yet to access it. [There is a]reluctance to take release-time——catch 22 and pathetic irony. [We] need time todevelop [the Program] properly and ensure a well established program. Theproblem is the “when.” After school hours defeats the purpose of the grant (forrelease-time) and obviously cuts into one’s personal time (This is not a “get rich”scheme!). Release-time, on the other hand, cuts into courses, classes, students’time (to a degree). The integrity of the new is pitted against that of the old. Doesthat reflect one’s approach to the classroom (- learning)? - the necessity of theexpert in the classroom? Or is it just the reality of a classroom full of adolescentswho have adapted to a particular system, a particular delivery scheme and anyvariation from that (i.e., a substitute) thwarts or threatens to disrupt the course’sintegrity? (Journal Notes, 13-02-93)Along with the internal turmoil of Chugalong Secondary as a result of the Program, thecommunity expressed mixed reactions, from positive and pledged active support to concernsabout “this Year 2000 stuff,” to indifference. Students, as would have it, were caught in themiddle of participating in the implementation of a radically different approach to learning and thelack of real support in the structure of schooling that could enable them to pursue their interests,learn the requisite skills, and demonstrate the outcomes in and to the watching community.Influences Across the CurriculumThe development of the da Vinci Program was also instrumental in some of the changesin my classroom as well as, according to them, in the classrooms of the other team members. InSeptember, 1991, I had altered the French as a Second Language Program evaluation scheme. Avariation on the contract style, I encouraged students to develop their own projects aftersubmitting a proposal to me. After our return from Jeff Co, though, I wanted to pursue more of aself-directed learning approach. Students were already paired off according to their choices so Idiscussed with them what I wanted to do. I told them the parameters of the course whichincluded a written/oral “dialogue” every two to three weeks for evaluation and in which thestudents had to demonstrate what they had learned up to that point. I was then free to give directassistance for as much time as was necessary without stalling the entire class. I carried this45approach into the next school year with a mixture of successes for students and frustrations fromseeing some of them become complacent about their learning. In many respects this was asimilar response in the da Vinci Program. I decided to continue with the initiative because Ithought that over time, the students would begin to appreciate this freedom and responsibility.The majority did, but still with admissions that they were not working as hard as they mightnormally. Unfortunately, the administration at the time did not become involved in what I wasdoing in the classroom or in the da Vinci Program.Certainly there was a bit of cockiness in some ofmy actions—a radical nature that wasnot present prior to the da Vinci Program. While I might have voiced an opinion previously,being enabled now to follow through with a concept to its implementation and the increasedinteraction with the administrators seemed to spark a greater boldness within me. The “new”was exciting and appealing. As the da Vinci Program developed over the months, I became moreinterested in the cause and less concerned about the reactions of staffmembers. I could notchange them and they would not consider the materials enough to seek more information or tobecome involved although I was genuinely perplexed that more staff members would not. Theda Vinci team, however, continued to work well together. Miller and Seller (1990) noted theapparent proclivity of some staffmembers to cooperate and of others who resist change:Teachers sharing a common orientation often associate with one another anddevelop their own behaviour patterns. Within these subgroups, a teacher cansometimes find a more supportive climate for his or her preferred behaviour. It ispossible, therefore, to find a general climate of support for an implementationproject although there also exists a group of teachers who avoid the change...The values underlying the goals of the school will be reflected more accurately inthe activities undertaken to achieve them than in spoken or printed words. This isparticularly true of the value teachers place on change in a school culture.Attitudes toward innovation can be more accurately assessed through observationsofwhat changes actually occur than through what staffmembers say they aredoing (p. 241 - 242—emphasis in original).Regular meetings were attempted but tended to be difficult to maintain and enthusiasmgave way to practicality (the above-mentioned trappings). This, coupled with the process ofprogram implementation and schooling, led to less talk and action about the “five year plan” andto concentration on the routine. To that end, the following extract from my journal sheds some46light on the subject:In the first year (Oct. - June/92) I tended to suggest, push, be the liaison with theadministration and meetings took place regularly, a trip to Denver took place (4school days!). From Sept./92 to Feb./93, the release-time has taken on a differentlight. Individuals are “encouraged” to take it, and half-days are viewed with moreacceptance rather than whole days. Since Sept., we have used 2 full days forplanning and discussion. In each case, there still wasn’t enough time to completeall the business planned. I have accessed 2 half-days (since Christmas) to work oncompiling all documents into 2 packages: One complete for interestedschools/individuals and including materials [and] examples.. .The second is ascaled down version ofjust the key elements for parents and students (I thinkcynically that a 3rd should be done for administrators, etc., with just the synopsisof the Program in big print).My plans are not synonymous or congruous with the presentsystemlstructure of education. Gibbons intimated much the same when I spokewith him (interview, November, 1992). When administration appeared [not] to bebacking the Program in Sept. along with my attempts at innovation in French (S.L.), I became discouraged. Coupled with the lack of enthusiasm from the otherteam players (in terms of [Program] integrity and meetings), I have let much ofthe fussing and enthusiasm go. I no longer push hard for meeting times, feelinginstead that if people think about it, own it, desire it (it, here, is the da VinciProgram), the enthusiasm and choice to push the integrity of the Program FIRSTwill push them. If they (the team players) choose not to drive hard, then should I?Do I push even harder? I honestly don’t know at this point. Maybe anothermeeting with Maurice [Gibbons] is in order. Maybe I just need to leave thematerial and let time (in the hands of key users) take it (Notes, 13-02-93).47Chapter ThreeWrap-upThe da Vinci Program: Foundational Considerations• . . visionary thinking is essential to effective social change(Polak, cited in Miller & Seller, 1990: 226).In the da Vinci Program, the wrap-up is both a time of reflection upon and the summaryand conclusions of the completed passage experience of the student. It is also the place wherethe student has the opportunity to express any peripheral or incidental learning resulting from thePassage process. I will use this stage to address the issues first posed in the “Introduction,”present some recommendations and thoughts on what I would have done differently aimedprimarily at the implementor, but with an equal view to bringing closure to my experiencethroughout my experience with the da Vinci Program.I have chosen also to examine the foundation of the da Vinci Program here (this couldeasily be applied to Gibbons’ Walkabout concept and thus serves a dual purpose) since it waswell into the implementation phase of the Program that I began to conduct research (in the formof compiling notes and reading the educational literature) with the aim of writing about da Vinci.I liken this to telling the story and then stopping for a brief consideration of an appropriate, iftangential, argument that, I believe, affords a fuller understanding of the presuppositionalframework of Gibbons’ (and consequently, da Vinci’s) thesis. During that time I read Miller &Seller’s (1990) discussion of curriculum orientations. The outcome was that I developed abroader perspective of the da Vinci Program, Gibbons’ writings, the nature of curricularinnovation and implementation, and my own thinking on education. I include this examinationof the Walkabout concept as it relates directly to the issues presented in the “Introduction.” Ialso think that a consideration of the foundation of the da Vinci Program, as with perhaps allcurricula, affords a clearer comprehension of its import, or worth, as well as the direction inwhich it is heading.48Historical and Philosophical Influencesshow should contented fools of fact envisionthe mystery of freedom?yet, amongtheir loud exactitudes of imprecision,you’ll(silently alighting)and I’ll sing(cummings, 1926: 113)Historical and philosophical influences are not so pointedly traceable in Gibbons’ (1990)writings. When queried about this in our interview, Gibbons (1992) referred to such persons asCarl Rogers, Alan Tough, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi along with others insisting that no onedominant theory or individual was significantly influential; rather it was a confluence (Gibbons,1992). In reading Gibbons (1990), one senses the developmental and transpersonal.We see that we are not just preparing students to develop a curriculum, but todevelop as people. We are not just cultivating their clear intentions, but nurturingtheir personal search for meaning. We are not just developing their confidence intheir ability to enact their plans, but fostering the certainty that they canlegitimately pursue excellence in whatever they choose to do. We see that we arenot just encouraging them to complete what they start, but showing them that theycan shape their lives and make a difference in the world around them (p. 160).Cognizant of this, then, his writings lead one to recall, metaphorically, ghosts or vestiges ofDewey (Dworkin, 1965—in seeking to address the actual needs of the student and challenge thetraditional approach to education), Apple (1983—the open school notion of encouragingindividual responsibility in learning), or Freire (1974), Illich (1973) and Lister (1973) (thestudent as participant in the process and development of a humane curriculum). Perhaps evenmore poignant is to consider the roots of this concept as leading out of frustration with thetraditional system with questions of how to empower students, to “help them learn, relate, act,and live effectively now” that they could be genuinely prepared for an uncertain future, bothpersonal and societal (Gibbons, 1990: xii; 1992).For Gibbons (1990), the Australian aborigine walkabout tradition served as a strikingmetaphor for an educational concept that would have an impact upon curricula, methodology andthe persons affected. In preparing the documents for a formal grant from the Ministry ofEducation, Program Initiatives Branch, for money to further develop the da Vinci Program, we,the da Vinci team, easily tabled similar principles as the British Columbia Ministry of49Education’s Year 2000 material, serving as a striking concurrence with the Year 2000 concept(see Appendix 2, pp. 99 - 101). In my interview with the author, I asked whether, in fact, theYear 2000 committee may have drawn from his material; a question which he, himself, wonderedthough with bemusement (Gibbons, 1992).We received two grants from the Ministry of Education specifically in the context of theYear 2000 to help in the implementation of the da Vinci Program. A brief overview of theprogram is intended here to inform and clarify. The Year 2000 Initiative by the Ministry ofEducation was a major curriculum alteration that attempted to alter the traditional schoolingframework through a more humane and holistic approach to educating. In it, courses weregrouped in strands, or curriculum categories, and students were to complete a specified numberof courses in each strand by the end of grade twelve as well as community service/workexperience. The actual working out of the Initiative at the secondary level met with resistance byteachers and some parents such that it failed to be fully implemented. The Initiative has sincebeen radically altered such that it resembles much more the traditional approach. In many ways,the da Vinci Program addressed the issues presented in the Year 2000 documents, but, like it, didnot become fully implemented at the secondary level likely, I suggest, for similar reasons.Curriculum OrientationsScholarly reflection about curriculum has led some key contributors in the field tocategorize curriculum development in particular orientations, the number and content dependingon researcher interpretation rather than on categorizations. Thus, while Miller & Seller (1990: 5)would indicate seven orientations (“behavioral, subject/disciplines, social, developmental,cognitive processes, humanistic, and transpersonal”), Eisner (1985: 62) posits five (socialadaptation/reconstruction, academic rationale, technological, personal relevance, cognitiveprocesses) and Doll (1989) would seem to indicate only two (the Traditionalist and Progressivistapproach). After careful study of the “Walkabout Concept,” I believe that Miller & Seller’s(1990) three meta-orientations (Transmission, Transaction, and Transformation), or overallorientation categories, tend to offer more appropriate reference points. By meta-orientation ismeant a general category of the particular philosophical tendency of the curriculum innovators50and/or implementers. According to Miller & Seller (1990: 5), “[tjhe concept ofmeta-orientationhelps one to perceive the linkage between curriculum practices and the philosophical,psychological and social contexts that shape them.”In the Transmission meta-orientation, education functions to “transmit facts, skills, andvalues to students” (Miller & Seller, 1990). It is, as Freire (1974) challenges, a system of“banking” where the educator is the depositor and the student is the recipient, or depository. Keycontributors in this area have included such figures as B. F. Skinner, Franklin Bobbitt, EdwardThorndike, Ralph Tyler, Hilda Taba, Neil Postman, and Emile Durkheim. It encompasses suchthrusts as back to basics, competency-based education and mastery learning, and subject content.The Transaction meta-orientation fosters dialogue; education as interaction; theory andpractice in action, or praxis. Key figures in this area include Johann Pestalozzi, John Dewey,Lawrence Kohlberg, and an element of Paulo Freire. It encompasses the notions ofDewey’spragmatism, problem-solving and cognitive processes, and the scientific method. The studenthas more of an interactive role in the educational process as it particularly affects him/her.The Transformation meta-orientation is focused on change, both personal and social.Key figures in this category include A. S. Neill, John Holt, Michael Apple, and Paulo Freire. Itmaintains a more transcendent approach that incorporates the spiritual, the ecological, and thesocio-personal.Where the school emphasizes academics, the da Vinci Program challenges this structureby insisting on more experiential learning and a more balanced system of education that enablesstudents to develop their potential. Gibbons (1990) states, “[wjithout concrete experience,studies are disembodied” (p. 40) and, “ [tlhe present-practise-test’ method of instruction stillcommon in schools is inadequate for conducting a range of educational experiences in suchvaried sequences” (p. 46). The traditionally directed program of educating youth, which wouldtend to typify the approach of schooling and predominantly of the Transmission metaorientation, implies or assumes intended transfer. By intended transfer I mean that through anauthority-oriented curriculum approach, the student, upon or through mastery of concepts andinformation, supposedly would be able to apply the “learned” matter in diverse situations.51Generally speaking, mastery is determined by success on tests. That the student will be, first ofall, cognizant of the interconnection or general applicability of the “learned” information and,secondly, capable ofmaking the connections between learned information and some skills, andtheir applicability in either a broad sense or even specific situation (Hills, 1975) in my limitedexperience, is an aspect of education that is assumed or intended. Hence, intended transfer. Therationale runs somewhat along the lines of, “Well, here’s the information the students need toknow. Here are the tests. They’ve been told what to expect and how this relates to jobs. It’s upto them to do the work (including making the connections).”Actual transfer, on the other hand, is a matter of an inter-related, holistic approach toeducating wherein throughproductive activity, applying what they have learned in real and useful ways, studentsmake experience and study their own, relate it to reality, and apply it to their owngrowth. When a person is responsible for applying and executing, these skills alsobecome an act of self-discovery and a demonstration of oneself to others (Gibbons,1990: 40).Actual transfer is employed here to emphasize a more transactional andtransformational thrust. The concerted efforts of teacher as advisor, student as learner, andcommunity as participating mentors would ensure actual connections are practiced andlearned. It is just such a significant point that the da Vinci Program curriculum encompasses,promotes, and models through its ideal structure.In terms ofjust the three meta-orientations ofMiller & Seller (1990), the da VinciProgram intersects with each depending on the nature of the activity although it is definitelyrooted in the Transaction and Transformation meta-orientations. The elements in theTransmission list are meant to indicate the balanced approach mentioned above. In somecircumstances, it would be necessary to transmit specific information such as the properprocedures to follow for the completion of a passage. The da Vinci Program differs from theTransmission meta-orientation in that its predominant emphases are found in the other two metaorientations and in the development of processes. The following lists represent some concreteelements of the da Vinci Program as they relate to these orientations:52TRANSMISSION TRANSACTION TRANSFORMATION•subjects/disciplines •negotiated con- •experiential learning•mastery of subject content tracts •holistic•competency-based (master •goal-setting with advisor •reflecting in solitudespecific skills and content) •passage proposals •passage undertaking•problem-solving techniques •group participation •self-assessment•criteria for passages •securing and organ- ‘journal reflection•interviewing skills izing resources •problem-solving•passage directives •interviewing •behavioural•procedures for performance •making choices characteristics•walk-through Program. •locally developed ‘personal account•certain social behaviours and courses abilityvalues •evaluation •relevance‘journal writing ‘self-direction •cognitive processes‘study skills •planning ‘process of choosing‘time management •social interaction•celebration •problem-reformulationIn light of the above and in consideration of Eisner’s (1985) influence, and extrapolatingfrom the essence of Gibbons’ thoughts and writings, I would suggest that the Walkabout conceptwould be better suited in a category of meta-curriculum, a guiding meta-principle in which thestudent-as-person and the processes for lifelong learning are the primary foci. In Figure 1 below,I attempted to develop a graphic image of the nature of this curriculum insofar as it concerns theindividual in a society. My purpose here was to illustrate that the individual is the key element inthe human environment, not society and its institutions. I intended it solely for discussionpurposes and as a graphic representation (at least for myself) of society.53beliefs,values,identitygoals,aspirations,desires,talentsFigure 1. A Suggested Framework of Educational Identity: Walkabout ParadigmHere, s/he develops and participates in society still as a seiXand as an integral part of the whole.The structure is fairly fluid or non-static, recognizing the nature of being human. In light ofmyown readings and observations about learning, the da Vinci Program is a more natural,productive and conducive approach to lifelong learning. Compared to Figure 2, where the sefissignificant but in the context of society and what society needs as a whole, the point is todemonstrate how the self is subjugated to the group and its institutions.culturetraditional andritual parametersmoral, productivemaintenance, educationfmancial,utilitypolitical,juridicalFigure 2. A Suggested Framework of Educational Identity: Instituted Paradigm54I have considered that one could pursue this discussion in the context of the tension raisedas one struggles to function in both paradigms. Figure 2 mitigates against freedom (perceived oractual) and may tend toward oppressive dominance by the ruling elite. Figure 1 may tendtowards anarchy, apathy, and heightened hedonism which, in turn, might initiate the former.Society imposes its needs upon the individual and even upon its institutions. Schooling is butone example. Driving licenses, drinking ages, anti-smoking legislation, noise and pollutioncontrols, building codes are a few others. Numerous historical examples abound thatdemonstrate imposed needs. Curriculum implementors (governments, school boards, teachers,parents) also serve as examples of imposed needs. The needs here are those elements perceivedas essential to the working or functioning of the social unit.Authentic needs are the perceived and genuine needs of the individual. The student whohas just lost a parent through death needs a venue so as to deal effectively with loss. Math,science, literature, French studies do not respond to such any more than other subject/disciplines.The same is true for other scenarios that might afflict the adolescent such as drug addiction,abstinence, moral dilemmas, anger, and so on. Counselors are available but still, students areexpected to be in a classroom along with 20 to 30 others, to have all assignments completed, tobe motivated to learn, to respond and participate, to pay attention, in short, to repress behavioursor emotions that do not conform to the expected, the task at hand, the imposed. Thus, as school(social institution) directs or imposes its traditional structure on the individual, those elementsthat form the individual as natural dimensions of learning become masked, replaced by theImposedNeeds versus Authentic Needs. Bacharach (1988) states:if schools are going to help disadvantaged students, teachers need “skills” inresponding to students’ life experiences, purpose, and perspectives. To the degreethat standardization inhibits these efforts, an argument can be made thatstandardization only provides an illusion of equality and an obstacle to equity[m]any fear that teachers will “teach to the test” (p. 494).This admittedly represents an extreme view but can be heard through Eisner’s (1983) comments:Attention to the sensibilities in schooling has always been a low priority. Thesenses are supposedly bodily functions, somehow unconnected to the mind.Feeling, or awareness of qualities, is supposed to rely upon soma, and educational55experience is supposed to deal with psyche. The break between mind and body isfurther legitimated by the reification of cognition and affect. We tend to regardthe former as linguistically mediated thought—a kind of inner thought—and thelatter as feelings that need no help from mind or intelligence (p. 53).A structured program such as the Walkabout concept or the da Vinci Programincorporates the various dimensions of, and fosters learning from, personal interests. Hence, ithelps the student address directly and more completely his/her authentic needs.There is a tension also between the imposed needs, which function to maintain stability ina society, and authentic needs. Striking an equilibrium between these while helping the studentbecome educated is a challenging task. The school-as-institution ambitiously speaks ofpreparing the person with an academic foundation but succeeds only in mass processing entitiescalled students who have developed varying degrees of response abilities according to thedemands of the teacher (who articulates interpretations of the demands of the system), or asEisner (1983) states, “[t]he more we lean toward the factory model of schooling, with the teacherconceived of as a worker who processes students through known routines toward goals thatstudents have had no hand in formulating, the more troublesome and problematic the view I amdescribing becomes” (p. 51). And, in contrast, it is the oldest “new” approach that focuses on thestudent-as-learner, as person.To that end, Gibbons (1990: 195) developed a number of “principles of self-education,and their implications for teaching.” I have included the principles as succinct and ideal pointsfor the da Vinci Program and which, in a broad sense, serve as a guide to understanding theWalkabout concept view of the individual in the context of lifelong learning. These summarizedprinciples are extrapolations from a study on historically significant individuals without formalacademic training and are included in a section entitled, “Toward a Theory of Self-Education”(Gibbons, 1990). The two lists are to be viewed synchronously, the one as a list of principles forthe student’s contemplation and implementation and the other for the teacher to implement toassist the student. They are amenable to developing further into particular goals that could bedetermined by the da Vinci student and negotiated with the advisor. They could also be part of alearning centre’s goals.56Self-educator (Learner):•control of learning is maintained by self versus maintained by “institution, theirrepresentatives, or theirprescriptions;”•effort concentrated in singlearea versus “general studyofmany;”•usually experiential and for“immediate application to atask;”•self-motivated; “committedto achievement;”•envisions accomplishmentwith “recognition or rewardsvalued higher;”•tend toward a particular fieldbased on combination of“interests, talents, past experiences, and opportunities;”•develop individual habits ofeffective learning;‘development of highPrinciples of Self-EducationTeaching for Self-education:•help the student to attain internalizedcontrol;•help the student “identify andbecome expert at the activity oractivities that may becomecentral in their lives;”•integrated approach to theoreticalwith technical training andpractical application- immediate useversus future application;•help the student to set personal goalsversus pursuing artificially prescribed ones;•help the student develop effectivemeans of realizing successfulexperience of goals or personalvisions;‘help the student develop a broadrange of experiences in diversefields of activity;•help the student “develop a personallearning style;”“promote, model, and reward the57“attributes .. .associated withpeople of character [such as]perseverance, industriousness, altruism, sensitivityto others, and strong guidingprinciples;”•initiative, “independence ofthought, non-conformity,originality, and talent;”•utilize “reading and otherprocess skills to informhimlherself;”•self-education tends to bea dominant theme throughoutthe person’s life;•best developed in cooperativeand accepting framework;•positive, healthy, and outgoingself-image and person.•encourage and promote developingthese attributes;•help the student develop thenecessary process skills;•help the student to identify anddevelop emerging personal themes aswell as new ones;•foster genuine supportive atmosphere;•holistic approach to learning.development” of positive personalattributes that sustain andencourage integrity and self-disciplinein a society of persons;Strengths and ProblemsThe development, assessment or implementation of curriculum necessitates anexamination of its strengths and problems—potential and actual. Without such an evaluation,efforts at implementation may obviate possible future and long-term success. Lack ofpreparation and planning, ofwhich evaluation and assessment are a part, anticipation ofquestions and responses, and other elements in the development stage (Miller & Seller, 1990;Pratt, 1980) of an innovation may thwart successful implementation of the innovation. Thepreceding information is relationally significant in the overall discussion of this particularcurriculum, or meta-orientation. With an understanding of orientations and meta-orientations, an58examination of the strengths and problems of the Walkabout concept, particularly as they relateto the da Vinci Program and the individuals involved, is appropriate and desirable. Were one todo likewise with the traditional paradigm of schooling and compare it with the Walkaboutconcept, I believe it would shed some startling light on the way we practically view the worth ofthe individual, particularly the student.I developed the lists in the first year of the da Vinci Program after considering Gibbons(1990, 1991, 1992) and reflecting on the process and my journal notes. The lists, then, arepertinent to the Program and lend support to findings about implementation (Miller & Seller,1990; Gibbons, 1990, 1992; Bogard, 1992; Langberg, 1992). I have included a letter designationafter each element which helped me to assess who or what was most affected for each strengthand problem. The letter “S” designates the student, a “T” designates the teacher, and an “E”designates the education system. In some cases, more than one designation seemed appropriateand was included in the table at the end.Strengths.1 a student-as-person-centered; subjects/disciplines are developed with learning/studentdevelopment as focus (S);.lb students are challenged to challenge themselves through 6 passages that incorporateexperiential learning (5);.1 c change in teaching role (advisor/mentor) is more humane, realistic, rewarding, causinggreater challenges for the teacher both in advising and in teaching practice (T);.id student develops a learning plan in collaborationlconsultation with a personaladvisor/mentor (5, T);•le all students are learners (5);• if personal responsibility (S);•lg self-directed (S);•ih self-confidence and esteem fostered (T, 5);•ii learning, nurturing, responsibility modeled and encouraged (E, T, S);•lj writing and other process skills emphasized (E);59.1k student experiences and achievements recorded and maintained in personal portfolios (S, E);.lm celebration as a public performance of experiences and achievements (S, E);•ln student support groups consisting of three or four trust-worthy persons chosen by the student S);.ip subjects/disciplines and experiences integrated (E, T);.lq stresses divergent thinking processes (E);•lr interconnectedness with self, others, world, cosmos (S);•ls stresses all aspects of human potential (social, physical, spiritual, cognitive, affective) (E, T,S);.lt humane approach to learning (E, S);•lu focus on patterns and relationships (E);•lv cooperative learning (E, T);•lw direct accountability with increased interaction with the community (E);.lx eliminates or dramatically reduces need for mainstreaming or special programs (E, T);•iy empowers students (E).Problems.2a non-traditional approach. Possible retraining of staff necessary (E, T);.2b implementation may be (very) slow necessitating endurance, change, restructuring oflearning time (T, E);.2c consequent changes in teaching role (advisor/mentor) may be traumatic or burdensome forsome (T);.2d initial implementation demands extraordinary time commitments as well as participatory roleof community necessitating re-ordering of priorities and assisting the community regardingits active role and consequent responsibilities (T, E);•2e not for all students: some may defer personal responsibility to traditional approach (S);.2f question of student-initiated activities (e.g., passages) that are unsupervised (E);.2g question of student preparedness in key subject areas for possible future academic studies (E,•2h lack of knowledge about the curriculum may cause inter-professional/personal conflict (T);60•2i lack of practical support and understanding of the curriculum by administration may lead topremature conclusions and waning teacher support and enthusiasm (E);•2j demands possible paradigm shift regarding approach to teaching (T);.2k slow process of change for teacher and system, difficulty in effecting change (T);•2m transition from traditional methods of evaluation may be arduously fraught with resistance (T);•2n greater articulation with secondary institutions vital particularly concerning transcripts!portfolios (E);•2p higher level administrators with hidden (or blatant) agendas contrary to and/orunsympathetic to the philosophy of the Program may undermine its success and continuation(see Langberg, 1992) (E)..2q challenges beliefs and practices including in the community which could cause difficulties inacceptance and thwart implementation (Miller & Seller, 1990: 239) (T, E).The problems need not be regarded as detrimental to the implementation of the Programbut, rather, problematic and needing creative reformulations. Gibbons intimated in his writingsand in my interview with him many of the points above as did members of the teaching staff andstudents of Jeff Co (Bogard, 1992).I further reflected upon the significance of the strengths and problems and decided tocompile the information in the form of a table (see Table 1) with the three indicated groups thatpertain primarily to education: the student, the teacher, and the system of educating. Comparisonofjust these points reveals some significant information that merits consideration in thediscussion of da Vinci as an ideal as well as the nature of schooling. Many of the strengths wereexperienced in the first year. Such characteristics as in lb. 1k and ip were unattained due to lackof time. Various others were not fully enjoyed for diverse reasons. Most of the problems wereencountered but, again, time was the greatest influential variable. In terms of the strengths of theProgram, the student receives the greatest benefits.61Strengths Problems TotalS-Student 14 3 17T- Teacher 8 9 17E-System 13 8 21Total 35 20 55Table 1. Comparison of Noted Strengths and Problems of The Walkabout Concept InRelation to The Student, The Teacher, and The System of Educating.The nature of the problems, interestingly, tends to center around the system of educationand the teacher, particularly regarding the effects of change, roles, support, and interaction. Itseems reasonable to me that the more a person is aware of a need to change and the more s/heaccepts those aspects of change as personal interests worth pursuing, the more the prospect ofchange becomes less of a potential threat and the more the developing new role becomes anattractive or viable reality (Miller & Seller, 1990; Doll, 1989; Eisner, 1985; Cuban, 1984;Baldridge, 1977; Coombs, 1967).Interaction, the interchange of ideas, the dialogic, even praxis, are dimensions ofeducation perhaps too often taken for granted and too seldom challenged for meaningful content.In any innovation, interaction plays a critical role. There are four interest groups whose interplaywill have an impact on support for an innovation: students, staff, administration, and community.Miller & Seller (1990) and Eisner (1985) discuss the latter three and these have been examinedabove. The exclusion of the student as an influential factor in curriculum innovation supports thedemands by some researchers for a more humane approach to education (Gibbons, 1976, 1990,1991b; Illich, 1973; Lister, 1973; Rogers, 1967; Coombs, 1967; Wilhelms, 1967).Interaction among staff about pedagogy tends to be rare (Miller & Seller, 1990; Eisner,1985; Cuban, 1984) and then typically amongst the keener individuals who value learning fromothers. Whether malaise over perceived inability to enact changes (and possibly even lack of thestuff of change), complacency that seems to come with years of teaching and frustrations ondifferent fronts (with students, with parents, with administration, with government), or from62being preoccupied with the process of schooling (Miller & Seller, 1990; Cuban, 1984), thereticence to change by others struck me when the da Vinci Program moved from the stage ofcurriculum curiosity to actual being with its subsequent competition for inclusion in thetimetable. Previously, I had fought the impending changes that the government’s Year 2000initiative implied and voiced my concerns along with other staff members about lack of timegiven to understand the changes or to try alternative approaches that would effect those changes.Change, from this perspective, was viewed with suspicion due more to the “imposition fromabove” of the new curriculum (Miller & Seller, 1990; Eisner, 1985; Cuban, 1984). After readingThe Walkabout Papers (Gibbons, 1990) and the fact that I had been thinking that changes werenecessary in education, I was more inclined to consider change as a positive activity than I hadbeen previously. I did not have a grasp of the mechanics of change, of actually developingconcrete responses. I had argued that time allotted to doing so would be necessary. As I readGibbons (1990), his model, though unclear to me at the time as a complete working event,attracted my attention and time. I was building a home, teaching at school, reading Gibbons, andreflecting more and more on his concept. Time was not the problem as much as initiative tosimply do. Another factor is that Gibbons’ writings interested me. It was my initiative and notsome top-down legislation. The impetus for change, then, came from within irrespective of time“allotted” for doing so.On IdeologyIn helping to understand better the full spectrum of the da Vinci Program, I found itparticularly enlightening to consider the ideologies, both individual and institutional, as theseform an important part of the “cultural capital” (Giroux, 1983) of any organization and relatedirectly to change (Miller & Seller, 1990: 239). As Giroux (1983) states, “[it is] both themedium and the outcome of lived experience, [that] functions not only to limit human action butalso to enable it” (p. 17).I noted staff meetings and “professional development” days where the discussion ofschool goals took place and documents prepared that announced the current “mission statement”of the school. Yet, the deeper reflection on personal ideologies and actual school ideology63(practiced as opposed to verbal assent to a list) were not truly addressed. I have experienced anumber of sessions in which we dealt with school needs and goals, but analyzing the school’sideology, as well as personal ideologies, has not taken place. Ideology, I have concluded, isassumed. I am using ideology here to mean the presuppositional framework upon which is“hung” the aims and goals of the individual or organization. I think that Miller and Seller’s(1990) discussion of meta-orientations is, essentially, about ideologies. Thus, at ChugalongSecondary, and as I have seen at other schools, after a series of activities, a list of general schoolgoals (such as providing for a safe learning environment, foster excellence, prepare the learnerfor productive life in society) was made and distributed among staffmembers. Invariably, thelist would be placed in an obscure spot. The practice of teaching is time consuming (Miller &Seller, 1990: 236) with little time for contemplating or pursuing concrete measures that wouldarticulate the goals. To contemplate the ideology of the school, of the community, even of thepersonal would appear tO be more than most are willing or able to do especially wherecontemplation and discussion might threaten to undermine articulated goals or counter them inpractice.Although I wanted to examine goals and the deeper issue of orientations or ideologiesbecause of the da Vinci Program, this was not a shared interest. The schools that I have been incontinue to function on assumed but unarticulated goals. Likely this is due in part to the natureof schooling where a group of individuals, in the role of teaching, assumes an inherent set ofprinciples (or ideologies) that, in turn, can be articulated fairly universally without undue stressor demand to alter what is already taking place.Bacharach (1988) commented that, “[a]n organization that is uncertain ofits goals isincapable ofstrategic reform” (p. 495, emphasis in original). The deeper rooted goals that areout-workings of ideology (the practiced rather than articulated) are included here. To the extentthat the individual’s ideology (or world view) is congruous with that of the group’s or theorganization’s, the level of conflict will largely be determined and reform (or change) will occurto the extent that that change is, in turn, congruous with the ideology of the organization. We (theda Vinci team) discussed deeper issues and goals and accepted the challenge to change,64essentially, goals and orientations. Bacharach and Shedd (1989) claim thatTime schedules, physical structures, one-teacher-per-class staffing patterns andhigh teacher/administrator ratios make day-to-day contact with other adultshaphazard... Norms of ‘non-interference’ discourage the asking and offering ofadvice... Curriculum policies, fthey do not square with a teacher judgment ofwhat his or her students need or are capable oflearning, often go unobserved andunenforced (p. 146, emphasis added)It is not surprising, then, that we (da Vinci team) should be a small group within the school. Inthe same article, Bacharach & Shedd (1989), interestingly enough, go on to indicate some of thecharacteristics of schools where innovation is more successful, the content of which stands not somuch as an indictment against less successful groups as a mirror of their ideologies and whichcould serve as a pedagogical prod to higher ideals. While the authors’ findings contrast with theorganizational saga (Baldridge, 1977) of Chugalong Secondary, these give a broad and usefulguide in assessing its overall image. Thus, concerning the da Vinci Program, I would suggestthat the fact that full implementation did not occur is attributable to, fundamentally, the issue ofvalues, or ideologies which supports the findings ofMiller & Seller (1990) and Bacharach &Shedd (1989).I found Cuban’s (1984) observations and conclusions useful in understanding thestructure of schooling as a very widespread and long term practice. In the category underproblems above, I noticed that the greatest difficulty with the implementation of the da VinciProgram was a function of authority, be it the teacher and administrators or the community andgovernment. It has been my observation over the past twelve years that the student wants achange at least in the approach to learning, but teachers and administrators as well as governmentand community are resigned to maintain the structure and respond only to superficial ailmentswhether methodological or curricular. Without an in-depth consideration of the pertinent issuesand curriculum foundation, and without attending to an appropriate view of the student andeducating, I would argue that any attempts to reconstruct or alter curriculum components andcurricula will lead to a product that is deficient in all of its constituent elements.65Summary and ConclusionsHumanity i love you because youare perpetually putting the secret oflife in your pants and forgettingit’s there and sitting downon it...(cummings, 1926: 18)There is nothing new under the sun.Ecclesiastes.While this study helped me to clarif’ a nature of schooling and problems in curriculuminnovation and implementation involving one alternative curriculum approach, I remainperplexed at the intransigence of the very people who, ideally, should be exemplary in theirwillingness to learn, develop, and examine for the sake of the student, the adolescent. It ispartially for this reason that I have included Cummings’ (1926) quote along with the Biblicalreference. In a sense, they sum up some of the conclusions ofmy experience through the daVinci Program. As regards the issues presented in the “Introduction,” these have been answeredindirectly throughout this thesis. In this section, however, I shall attempt to focus on a summaryofmy findings as these relate to each issue.Miller & Seller (1990) and Fullan (1990) discuss the nature and dilemma of the challengeinvolved in the implementation process of an innovation. Since the teacher is preoccupied withdiverse social and professional functions during the course of the day (Miller & Seller, 1990:236), little time is afforded the implementation of a program, particularly if that programchallenges the held beliefs and/or practices of the teacher. Miller & Seller (1990) state that,“There must be a recognized need for change. If teachers do not recognize this need, theintended change will be a non-event” (p. 233). They also indicate that there arefive major characteristics of a suggested change that will affect its adoption byothers:1. Relative advantage: The degree to which the change is perceived to be animprovement over present practice.2. Compatibility: The congruity between the values implied by the change andthose values present among the people who must implement the change.3. Complexity: The ease with which the change can be understood and thenapplied.4. Divisibility: Some programs can be implemented by breaking them into66smaller units.5. Communicability: The ease with which the effects of the change can be sharedwith others (p. 234—italics in original).The first three points helped me to understand the situation with the staff and itsresistance to adopt da Vinci. I assumed too much that given the wealth of information along withthe information sessions and presentations that we were conducting, the staffwould be able tosee the advantages of da Vinci in conjunction with the course work offered. Concerning thesecond characteristic, the notion of values and ideology struck me. We were a compatibleenough of a group and had discussed school goals and mission statements in the past. Yet, it wasobvious that the value I ascribed to da Vinci was radically incongruous with the staff’s view ofda Vinci. Perhaps, after all was said and done, there was still too much unknown for the staff. Ido not believe, however, that the lack of attempted participation by staffmembers contributed toalleviating this problem. Fullan’s (1990) discussion on implementation deals with much thesame and emphasizes the critical importance of the principal’s role in the implementation andcontinuance of a program such that there is a direct correlation between successfulimplementation and principal participation throughout the process.Regarding the five characteristics above, Miller & Seller (1990) do not discuss the issuesofpersonality conflict, ulterior motives (i.e., retirement in a few years, pursuit ofpower or glory,lack of commitment to the job of teaching), resignation to the status quo, parental or interestgroup agendas, or the involvement of students at this point. My own thought is that the aboveissues in conjunction with the above characteristics may play a minor or a significant part in theoverall success or failure of a curricular innovation.A New MythosOn the return trip from Denver, Colorado to Vancouver, the administrator who hadaccompanied us spoke of the da Vinci team developing its own “mythos.” It was an appropriateconcept. The old mythos, the traditional paradigm which I have referred to throughout thisstudy, seems inviolate, even secure (Cuban, 1984). At least from what I am able to concludefrom my research and teaching experience, that is the way it appears. The story of the da VinciProgram, the new mythos, reminds me of the Biblical reference to pouring new wine in old wine67skins (Matthew 9: 17), though admittedly out of context. Paradoxically, the new mythos, inmany respects, is not new. And yet, it is refreshingly and excitingly novel enough to warrantsuch designations as “radical,” “new,” “experiential,” “alternative.” The old mythos, by virtue ofits political structure, economics, and social history is self-perpetuating (Cuban, 1984; Eisner,1983). To create a new mythos in light of that is not a facile endeavour.The initial structure and approach of the da Vinci Program make it radical in comparisonto traditional schooling. Part of its radical nature lies in its being a broader and moreencompassing way of learning, of capitalizing on the interests of the learner. Such notions areout of keeping with the traditional paradigm of schooling with its hierarchical superstructure andfragile substructure (e.g., teachers who must work in virtual isolation from other adults, maintainabstract standards and curriculum impositions in the context ofpersonal needs and ideology[Miller & Seller, 1990; Bacharach & Shedd, 1989; Bacharach, 1988; Eisner, 1985; Cuban,19841). Along with the rather typical top-down practice of imposing curricular demands on thesystem, teachers are suspicious of both the new and the motives behind it (Miller & Seller, 1990;Sergiovamii, 1987; Eisner, 1985; Cuban, 1984). The da Vinci Program is not to be understood interms of too-far left or incomprehensible. While I claim that it prepares better the adolescent inthat vital and inevitable transition between adolescence and adulthood both intellectually andsocially, I cannot conclude that da Vinci was a viable program due to the problems associatedwith its implementation (it was never fully implemented at Chugalong Secondary). However, itis the intention that makes the da Vinci Program a pedagogical interest and potentially viablealternative worthy of serious examination.This story of da Vinci involves my experiences in a local attempt at major curriculumchange. The Program affords a structure, I contend, that ought to be standard fare in the seniorstudent’s learning experience so that the adolescent who completes his/her formal schooling maybe truly prepared to enter adulthood (Pallas, 1993; Gibbons, 1990, 1991b; Eisner, 1985). Forthose groups who would acknowledge the same and implement their own da Vinci Program, thisstory offers a perspective that should help to alleviate many of the problems that attendimplementation and aid in the easier establishment of such a program. The telling of this story,68partly then, is to voice a potentially viable alternative in the marketplace of curriculum andsociological ideas, a marketplace that has, for various economic and ideological reasons, optedfor a model that has remained basically unaltered for over a century (Cuban, 1984).Cuban (1984) documented a number of alternative curricular innovations that saw briefexistences with, in virtually every case, a return to the traditional approach, whether Dewey’sattempts in the twenties, Newlon’ s changes in the thirties in Colorado, or some of the freedommovement influences of the sixties. Theories abound about the nature of approaches, curricula,resources and roles but, as Cuban (1984) noted, practices have changed little despite these andthe positive (documented) benefits of some progressive programs and alternative approaches toschooling. He quotes one teacher who observed, “traditional teaching approaches drive studentsinto boredom. If we were ever to teach sex the way we teach other things, ... it would go out ofstyle” (p. 176). His research indicated that teachers tend to be the dominating agent of controland of the dissemination of information in the classroom whichwill remain basically as they are right now. Why? Because subjectmatter—French, math, anatomy, history—dictates an essentially didactic classmodel since the subject is not known intuitively by students and must betransmitted from teacher to student. And the ultimate authority and control willand should remain with the teacher (p. 231).His findings were invaluable to me as I reflected on the da Vinci Program. Gibbons’(1990) own experiences with implementing his Walkabout concept in the seventies met withresistance and, after his departure from the high school to teach at the university level, hisprogram eventually ceased. In The Walkabout Papers, he states thathistory is a record ofjust such revolutionary changes. The existing paradigmdominates for a while. Criticisms, contradictory evidence, and suggestedalternatives arise, but they are easily deflected by the authority of establishedbelief and the sheer immovable weight of what is... With conditions the way theyare in education, it seems that we are in just that position ourselves: so deeplysteeped in traditional schooling that we seem unable to respond to the tide ofeffects pressing us toward a new paradigm of teaching and learning (Gibbons,1990: 144—emphasis in original).This information aided me in my reflection back upon my experiences throughout theimplementation of da Vinci. If a number of other curriculum innovators in the past have69attempted changes without long-term success, then I should not be surprised that da Vinci did notachieve greater status than it did or that it will likely disappear from Chugalong Secondary’sofferings. Fullan (1990) cites Huberman and Miles (1984) who statedthat continuation or institutionalization of innovations depends on whether or notthe change gets embedded or built into the structure..., has generated a criticalmass of administrators and teachers who are skilled in and committed to thechange, and has established procedures for continuing assistance... (p. 89).Some of the factors that influence implementation, according to Fullan (1990), include “changesin behaviour and beliefs, and the overriding problem of ownership” (p. 91). I have commentedelsewhere that the staff at Chugalong did not take ownership of da Vinci. The Program wascontinually referred back to us (the team). Behaviour and beliefs, or ideologies, demand deeperconsideration and greater time to deal with. I speak more on this in the section, “What I WouldDo Differently (p. 81).I initiated the da Vinci Program largely as a response to an awareness that an alternativeapproach to learning, one that incorporated the experiential aspect of life, was lacking andnecessary to enable and help the students prepare to participate fully in society as participatingadults. Cuban (1984) established that the traditional paradigm has a tenacious hold on educationdespite the call by some to more humane and relevant learning in schools (Pallas, 1993; Gibbons,1990; Eisner, 1985; Illich, 1973; Lister, 1973; Rogers, 1967; Wilhelms, 1967). In light of thepositive findings regarding alternative approaches to learning (Gibbons, 1990; Gray, 1986;Cuban, 1984), and the demands of society for educational reform (Bacharach and Shedd, 1989;Bacharach, 1988; Apple, 1983), I think that da Vinci remains in a precarious position of eitherdeveloping further or joining the ranks of historical attempts that inevitably were overcome bythe traditional paradigm. My experiences thus far throughout da Vinci’s development andimplementation have been in harmony with the findings ofMiller & Seller (1990), Bacharach &Shedd (1989), Mitchell (1989), Bacharach (1988), Cuban (1984) and Wilson (1981). Cuban(1984) states,To ask why the dominant form of instruction continued to be teacher-centeredsince the late nineteenth century and why hybrids of teacher-centeredprogressivism and informal education developed in elementary but less in high70school classrooms, could produce a search to:•Seek out motives, i.e., of reformers, teachers, administrators.•Lay blame, i.e., intransigent teachers, penurious school boards.•Justify the status quo, i.e., that’s the way the system has been and it works.•Understand why something developed.This latter understanding of the word “why—” understanding the sources forcontinuity in teacher-centeredness and modest change—is, I believe, essentialknowledge that policymakers, scholars, and school officials need... that couldproduce reliable knowledge upon which informed improvement efforts could bebuilt (p. 239).Cuban (1984) cites numerous references to this approach about teacher-centered curriculumdelivery (Freire’ s [1974] “banking method”), inflexibility in the classroom, the recitation ofinformation, and the largely unchanged traditional practice of schooling. For me, thisinformation was significant not so much because it tended to support what I had come to realizein my practice, but because it tended to raise some serious questions for me, at least, about thenature of the educational process. Gibbons’ (1990) book reiterated much the same, but with theadded dimension of an offered viable alternative.A related attribute that is debated among sociologists is the question of legitimation ofinequality in the school. As Lister (1973) pointed out thatthe elite/academics and the comprehensivists have much more in common thanthey themselves realize: they are both schoolmen and they share manyassumptions: they tend to confuse schooling and education; to believe thatlearning is the result of teaching, and that learning is a commodity and thatknowledge comes in packages processed and purveyed by them. They bothbelieve in ‘equality of opportunity’ through schooling—which is the central mythof the system—and fail to see that schools cannot create equality of opportunitybut only legitimize the inequality which exists in society (p. 22; emphasis inoriginal).In this case, the power is maintained by the process of schooling that, according to Freire (1974),is oppressive. In my reflection on my experiences throughout the development of da Vinci,Lister’s comment stands as an additional call to re-examine the way we go about schooling. ForGibbons (1990) or Aronowitz (1980), it is the handicapping of youth by not incorporatingexperiential learning and more authentic approaches such as da Vinci. If schooling is to beviewed as propagating the “socially and economically democratic view of society” (Kohl, 1980:62), then the question of values and ideology become crucial to the argument. And, in that case,71is school to be a model ofsociety orfor society? Or is this really a legitimate question?My own experiences confirm that the schooling is as Cuban (1984), Eisner (1983), Freire(1974) and Lister (1973) have portrayed it. One of the outcomes of working on the da VinciProgram for me was a more critical look at schooling. From this I have come to determine thatthe hegemonic expression of adults dominating a passive group (Pallas, 1993; Mallea, 1989;Blackledge & Hunt, 1985; Mifflen & Mifflen, 1982, Parsons, 1959), essentially a class in societywhose role status is determined by age and whose participatory status is determined byknowledge (Pallas, 1993; Gibbons, 1990; Eisner, 1983), or, as is actually more the case, byability to pass prescribed tests through the regurgitation of prescribed knowledge, is a form ofoppression. Schooling, then, as the prescriptive measures taken by an elite as agents (teachers)who inculcate the particular norms predetermined by the dominant group (society viabureaucratic representatives) to a select group (students) with limited ascribed power, constitutesan inequality, or a kind of social and political enslavement of individuals, inferior by reason ofage and knowledge. I present this in the context of da Vinci because it and schooling areincompatible and because I would hope to pursue this matter further. I insist the point at leastneeds to be raised.A number of researchers, such as Mallea (1989), Lareau (1987), Blackledge & Hunt(1985), Aronowitz & Giroux (1985), Giroux (1983), Mifflen & Mifflen (1982), Anyon (1980),Collins (1971), Parsons (1959), speak of inequality andJor hegemony in education. As Icontemplated these writings, I determined that the da Vinci Program afforded a means ofguarding against the legitimation of inequality that persists in society. To that end, the treatmentabove of the “Principles of Self-Education” is offered as another consideration in this discussion.Students who are better prepared for the role of adult, who learn the skills necessary forparticipating responsibly and critically in the social milieu, and who develop lifelong learningskills and self-direction, theoretically should be in a better position to thwart or challenge suchinequalities. The traditional paradigm of schooling tends to combine groups of children andplace them in an institutional setting according to age and particular classification (usually agrade level) and move them through blocks of time segments under the tutelage of subject72specific specialists (at the secondary levels). Ideally, the da Vinci Program challenges this byinsisting upon alternative methods and approaches that emphasize processes and experientiallearning. As such, then, it is regarded as a radical learning approach. The da Vinci Programwould be in accord, too, with Illich’s (1973) suggestion that education can, in fact does functionwithout the necessity of specific facilities which tend to perpetuate the traditional paradigm andmaintain the status quo.Considering that Gibbons began developing the Walkabout concept in the beginningyears of 1970, and that I had difficulty trying to locate schools that are actively employing asimilar program or approach (I could find none in British Columbia), it is not clear as to why,from the standpoint of a student-centered curriculum and the teaching profession’s espousedconcern for whole student development, there were not many “Walkabout” schools. This is notto say that student-centered programs do not exist or that they must bear the name, “Walkabout.”Student-centered programs do exist. However, the Walkabout concept is more encompassingthan mere student-centeredness as I have attempted to indicate throughout this story. Horwood(1987) describes Jeff Co in fair detail and an exploratory visit to the school by the da Vinci teamin 1992 was able to confirm the feasibility and viability of the Walkabout concept. Jeff Coprovided confirmation to us that Gibbons’ model was workable. As the foundation for our own“Walkabout” program, I expected that it would capture the interests of the staff after wepresented our findings and so facilitate full implementation. I have delineated above theoutcomes of our attempts to implement da Vinci. The pedagogical and ideological challenges tochange that da Vinci raised received reticence as a response.Earlier I spoke of the da Vinci Program as part of a kind of revolution. Revolutions candie quickly and in the early stages. Gibbons’ (1990) own ideas, for instance, saw a briefexistence during his secondary school teaching experience and Cuban (1984) documented anumber of curricular innovations that failed to continue on. I would suggest that the lack ofWalkabout schools in British Columbia is not surprising and supports the findings ofChamberlain & Chamberlain (1993), Pallas (1993), Miller & Seller (1990), Mallea (1989),Aronowitz and Giroux (1985), Cuban (1984), Eisner (1983), Sanders & Schwab (1981), and73Proctor (1975).Numerous researchers, such as Gibbons (1990, 1991), Gray & Chanoff (1986), Cuban(1984), Apple (1983), Eisner, 1983, Aronowitz (1980), Freire (1974), Illich (1973), Lister(1973), Rogers, 1967, Coombs (1967), Wilhelms (1967), speak to the currently lacking butnecessary integration of experiential learning in the curriculum along with a reform of thetraditional approach. I believe that for ideo-philosophical reasons (the predominant functionalistundergirding and tendencies of the policy-makers) and for socio-economic reasons (the extra costof re-educating the educators and restructuring schools), the traditional approach to education,that is to say, schooling, is still unaltered. Gibbons’ (1990) writings (and suggested alternativeapproach) are already twenty years old. Much of Cuban’s (1984) research speaks of radicalattempts. Bobbitt and Thorndike’s scientific/militaristic approaches to education maintain theirguiding influence on the schooling of society to which Aronowitz (1980) counters, “the militarymodel cannot insure democratic participation. On the contrary it encourages subordination of aconceptually illiterate population whose skills extend to the technical plane” (p. 47: emphasis inoriginal). Can da Vinci survive, be fully implemented in this setting? Given that Jeff Co has asimilar foundation and has been active for twenty years in much the same environment, the daVinci Program should perform as well, especially utilizing Miller & Seller’s (1990: 278) modelof implementation approach.The da Vinci Program was likely viewed as too radical by reluctant staff members in thatit varied too greatly from their personal, pedagogical ideology (Miller & Seller, 1990). We werenot ostracized for our attempts but we did feel the psychological weight of avoidance or nonparticipation with us. My preoccupation with the details of the Program plus regular teachingduties as well as full-time graduate studies pre-empted any attempts to interview staff membersabout their perceptions about and reasons for not participating in da Vinci. Other than twoindividuals who expressed interest but were “too busy,” no efforts were made by others to gathermore information or participate.The administration remained an authoritative agency that concentrated on the generalmanagement of the school. The da Vinci Program began with much support in the form of74granted requests for release-time and accolades, but participation and interest in it were notevident in practice or in outcomes. Cuban stated, “Two reasons, I believe, dulled the appetite ofteachers for classroom change: the personal cost in time and energy and the lack of help to putcomplex ideas into practice” (p. 254).Shifting Paradigms: Poetic CatharsisThe process of bringing to life, as it were, the da Vinci Program had a greater impactthan I at first realized. It was not just a pedagogical challenge, or a cliquish new fad thathappened to fall upon me and a few others. The reconsideration of education as opposed toschooling (Illich, 1973; Freire, 1974; Eisner, 1983) in my mind was heightened by TheWalkabout Papers. On a couple of occasions I suggested to the group that the event ofdeveloping the da Vinci Program caused a sensation of power. But it was like the power of ahuge wave upon which we were riding and at any moment, the wave could either send each ofus crashing down in front of it or leave us behind.For each of us on the team, the concepts of the Program—experiential learning, self-direction, advising, negotiating a learning project, integration of course studies—certainlychallenged our thinking (or lack of it) about teaching, as I have intimated above, some moresothan others. We talked about the effects that the Program was having on us, from becomingmore aware of our instructional approach in our regular classes to altering our activities andeven our comportment in the classroom. Various outcomes included negotiated contracts andprojects, more student-centered and self-directed learning, alternative evaluation schemes,more integration of learning and practical living.The phrase, paradigm shift, was not used lightly but with a real attempt to understandthe internal turmoil (to a limited degree) associated with the challenge against the dominantapproach to teaching. Nevertheless, there still remains a certain incredulity on my part aboutthe stalwart reticence to change by many within the system. For me, the statement by Baronand Sternberg (1987) summed up what I tended to think:The fact that we think spontaneously does not prevent us from succumbing tothe stratagems of hucksters and demagogues; nor does it ensure the consistentrationality of our behavior. Indeed, the list of documented ways in which our75reasoning commonly goes astray is a long one... What is especially troublesomeis our apparently pervasive proclivity to bias our interpretation of evidence infavor of our preferences and pre-established conclusions (p. 28; emphasisadded).Gibbons’ (1990) writings began a greater change within me. Whereas the greatestaspect to change concerned my thinking about teaching and students, I began to notice howother areas in the sphere of my living were affected positively. From the time of readingGibbons’ (1990) book and analyzing it to the team working together and making preparationsfor the trip to Denver, it was very much a personal revolution. There was a breath ofexcitement about the author’s concept that rekindled a desire to both effect change in theeducation system and to learn, to pursue further learning.I likened da Vinci to a revolution, of sorts, of freeing students from the fetters of theinstitution of schooling—a kind of educational emancipation—and challenging the perceivedencumbrances of administration. If schooling were accepted as the institutionalization ofeducation—the formalized and normative processing of adolescents grouped and advancedaccording to age and achievement on tests and occurring in depersonalizing settings forarbitrary segments and durations of time—then an alternative approach that attempted toincorporate experiential learning, flexible hours of formal instruction, and more humane andrealistic considerations of the adolescent in terms of both his/her development and preparationfor adulthood could be argued as near emancipatory acts. I am not suggesting that werelinquish standards, order, and collective instruction. That a guiding structure is necessary isborne out by social research (Bibby, 1990; British Columbia Ministry of Education, 1989,1992; Anyon, 1981; Eggleston, 1977; Russell, 1949; as well as my teaching experiences overtwelve years). It is equally evident and thus all the more significant that students are ill-prepared from the education system (Gibbons, 1976, 1990; Cuban, 1984; Apple, 1983). Allthe more reason, then, that a serious re-examination be undertaken of how we presently schooladolescents and how we can teach them to learn.RecommendationsThere are, it seems to me from my readings and reflection, two main camps ofeducational thinking. The one accepts, fosters the status quo, or the traditional paradigm of76schooling, and resists changes. Its nature is predominantly of the Transmission meta-orientationand the institution of schooling is a social given and argued or assumed necessity (Mallea, 1989,Aronowitz & Giroux, 1985; Blackledge & Hunt, 1985; Kliebard, 1975; Bruner, 1971; Taba,1962). The other emphasizes human nature and process and resists the institutionalization orpotential dehumanization of persons (Toll, 1991; Gray & Chanoff, 1986; Gibbons, 1976, 1990,1991a, 1991b, 1992). Its nature is essentially of the Transaction and Transformation metaorientations (Miller & Seller, 1990). One of the elements, then, of the da Vinci Program’spotential worth is in its fostering the holistic growth of the person (I am not using “holistic” herein the pantheistic or New Age sense, but rather in a narrower context that encompasses the soul,or the whole person, not just the intellect). Its potential worth is also visible in thetransformation of the individual from dependent adolescent to independent, articulate, emergingyoung adult who is able to function more appropriately in society as a contributing member(Bogard, 1992; Langberg, 1992; Gibbons, 1990, 1992; Horwood, 1987) in whatever manner thatis.Given Cuban’s (1984) observations and conclusions about teaching practices in thepreceding 100 years, the actual conceptualizing of what it is to teach needs some challenges if forno other reason than to ensure that we are performing the best job possible for the sake of thestudent. This is not to undermine or deny changes that have occurred. In light ofmy fmdings,however, curricular alterations, school site developments, and diverse teaching practicesincorporating methodological variations amount to superficial considerations.The question of the feasibility or viability of da Vinci, particularly in light of the Tyleriancontrol of curriculum that administrations at the various levels maintain and that teachers(unwittingly) propagate, is an interesting query, but impossible to examine properly in this study.Miller & Seller (1990) indicated that any innovation requires time to implement and that thelarger the scale of the innovation, the greater are the number of accompanying difficulties which,in turn, have an impact on the time. The da Vinci Program requires a longer period ofimplementation before a proper analysis of its viability or feasibility can be undertaken. This isnot to conclude that the problems of the Program’s implementation to this point were purely a77function of time. I have concluded, after reading Fullan (1990), Miller and Seller (1990), Eisner(1983, 1985), Gibbons (1976, 1990, 1992), Cuban (1984) and Freire (1974), that if there hadbeen more time to implement da Vinci fully, there still would have been the attending problemsthat I have indicated in this document.If the “five year plan” were given serious consideration and Chugalong Secondary wereto become the da Vinci school, I believe there would be an equalizing effect within the districtwhereby students would merely transfer to the school of their choice in the district. Students,then, would attend one of the other two secondary schools if they wanted to pursue a traditionalprogram of studies or to Chugalong Secondary if they wanted to pursue the da Vinci Program. Iam well aware of the logistics and the dynamics that the impact of this would have on the otherschools. These are aspects of change involved in the implementation of such a program as thisone. The greater questions, “What is best for the student?” and, “How can we, society, bestaddress this issue?” need to be addressed first.The gap between the ideal and the actual, as I have intimated above, was not bridged inthe first year of the Program. In a conversation with the present advisor in the Program, I notedthat it is still not a reality. Whether or not it will be fully implemented remains to be seen asadministrators change postings, staff personnel move, student demands place pressure on courseofferings, and the vision is maintained by the remaining da Vinci advisor(s). The above idealwas constantly in my thinking about the da Vinci Program as the first year unfolded.A number of additional questions arise from this study which remain unanswered. Whatis/was the actual versus articulated ideology of the school? Of the staffmembers? Of the daVinci team? Does the Canadian identity have an impact upon the school setting, administrativeprofiles, and program applications (Taylor, 1992; Bibby, 1990; Mallea, 1989; Tomkins, 1981)?What are the actual responses of students in terms of improvements, perceptions, comparisons,and achievements? What are the insights and articulated responses of the staff andadministration? What would a comparative study of Jeff Co, which offers an already establishedWalkabout program, and the da Vinci Program at Chugalong reveal?Wilson (1981) noted that, “In the day-to-day administration..., answerability is composed78of four elements present in varying degrees under different circumstances: resources, knowledge,purpose and choice” (p. 288). Although this was primarily directed toward administration, Ithink that the four elements are readily adaptable to any level of decision-making. In terms ofthe changes discussed, then, I believe that the following questions within each element, actuallyvoiced or thought, shed some light on the process from the teachers’ perspectives. Some of thesequestions could be adopted for student and parental consideration. There are likely morequestions that could be raised but these serve as a beginning place:Resources: Who is making the change?What’s in it for me? What’ll it cost me?How much time do I have to accomplish it?Is time being made so that I can do this?Knowledge: Does it fit my ways (e.g. ideology)?What more do I have to know?Has it been done before? How is it different?Purpose: What are the reasons for the change?Why does it have to be done? Where will it lead us (me)?What are the expectations?Choice: Do I have to do it?Can I participate in its development?What’s the alternative?Perhaps if I had known about and presented these at one of the earlier staff presentations, theremight have been an improved response to da Vinci. For the implementer, utilizing these fourcategories (one could easily refer to Miller & Seller’s [1990] five characteristics of change, p.234) should eliminate much resistance or at least reduce potential conflict. In terms of the daVinci Program, some of these questions were anticipated prior to presentations and some weredeveloped after I examined the Program from different views.The challenge to change is multifaceted. Students, as a result of the nature of schooling,cannot effect change. The fact that even educators must struggle to implement minuscule79changes (such as the difficulties in integrating subjects or team teaching) demonstrates the holdthat the traditional paradigm has on schooling as well as the problems that change is perceived tocreate. Cuban (1984) noted that one explanation for teaching practice as it is/has been is theoccupational ethos of teaching that breeds conservatism and resistance to changein institutional practice. This conservatism, i.e., preference for stability andcaution toward change, is rooted in the people recruited into the profession, howthey are informally socialized, and the school culture of which teaching itself is aprimary ingredient (p. 243).For the would-be implementer, a great deal of pre-planning and preparation is necessary (Miller& Seller, 1990; Gibbons, 1990; Eisner, 1985).To accept the challenges in administration in ensuring success in such an implementation,such as participation or supportive dialogue, the levels of administration would have to embraceif not the whole Program’s philosophy then at least the notions of professional and pedagogicalsupport by recognizing that some key individuals have taken the time and expended the energy inan effort to improve the learning process for students. Implementers are seemingly ostracizedwithin the profession as much by the nature of the demands that innovation places on them as bythe perceived threat of change or difference that such attempts bring about in the implementers.By September, 1993, the da Vinci Program had been relegated to the level of courseelective and one teacher in a classroom, both acts which militate against the ideology I foughthard to develop and maintain. The act, I believe, undermines its credibility and viability as anideal learning model. Apart from a renewed vision and vigor by all involved to gain a respectfulplace in education, I believe the da Vinci Program will disappear from the timetable as a nobleattempt, but an unnecessary frill in a time of arguable necessary restraint in much the same wayas the previous Gifted program and the like. I anticipated this result in the first year ofimplementation:I fear at this point that the da V. will die within 2 years, especially with thepresent principal (and distance of the school board). Given financial constraints,my leaving in June, waning enrollment, the pressures to maintain this Program asa legitimate program (and not just some nice Innovation that brings in extrafunding to the District and “good looks”), I think, will squash it. Likely it will berelegated to a single (or 2) teacher and a specific block of time in the timetable.After that, it will fade. I hope not (Notes, 13-02-93).80To understand the da Vinci Program not only as a radical approach to learning but as acreative response to the traditional system, the beginnings of a new social and educationalawareness are possible. It is not enough to condemn the traditional paradigm of schooling or tobe merely a social critic and delve into the realm of sociological theories. Applying the latter in apositive and tenacious manner with the view to a more improved universal existence in thecosmos is both a high ideal and, realistically, a lifelong ordeal. The essence or true nature ofeducation, in my mind, is not about the impersonal mass production of entities called students,but rather the learning development of personal individuals. Treating students as individuals andwith real needs demands a conceptual shift in the current educational system which means thatteachers, administrators, politicians, and even parents must realign their thinking.What I Would Do Differently...In many respects, the telling of this story seems to be just a beginning. As I reflectedback on the issues that I presented in the “Introduction,” I was confronted with two mainquestions: What have I learned? and What would I do differently? What I have learned relates towhat I would do differently if I had the opportunity, thus, the title of this section.In general, I discovered that I approached curriculum implementation with a disregard forresearch, planning, or expertise. I initially thought, at least during the preparation andpresentation of the “da Vinci Files,” and assumed that other staffmembers would becomeinvolved automatically. Gibbons’ (1990) book served as an impetus to change for me, but Idiscovered, well after the anxiety and frustrations of the beginnings of the Program, that teachers,administrators, and even students and parents respond differently to ideas, especially where thoseideas challenge presently accepted views. Had I taken the time to thoroughly prepare for the fullimplementation of da Vinci, a greater degree of success might have been possible. I say this,however, with a certain caution, cognizant of the fact that innovations of an especially radicalnature will always be fraught with resistance, and difficulties regardless of the amount of timethat is allotted (Fullan, 1990). A more patient and researched approach, though, would have, Ibelieve, ensured an easier transition. Some key areas where I would pursue a different tack are asfollows.81In terms of staff information, I would help establish a framework for the presentation ofideas in a school (of course, I would like to change the present structure of schools, too) such thatany innovation could be dealt with in a methodical manner, capitalizing on research, methods,and expertise. I believe that in this way, many problems could be foreseen and overcome. Miller& Seller (1990), Fullan (1990), Doll (1989), Eisner (1985) and Pratt (1980) are just someexamples of curriculum specialists that could act as resources in this process. Involving the staffin the process as an active professional practice conflicts with the time constraints that alreadyafflict teachers. In response, I would suggest that the roles of administrators and Board personnelbe seriously and carefully examined with a view to improving the educational process.I would suggest now that a staff be approached, through a professional development dayor a conference, and presented a structured framework to enable careful consideration of bothpersonal and school ideologies. I think that with such an approach, a staff could learn tounderstand its own compilation of ideologies and the factors involved in tolerating and evenassisting others to develop, articulate, and implement curricular innovations. Key questionsposed to educators to stimulate thinking about schooling, learning, goals and practices, thoughnot new, could be mixed with research findings and presented with models of practice forconsideration. A long-term plan of implementation should be drawn up (before public scrutiny)that anticipates questions, fears, ideologies and school climate. Initially, during the beginningstages of da Vinci’s development, I wanted many times to force the Program into place. That isnot unlike pushing a partially built boat into the water just to get people on board. I have learnedthat time and patience are key experiences and necessary characteristics for implementation.Since (apparent) miscommunication seemed to thwart an interconnectedness between thestaff and the da Vinci team, more time spent in the discussion of ideas, ideals and ideologies,particularly as these are challenged by findings in the education literature, and in small amounts(in other words, do not discuss all the school goals in one setting, for example), would help toalleviate some of the problems of communication. As I think back on when we were preparing toleave for Jeff Co and the one staffmember who had raised a concern about our going, I think thata more charitable response would have included an invitation to join us along with more time82spent in going through the main points of the Program. The concern might not even have beenraised had we more carefully prepared the staff. I was too inclined to disassociate myself fromthe staff, and to think that if staff members wanted to, they could just as easily read the samematerials I had and approach me or the team for more information if necessary. In short, Irationalized my position with a challenge to others to read and think more, and justified myactions by appealing to the lack of time to “do everything for everybody.” Ifwe had spent moretime delineating the particulars of the da Vinci innovation, of our intentions (such as planning thetrip to Jeff Co, beginning a pilot approach in the spring, thinking of a five-year plan for the fullimplementation of da Vinci at Chugalong Secondary), and of our expected or desired responsefrom the staff and administration supported by research, then the da Vinci Program might haveenjoyed more success. More students might have been more inclined to remain in the Programand more staffmembers might have become more involved.In terms of the concerns about the high drop-out rate in the first three months of theProgram, I would now suggest that a smaller, more manageable number be permitted in theinnovation in the beginning, and this after a formal presentation and an interview withprospective participants. In this way, greater clarification of the Program’s, and our, demandscould be ensured. A second activity that I would undertake for the first several weeks would beto “walk through” the Program with the participants, that is, practice some of the writingnecessary for proposals and journal entries along with sample or small Passage projectscompleted as a group. This is a similar activity that I had done previously, and successfully, withthe students I had taught in the Gifted program and is consistent with the practice at Jeff Co. Ithink that in this way, fewer students would be so apt to misunderstand the nature of the Programor to opt out of it.Other factors, or variables that are associated with implementation (school ideology,governance, personalities and agendas), demand creative approaches over time for resolution orfurther study with regard to this Program. A fmal resort, one which I have heard discussedamong educators and parents, would be to begin a new learning center, or resource place (whichis what I would have a school become) for the enhancement of learning rather than the institution83where subjects are taught in the context of successful completion of tests. That, however,demands more thoughtful examination and discussions that are beyond the scope of this story.The da Vinci Program afforded me a practical experience in curriculum development and,to a limited extent, implementation. 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Leonardo da Vinci, probably the greatest exampleof the renaissance individual, was, by this time, near death [in actual fact, da Vinci died in 1519].Behind him lay hundreds of graphic ideas, sketches, paintings, and a legacy of learning that isoften alluded to only in passing in the study of history. Yet, this master of knowledge wasbroken at the end of his life due to the lack of understanding of the one area that to this dayeludes a firm or absolute response for most: the soul.Less than a hundred years later, a new wave of transformation struck Europe through themortal leaders ofMartin Luther, John Calvin and others associated with the Reformation and thesoul was included in every man’s education.The renaissance period comes quickly to mind when reading Maurice Gibbons’collection, The Walkabout Papers, where the student of the 215t century has become a specialistwho seizes and responds to the importance of education as a means to a life of learning thatleads to interacting in society inter-dependently. Now the learner enters society as a matureinteractive being.“The da Vinci Files” is an attempt to slightly restructure Gibbon’s approach primarily intwo areas: by insisting upon a broader base rather than the individual becoming a “specialist,”and by incorporating a more formal structure of philosophical inquiry that would inherentlyinclude the spiritual, or the soul.Since this is the first course of action from aformal perspective, it is posited by thisinstructor that a select group be released from their routine schedule during school time so as tobe enabled to pursue that course of studies leading to a more diverse and productive lifestyleasserted in the Gibbons model. This trial group would meet with the facilitator daily to reviewprogress and problems as well as once weekly for a seminar dealing with issues relating to their95program of studies or for personal presentations. Parents would be encouraged to assist in everyfacet of the Program and coached as to how they, too, could benefit from an interactive approach.In these ways the parent would be kept informed as to the progress and success of their child.Grading would be performed as per Gibbons’ suggested pattern and all necessary curricularmaterial would be covered by the learner.Given its success, the following academic year would presumably experience moreindividuals opting for this learning approach. It is also assumed that this writer would be thefacilitator.96Appendix 2Initial Site Development Grant ProposalIn 1989, the British Columbia Ministry of Education proposed a major educationalinnovation entitled, Year 2000: A Framework For Learning. An attempt to “deliver effectiveeducational programs to the young people of the province” (p. 2), the Ministry of Educationdeveloped a three tiered curriculum program—Primary, Intermediate, and Graduation—eachoriented specifically to elementary, junior and secondary levels respectively. The Ministry ofEducation offered financial grants to educators who would develop and implement programs thatwere concrete examples of the Year 2000. The following document is the proposal submitted tothe Ministry of Education for a grant to further develop the Program. As we contemplated theelements of the da Vinci Program and compared these with the Year 2000 innovation during theproposal writing, it became a confirmation of sorts to discover that da Vinci served as a viablemodel of implementation for the key principles of the Year 2000. These were set out in a table inthe Grant Proposal document which later also served as part of the da Vinci informationdocument.97SYNOPSIS OF THE da VINCI PROGRAMThe da Vinci Program models itself upon Maurice Gibbons’ walkabout concept and meetsor exceeds the requirements of the Intermediate and Graduation Program of the Year 2000Innovation in British Columbia by the facilitation of student negotiated projects, or passages.These passages are found in conjunction with regular course work and are relevant as well asindividualized, address student interests and provide challenging personal experiences.Based on six broad learning dimensions (practical skill, physical challenge, creativeendeavour, community/global awareness, career exploration, philosophical inquiry), studentsnegotiate with their advisors to create a personal program that involves flexible timetabling andthe design of an authentic learning experience. Students will venture out beyond the classroomto explore their programs more deeply and broaden their experiences. The creative, innovativeuse of resources, particularly in the community, is central to the Program where students willinteract with a multitude of organizations, institutions, professionals, business persons, etc., inorder to investigate and research their programs.A vital part of the Program involves strategies for guidance, training and assessment.Advisors, other teachers, parents and community members will be involved to prepare, guide andassess student achievement using a wide variety of methods, emphasizing lifelong learning andpersonal success.The da Vinci Program culminates in a public presentation of each student’s pursuits and acelebration of their personal achievements.ReferencesGibbons, Maurice. Pathways: A Personal Project Management System. Bowen Island, B.C.:Personal Power Press International Inc., 1991.Gibbons, Maurice. Slashing a Pathway to Education 2000. Bowen Island, B.C.: Personal PowerPress International Inc., 1991.Gibbons, Maurice. The Walkabout Papers: Challenging Students to Challenge Themselves.Vancouver, B.C.: Eduserv Inc., 1990.Richter, Irma A. (Ed). The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci. Toronto: Oxford University Press,1952.98INTERMEDIATE AND GRADUATION FOCUS I PRINCIPLES (GENERAL)INTERMEDIATE AND GRAD PROGRAM1. Students are individuals with unique learningstyles and rates of learning.2. Students are provided with the instruction 2.and assistance needed for them to attainthe knowledge, skills and attitudes necessaryfor success within the Graduation Program.3. Students begin the Graduation Program wherethey left off from the Intermediate Program.4. Students are provided with the means toprepare for the next phase of their livesby choosing from selected options.5. Students experience a variety of learningstrategies.6. Students earn credentials that arenecessary for post-school endeavours.7. Students have flexible hours/daysto take care of out-of-school responsibilities.8. Students have support.9. Students participate in a ceremonyrecognizing the completion of their formalpublic school education.10. Students, with the support of family andschool, take responsibility for their ownlearning.11. Students have flexibility in the amount oftime they spend attaining any given learningoutcome.12. Students participate in some form ofWorkExperience related to their interests.* Taken From the Graduation Draft Document, 1991.da VINCI PROGRAM1. Programs are individually designed andscheduled to address learning styles andrates.Advisors assist students in the redesignof individual programs based on sixlearning dimensions which directlyrelate to the four developmental goalsof the Graduation Program.3. Individually designed programs ensuresensible transitions from Intermediateto Graduation Program as well asadulthood.4. With the assistance of advisors,students select topics relevant tothemselves.5. Students are challenged to use a varietyof learning strategies to fulfill theirprograms.6. Students attain graduation, career andauthentic life experiences that earnnecessary credentials for post-schoolendeavours.7. Program schedules are built aroundthe specific needs of the student.8. Each student has an advisor and aselected set of human resources to callupon.9. The graduation ceremony consists of apublic presentation and celebration ofeach student’s achievements.10. Individualized programs withpersonalized schedules give studentsgreater ownership of their educationand a responsibility for completion.11. Depending on each student’s needs andsituations, programs can be redesignedand rescheduled.12. Students must engage in somevocational and community ventureas part of their program.99INTERMEDIATE AND GRADUATION FOCUS[PRINCIPLES (ASSESSMENT)Students are supported in makinginformed choices about theirparticular pathway to graduationthrough a variety of assessmentstrategies.2. Students use a variety of learningactivities ranging from the simple tocomplex and the assessmentpractices used should relate toand support these activities.3. Students are involved in theportfolios, assessment process by reflectingon their learning, setting future goals,collecting evidence of learning andusing self-assessment to establishevaluation criteria.4. Students learn to construct personalmeaning, to use self-assessment andto develop independent, self-directedunits.5. Students have flexibility in theamount of time it takes to attainany given learning outcome.6. Students develop a sense ofindependence, direction andresponsibility for their ownlearning when they areinvolved in self-assessment.7. Student assessment reflects learningwith respect to physical types ofperformance, critical thinking andgroup processing activities.1. Students take ownership for the qualityof their passage and for completionthrough individually designedassessment strategies.2. Students work with an advisor to designtheir own particular programs andassessment frameworks based on the sixlearning dimensions or Passages.3. Students use journals, developon-going assessment frameworks,progress reports for advisors andregularly scheduled conferences withadvisors to evaluate Passage progressand determine assessment criteria forPassage completion.4. Students choose their own topics ofstudy (Passages) and are assisted bymentors and advisors to designappropriate performance andassessment strategies for each one.5. Students are guided in the redesign andrescheduling of Passages, Passageassessment and evaluation timelines tomeet their individual needs.6. Students negotiate with their advisorsand mentors suitable methods andtimelines for self-assessment throughouttheir Passages.7. Student assessment reflects learningthrough personal examination, criticalthinking and feedback from a variety ofsources: teachers, advisors, mentors,triad members and community resourcepeople.1.(This table formed part of the rationale in the second Grant Proposal aimed at assessment)INTERMEDIATE AND GRAD PROGRAM da VINCI PROGRAM1008. Students organize for their assessment 8. Passage performance and assessmentand evaluation time frames to occur opportunities are built around thein conjunction with the learning situation specific demands and proposedand to be based on performance in completion date of the Passage in whichrelation to specific, clearly defined the student is engaged.standards.* Taken from the Intermediate and Graduation Draft Documents, 1991.101METHODOLOGYSelf-Directed LearningThe da Vinci Program emphasizes self-directed learning through guided instruction andpractical experience, creating opportunities for the development of the whole student/learner.The learning activities are interrelated in three domains: Personal, Social/Interpersonal, andAcademic or Technical. Within each domain, a student participates actively by experientiallearning and by study. The teaching role will involve facilitating and advising using strategieswhich assist students in developing the attitudes, personality characteristics and skills needed topursue and achieve their goals.Negotiated Learning ContractEach student in the Program will negotiate an individualized action plan, or learningcontract with his/her advisor. This document is designed to be not only an instrument for self-directed learning, but also an outline of the process of learning. In meeting the demands of eachof the six aspects, or passages, of the Program (Creative Endeavour, Practical Skill,Community/Global Awareness, Career Exploration, Philosophical Inquiry, Physical Challenge),the parts of the contract should anticipate the difficulties and challenges the student will face, andrepresent solutions for the student to explore. Ideally, the contract will identify the vision orlong-term goals of the student, the learning strategies to be used, acceptable demonstrations ofachievement, and the roles of each participant. The student and the advisors will understand thenature of the project being undertaken, the anticipated learning outcomes, and will agree uponthe standards that will be used to evaluate and/or assess the work related to the outcomes.The Working JournalStudents will be required (and learn) to keep a working journal as they progress. Thejournal is a sketchbook or record of thinking, learning, planning, action and reflection, becominga resource of ideas much like the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci.EvaluationWhile subject matter is a part of the student’s school experience, the learner will beencouraged not only to synthesize through precept and example, but also to become conscious ofdeveloping skills, applying processes, pursuing goals, and participating in a variety ofexperiences. Evaluation will be formal and informal, and include self-assessment as much asassessment by those supporting the student (such as a group of advisors). The student willnegotiate an evaluation technique that includes a minimum, an excellent, and a superior level ofachievement, thereby incorporating evaluation in the learning process. While the demonstrationof outcomes is an important aspect of evaluation, much of the evaluation/assessment will bethrough Passage explorations and Wrap-ups, reports, and creative work which will bedocumented in formal portfolios.102CONFIGURATIONStudents will become involved in the da Vinci Program through a number of options.The Program is designed to be made available to students within a wide spectrum of abilities,achievement levels, interests, and needs.Advisor/Mentor TeamsSpecific teachers, parents, and other supporters work as a team (although much of thework of advising will take place on a one to one basis) with the student to create a caring, safe,effective environment for the learner. Together, or by taking on specific roles, members of thementor team teach and guide the student in learning how to learn and in how to achieve goals, aswell as in the learning and achieving itself. The mentor team becomes involved in assisting withassessment and evaluation, as well as in celebrating achievements with the student. The team isassembled based on the needs of the student and the characteristics of his/her goals.Support SystemsSupport systems include both the human resources and facilities available within theschool, the school district and the community. Often, learning will include an exploration of thesupport systems that are available, how the resources in the school and community may bebridged, and/or how one resource can be used in conjunction with another. (Please see modelfollowing)Core Group - Students and advisorsAssessment within the core group involves a variety of approaches and configurations.Students are responsible for formative self-assessments to monitor their ongoing progressas well as summative self-evaluations that involve careful self-reflection and analysis of theirlearning experiences.Peer assessment takes the form of support groups known as triads or quads. In thesesmall groups, peers informally discuss and assess each other’s passages providing ongoingsupport, suggestions and feedback.Advisors are responsible for monitoring the student’s self-assessment process throughinterviews, anecdotal records, proposal editing, progress charts, etc. From such interactionsadvisors also provide external, objective feedback to students. All feedback is ongoing andranges from informal interactions to formal structured assessments.The Extended Group - School and ParentsThe school administration acts as an objective source of assessment by providing bothinformal and formal feedback to advisors and students. The school as a whole serves as a venueto present and display passage projects and provide public support and feedback to students andadvisors.Parents play a key role in assessment by receiving and providing feedback at meetings103and in their involvement in their child’s passage.The CommunityAny individual in the community involved in a student’s passage shall be included in theassessment process. This inclusion can take the form of informal interviews and formal checklistassessments.Colleges and UniversitiesColleges and universities play a role by recognizing the da Vinci assessment Program as acredible process of assessment. A student’s da Vinci transcript will not be based solely upon asolitary letter grade, but will be an anecdotal summary gathered from the various methods fromthe variety of sources involved.104METHODS FOR SHARINGThere is an aspect of sharing in this Program which involves advisors sharing the resultsof the implementation of the da Vinci Program within the district, within the province, and withthe Ministry of Education and will involve students sharing their achievements with peers,community members, advisors, and mentors as the culmination of their work. In makingpresentations about the Program, the most powerful and effective demonstration will be theholistic growth of the students.In order to share the results of the da Vinci Program, the implementation will bedocumented in a dossier. The dossier will include the following:• Inception of the idea.• Alternatives considered.• Time line for implementation.• Issues that arose both before and during implementation, for Programparticipants and for others in the school community.• Samples of student work.• Anecdotes on students.• Quotes from student journals (by permission).• Program review.• Program materials to date.Presentations to interested groups may include some or all of the following:• Advisors outlining the Program and their roles.• Students outlining their learning processes, how they changed, and whatchallenges they met.• Displays of student achievements.• Videotapes of advisor and student meetings.• Relevant materials and documents.105METHODS FOR REVIEW AND REFLECTIONThe implementation of the da Vinci Program requires regular meetings of advisors notonly to discuss student progress but also to assess the direction of the Program with reference toits aims, goals and objectives. To that end, the da Vinci team will change or alter the Programwith respect to improvement. It is crucial that the cia Vinci team take opportunity to interact withone another, the community and administration with a view to aid the student-learner develop tothe utmost of his/her capability and to be a verification for the team members of progress anddecisions in advisement.Participants will review and assess the outcomes of the Program through:• Forums.• Informal discussion.• Student journals and portfolios.• Advisor sessions and journals.• Regular conferences.• Articulation with secondary level institutions and the appropriate Ministry Departments.106Appendix 3Staff Presentation Agenda, Feb. 51. History• Maurice Gibbon’s Walkabout Ideas• Materials were introduced to our Pro-D collection• Early September, Blane called a meeting• Interested people began to meet regularly• da Vinci exemplified the type of learner Walkabout ideas espoused• Administrators were supportive and encouraged further pursuit• Interested staff saw the ideas as something they wanted to tryrather than just read about2. da VINCI• Took da Vinci idea and shaped it into a proposal for a Ministryof Ed. Site Development Grant• Creating proposal reconfirmed values and beliefs about the benefits to students• Received Grant because selection committee recognized the da Vinci Program matchedthe Graduation Program in a number of ways.• Obligations and conditions of grant3. COLORADO• Site development group felt the need to see a credible Walkabout Program in action• Time restraints made planning and going on the trip a very rushedprocess• Colorado confirmed potential of such a program4. IMPLEMENTATION• Initial project proposal included identification of 20 students• Plans include a student, parents, and Chugalong staff orientation• Individualized Educational Programs will be developed, based onelements agrced upon by advisors (teachers), parents and student• Programs will emphasize understanding the Walkabout concept and embarking on“mini” passages (authentic learning experiences built on the six challenges describedin the da Vinci proposal)• Evaluation of student progress and the effectiveness of the Program will be ongoing• In June, a program evaluation/report will be made to students, parents, Chugalong staff,district colleagues, the Board, and the Ministry with a view to identifring the value ofWalkabout approach in connection to the Graduation Program107Appendix 4da Vinci Program Working DocumentsThe guidelines used here were adapted from the materials from Jeff Co. It was theintention of the da Vinci team to create its own “principles of passage proposals, wrap-ups,performances, etc.” (Notes, 6-05-92.)108Co_da VINCI PROGRAM MATERIALSPassage Guidelines: GeneralPassage Guidelines: SpecificQuestions and Learner ProfileAssessment Forms110passage: (n.) passing, transit; transition from one state to another (Swanell, 1986).As one recalls the aboriginal custom where the adolescent would be expected to embarkon a solo journey lasting several months in the wilds of the Australian outback, his returnindicating a successful venture, marked a vitally important element of human growth: thattransition from adolescence to adulthood. This rite of passage would challenge the youth in allfacets of his being: the spiritual, the personal/emotional and the intellectual. Practical skillswould be learned for survival and for amusement. Philosophical inquiry, or questions of why,who, what, how would likely arise. The physical challenge of survival and the venture itself aswell as developing awareness of his interaction with nature, with others, with the world would bea part of the passage.For the student in any culture, each of these aspects is a passage in itself. Capitalizing onpersonal interests, the student of the da Vinci Program embarks on a Passage, an experientialventure that pits the student against him/herself in the developing process of learning; thebeginning stages for lifelong learning.illda Vinci ProgramSTEP 1: IDEA ORGANIZATIONPassage Proposal ProcessGeneral Guidelines1. Describe your Passage in your opening paragraph. You could use the newspaper format ofwho, what, why, when and where. Try to make your statements as clear as possible; writethem as if someone who knew nothing about the school were reading them. Tell why yourPassage is a challenge to you and what risks you expect in this experience: personal(physical, financial, emotional), social and intellectual.2. Describe your preparation for this experience: your strengths, past experience, training youplan to pursue prior to beginning the Passage.3. Describe the resources you have (personal strengths, motivations, people, books, materials,etc.) and the resources you will need and how you will obtain them.4. Describe what you anticipate to be your greatest obstacle(s) and how you plan to overcome it(them).5. Describe your first step in beginning this Passage; list your steps in order in your progresstoward completion. A timeline with checkpoints may be appropriate here.6. State how you will know when this passage is complete and proposed date of completion.112da Vinci ProgramSTEP 2: WRITING YOUR PROPOSALPassage Proposal ProcessGeneral Guidelines1. Develop an idea, an interest or a dream. Consider your readiness in terms of past experiences,skills, knowledge, motivation, resources and personal strengths.2. Meet with your advisor to discuss your idea. Take notes and follow through with responsesand suggestions.3. Write your Rough Draft, using both the general and specific guidelines for the passage.4. Give a copy of your Rough Draft to your advisor, triad and, where applicable, to your mentorand ask for feedback. This will need to be at least two (2) weeks prior to a planned meetingfor the proposal.5. Revise your Draft Proposal and make a Final Draft. This process may occur more than once.6. Select and invite people to be on your Passage Committee. It should include the following:advisor, mentor, triad members, parents (if appropriate) and community people involved inyour Passage.7. Give a copy of your Final Draft Proposal to each member of your Committee at least one (1)week prior to a planned meeting for the proposal.8. Schedule a meeting with all Committee members.9. At the Passage Meeting, seek approval and suggestions from your Committee and take notesto use in making further revisions (if necessary), or in performing the Passage and writingup your wrap-up summary.113da Vinci ProgramSTEP 3: PERFORMING THE PASSAGEPassage Proposal ProcessGeneral Guidelines1. Your advisor, mentor and other committee members are available to help you. If changes arenecessary in the Passage, consult with them.2. Document everything you do and the thought process you go through. Maintain a journal,notes, photos, receipts, letters and other relevant records. This is very important. You areresponsible for keeping all your original work. Protect it and keep it organized, forexample, in a dossier or portfolio. When you are ready to formally leave the school at theend of this stage of learning, your dossier will be proof or your learning experiences duringyour school years and should be very useful for future references whether for jobs orfurther studies. This can be the beginning of your portfolio: a personal glimpse of you.114da Vinci ProgramSTEP 4: PASSAGE WRAP-UP: ROUGH DRAFTGeneral Guidelines1. Describe the Passage as you proposed it. The description should be written clearly withattention to main events andJor highlights so a person unfamiliar with you and/or the schoolcould understand this experience. Balance a need to “summarize” the experience with theequal need to keep the “life” in your writing about this Passage experience.2. What did you accomplish and how did you know you reached your goals?3. Describe obstacles, challenges and risks (perceived and real) you expected to encounter onthis Passage and how you dealt with them. How did you deal with unexpected events,setbacks, opportunities? Were your expectations realistic? Explain.4. Describe the turning points or highlights within the experience. These can be documentedwith excerpts from your journal.5. What peripheral or unanticipated learning occurred through this Passage?6. List the resources used for this Passage. Be specific.7. The closing statement could include how you feel about yourself and the completion of thisPassage, why this Passage has made a difference in your life and where you will go fromhere in further experiences.8. See specific Passage guidelines for additional information required for a particular wrap-up.115da Vinci ProgramSTEP 5: FINAL DRAFT OF PASSAGE WRAP-UPGeneral Guidelines1. Organize your documentation.2. Write your Rough Draft of the Passage wrap-up summary with the help of both general andspecific Passage guidelines.3. Meet with your advisor and triad for review and help.4. Submit your Rough Draft of the wrap-up at least two (2) weeks prior to your intendedwrap-up meeting. Be sure to include a summary of experiences and outcomes that youlearned which were peripheral to the Passage or unexpected.5. Revise and rewrite the Final Draft of the wrap-up with the help of the notes, suggestionsand feedback from the members of your Committee. This may occur more than once.6. Give a copy of the Final Draft of the wrap-up to all members of your Committee at leastone (1) week prior to the next planned meeting.116da Vinci ProgramSTEP 6: THE CELEBRATIONGeneral Guidelines1. Schedule a meeting with all members of your Committee.2. Present your accomplishments to your Committee and allow for helpful observations to beshared with each other. Document these in your journal.3. Decide how you will celebrate. What would be the most appropriate setting? Will youneed help in preparing? Discuss options and ideas with your advisor and triad. Who willyou invite?4. Make the preparations and be sure to inform your guests at least two weeks in advance sothat they may make arrangements. Remind them again one week before the planned date.Inform them if there must be a change that may affect them.5. Celebrate your success!117da Vinci ProgramPassage CategoryPRACTICAL SKILLSPASSAGE GUIDELINESBACKGROUND:Essentially, in a Practical Skills Passage you will develop the necessary skill(s) toaccomplish a task for yourself that ordinarily someone else would do for you, such as bakingbread or repairing something. Often this involves a manual skill and you will demonstrate someproduct besides a journal or written description of your accomplishment. If you are a “hands-on”person, it is recommended that you complete this Passage first. Do not limit your thinking tomanual skills exclusively as it is possible to consider broader encompassing skills.CRITERIA:1. Your Passage idea should be a challenge to you.2. What risks will you be taking?3. Your proposal should indicate your present skill level, how you have depended on others inthe past and how you will demonstrate an increased level of proficiency.4. What do you believe will be your biggest obstacle to completion and how do you plan to dealwith it?5. List any resources that you intend to use (books, magazines, people, etc.).6. Indicate what documentation you will use (i.e., photos, videos).7. Include a timeline, a proposed budget and a list of materials. A statement concerning howyou might conserve materials is also useful.118da Vinci ProgramPassage CategoryCOMMUNITY/GLOBAL AWARENESSPASSAGE GUIDELINESESSENTIAL PARTS OF THE PASSAGE:1. Identify and research an issue with community/global implications; one which can/does affectpeople locally or globally. The research will be presented in the most suitably appropriateform.2. Do something that will help lessen the problem or improve the situation at your level. Youraction will include some form of volunteer service.CHOOSE AN ISSUE:1. Narrow the topic to a manageable size for you.2. Discuss your idea with your advisor. Bring any notes along.3. Ask these questions to yourself:• Is this a problem for many people?• What effects does this problem have locally/globally?• Why did I choose this topic?• How am I personally involved in this topic?• How could I learn more about this issue?• Can I think of ways I could help lessen the problem? (You do not have to solve theproblem!)• Where can I offer volunteer service to lessen the problem?• Have I looked sufficiently at as many sides as possible?• Have I collected enough information from a variety of sources?SUGGESTED WAYS OF PARTICIPATION:1. Work with an organization dealing with the issue.2. Teach others about the problem.3. Create works of art; write letters to officials, etc.119da Vinci ProgramPassage CategoryCREATIVE ENDEAVOURPASSAGE GUIDELINESBACKGROUND:While creativity can be thought of as a process of generating ideas, problem solving, planningand doing by a person who is creating a product, it is not limited to the arts. Creativeaspects include the following:1. Challenge assumptions.2. See in new ways.3. Recognize patterns.4. Make corrections and construct networks.5. Take risks.6. Take advantage of the situation.CRITERIA:The student will do the following things:1. Extend skills and interests in an area in which he she has experience.2. Avoid copying and imitation and aim for originality and uniqueness.3. Deal with an element of risk and strive to complete the Passage in spite of difficulties, such asscarcity ofmaterials, lack of time, overestimating skills and abilities and losing interest.4. Become actively involved in the creative process and present a completed project or productin finished form as an outcome along with the process documentation and summary forfinal wrap-up with the Committee.5. Be responsible for finding and purchasing materials as well as making arrangements for use ofschool equipment or space if needed.6. Allow for spontaneity and change while involved in the creative process. Remember thatmajor changes in direction will require approval of the Passage Committee.7. Keep a record of the creative process in the form of a journal, photos, slides, film, video tape,drawings, notes, audio tapes or other forms of documentation so as to monitor and be intouch with the mental process involved in creating, planning, brainstorming, deciding andchanging directions.8. Include a cost estimate; list ofmaterials and equipment with sources; estimate of time needed;location where the work will take place; expected date of completion.120da Vinci ProgramPassage CategoryCAREER EXPLORATIONPASSAGE GUIDELINESSUGGESTED PREREQUISITES:• Interviewing skills• Research skills• Community interactionBACKGROUND:With the rapidly changing workplace and the reality that most people will experiencemore than one career in their lifetime, this passage should be both broad and deep. The specificinterest should be explored in depth while accompanying lesser interests may be examined lessintensively or several occupations could be explored and compared.CRITERIA:1. Indicate the career area that will be explored.2. Include why you are choosing this career by indicating what attracts you to it. You maydiscuss the salary; benefits; highest possible earnings available; the organization; unioninformation; future trends; best and worst locations; related careers; education needed andthe associated costs, etc..; tools needed.3. Describe how you plan to proceed with the exploration including the research necessary, thequestions you will need to ask, who you will contact, and an estimated date of completion.Include the resources you will need such as newspapers, people, journals, consultants,books, etc.121da Vinci ProgramPassage CategoryPHYSICAL CHALLENGEPASSAGE GUIDELINESBACKGROUND:The focus of this Passage is the QUEST, a personal, meaningful challenge, a search orinvestigation with the outcome uncertain due to the risks involved in reaching the goal.The myth of the hero’s journey can apply to this Passage. In the first stage, the heroreceives a call to adventure in which the quest becomes clear and he/she prepares to meetthe challenges (known and unknown) of reaching the quest. In the actual adventure, thehero leaves the familiar environment and is tested. Passing the test requires thedemonstration of high levels of performance and skill in problem solving. Upon achievingsuccess, the hero is transformed and returns to take on a new role in the world.If the Passage includes a trip, the usual “reasonable and prudent” procedures for schooltrips apply. These include informing the parents and the school administration of thepotential risks and how they will be dealt with. Your advisor will help you develop safetyprocedures as part of the proposal process.CRITERIA:1. Identifr your quest. Be as specific as possible. State the proposal in terms of a personal goalthat involves challenge and risk.2. How will you reach this quest? What will you do? Where will you go (and how will you getthere)? Why is this an appropriate way for you to do so?3. Describe your readiness by writing about related experiences and how they have prepared youfor the challenges and risks you will face in this Passage. Due to the school responsibility,each learner attempting this Passage must be thoroughly prepared for the adventure. Ifnecessary skills and knowledge cannot be documented, you must include a plan forreaching acceptable levels as part of the preparation for the actual Passage. Include thefollowing areas:Courage: Attempting to reach a goal in spite of certain fears. Identify the fears you haveabout this Passage and describe ways that you can confront and overcome them.Endurance: The ability to withstand difficulty, with finesse. In this Passage, you must gobeyond merely “surviving” to demonstrate strength and perseverance.Intelligent decision-making: Responsibility in action. How have you shown that you areable to consider important factors such as safety, support systems, itinerary, a check-insystem and contingency plans to deal with the unexpected?Sere1iance in an unfamiliar environment: You must be able to justify why a particularunfamiliar environment has been chosen and show previous experience and/or knowledge122(Physical Challenge- continued)that will help you in the new situation.4. Describe the personal strengths and weaknesses in the following areas. How do these relate tothis Passage?• S4fconcept: How do you tolerate ambiguity? How well can you follow through andpersevere? How do you describe your strengths and weaknesses?• Motivation: How great is your ability to commit yourself to a goal? How well can youfollow through or persevere? How is your self-discipline?• Relationships: How do you take responsibility for yourself? Others? The environment?Can you express yourself? Can you adapt to different roles? Can you be a leader or afollower? Can you ask for and receive help? Can you give help?• Learning: Can you experiment? Can you take risks? Can you accept other views asvalid?5. Describe your plans and include the following listed below (if appropriate). Include neededpreparation and resources (±ysical, emotional, mental).• Itinerary: Be specific. Where are you going? Where will you stay? How will youtravel? Who will be with you? When and how will you communicate with yourparents and the school? List names, addresses and phone numbers of key contactpeople en route.• Equipment: What equipment and special gear will you need? How will you provide it?• People: Do you have people available for expertise and/or companionship? In mostcases it is recommended that this Passage be attempted with at least two persons toassure safety.• Money: Make a detailed budget, including phone calls, emergency preparation,transportation, lodging, food, documents (such as passport, birth certificate, or visa).How will you earn or otherwise secure the necessary funds?• Other resources: What books, maps, guidebooks, films, or training will you need beforeand during this Passage?• Steps to completion: What are the necessary steps for this Passage to take place? Howwill you know if you have reached your quest?6. A journal is required in which will be a description of the Passage process with specialattention to challenge and risks, problems and decisions that led to growth and selfawareness.You may also choose to include other documentation such as copies of letters sent and received,diagrams, maps, drawings, photographs, or summaries of books and readings.123da Vinci ProgramPassage CategoryPHILOSOPHICAL INQUIRYPASSAGE GUIDELINESBACKGROUND:This Passage is a mental challenge where a specific process is followed in order todiscover an answer to a question or problem. It demands the use of reasoning ability, problemsolving skills, research, investigation, experimentation, data collection, analysis, and concludinga working knowledge of this process and scientific method to successfully complete this Passage.It should benefit you in some manner, be it a quest for expanding personal knowledge about aspecific topic, or solving a problem for yourself, your family, the school, or the community. Themore personal and meaningful your Passage becomes, the more influence it may have in assistingyou to identify, practice, acquire, and establish adult behaviours.CRITERIA:1. Decide upon your idea and discuss with your advisor.2. Choose a challenging question or problem; make a statement that proposes an answer that yoususpect might be true (this is your hypothesis).3. Construct a plan to test your hypothesis; consider as many alternatives as possible, such asresearch, experiments, investigation, interviews, etc.4. Organize your data and/or information so you can interpret it; analyze your data objectively.5. Conclude what you can from your data and apply it to your hypothesis; be sure that yourconclusions are reliable and accurate.6. Maintain a journal documenting the procedures, process, data collected, peripheral learningand analyses.124Profile of a da Vinci LearnerTo embark on this Program, you should have a strong desire to work toward strengthening thesecharacteristics. They are attributes of a lifelong learner and may best be approached bypersonally asking the question, “In my heart, do I want to strive to achieve these qualities?”Self DirectionI choose and organize all or part of my learning activitiesI decide what and how to learnI organize my time to accomplish tasksI seek waysHigh Personal StandardsI aim to achieve my personal bestI do not need to measure my achievement against other peopleI choose to improveI don’t choose to do anything that will harm myself or othersSelf DeterminationI don’t see mistakes as failuresI creatively seek ways to overcome or learn from obstacles in order to achieve resultsI want to learnI form my own opinionsI value my peers but will not be pressured by themI know my strengths and feel confident about my abilitiesI keep open to new ways of thinking and doingI acknowledge my weaknesses and seek ways to address themI express myself clearlyI make defensible decisionsI evaluate my own learningPersonal ResponsibilitiesI am aware of the importance of timelinessI fulfill my obligationsI anticipate consequences and accept responsibility for personal actions and decisionsI contribute to society by acting cooperatively and independentlyI act with awareness of the needs of the global communityI am free of attitudes of discriminationI respond to change in a socially responsible mannerI participate responsibly in a democratic society125da Vinci Learner QuestionsIf you had a choice, what kinds of learning activities would you enjoy?Under what circumstances or conditions do you feel you learn best?How do you organize your time to accomplish tasks?Suggest some ways of learning that you would like to try.How do you know when you have done something to your personal best?When do you find yourself comparing your achievements to those of others?Suggest some things about your life you would like to improve.Think of a time when your actions disturbed or harmed someone else or yourself. How did youdeal with the situation?How do you feel when you make a mistake?How do you react when something appears to be preventing you from doing something you wantto do?What does learning mean to you?To what extent do your friends help you to form your opinions and to make your decisions?Suggest some of your strengths and weaknesses.Give some examples of times when you changed your thinking or behavior.Think of a time when you had to defend a decision you made. How did you communicate yourposition?Is being on time important to you? Why? Why not?When you say you are going to do something, and you don’t do it, what kinds of feelings doesthat create for you?What do you believe you have or can do that could contribute to your community?How does witnessing discrimination make you feel?What are some examples of discrimination? What is your response?126da Vinci Assessment: PreambleAssessment in self-directed learning, particularly in the da Vinci Program, poseschallenging questions within each of the 3 stages of the Passage process.Proposal Stage:For students unaccustomed to drafting a proposal, seeking critical input, time-management, decision-making or persevering, the prospect of self-evaluation can be as foreign aventure. Questions of how best to aid the learner through each of these areas; how to work withthe learner as an advisor, coach, mentor, advocate; how to appropriately assess progress are notanswered simply and demand an individualized approach to each learner as well as a broaderview of self which is demandingly challenging in itself. Much discussion and cooperativelearning must transpire amongst the advisors and the learners. Hence, and for each of the stages,it is an on going aspect of both the Program and learning.Passage Stage:Since journal-keeping is a vital aspect of the Program (indeed, of learning), the questionsof respecting learner privacy and how to aid the learner best maintain the journal and assess theprocess demand a careful balance of encouragement, trust, respect and appropriate response. Aswith the first stage, dialogue and willingness to learn must be maintained and fostered.Wrap-up Stage:Once the Passage has been completed or altered due to circumstances, the questions ofwhat was actually achieved; how effective was the approach; what problems were encounteredand how were they dealt with; what is the most appropriate way to articulate the end result can bebetter answered if during the first stages the learner has identified a baseline of understanding forthe Passage as well as established a minimum, excellent and superior level of learning goals. Inthis way, the advisor in conjunction with the learner can better arrive at an equitable and realisticassessment typically, though not exclusively, expressed as a personal statement of the learningexperience and culminating in a celebration.127da Vinci EvaluationInitial Term Form (First Reporting Period)NAMESTERMDATESGive a brief description of your passage: Briefly describe what you have done so far:Self-Direction:NEVER OCC’LY USUALLY ALWAY1. I have used my da Vinci block as productively aspossible.2. I have actively scheduled my time to accomplishthe necessary tasks (proposal writing, research,Passage planning, studies, chores).High Personal Standards:3. My efforts to write and edit proposals in myjournal has been to the best ofmy ability.4. I have given my best effort in researching andperforming my Passage.5. 1 maintain a desire to improve in all that I do.Self-Determination:6. I demonstrate determination to accomplish mytasks on time.7. I actively sought feedback on my proposals frommy peers.8. I have used my journal to reflect on my Passageand assess my learning and progress.Personal Responsibility:9. I have both set and met my deadlines.10.1 have taken responsibility in my Passage bydiscussing it with all persons affected by it(parents, peers, advisors).TOTALS:128da Vinci Self-AssessmentIn-depth Form (Second Reporting Period)This document is intended to give you an opportunity to reflect on and communicate yourassessment of your learning process, arid for advisors, mentors and parents to respond to yourself-assessment.Indicate your satisfaction with your progress by placing a check mark in the appropriate colunm.1 = very dissatisfied 2 = dissatisfied3 = satisfied 4 = very satisfied 1 2 3 4Self-Direction1. I design plans that lead to the achievement ofmy learning goals.’ I Li Li I IEvidence2. I efficiently organize my time to accomplish tasks U I I I I I IEvidenceS3. I set clear, realistic goals I I I I I I I IEvidence•4. Iseekways I I I I I II IEvidenceS5. I independently arrange for needed resources Li Li LJ I IEvidence129da Vinci Self-Assessment1 = very dissatisfied 2 = dissatisfied3 = satisfied 4 very satisfied 1 2 3 4Self-Determination1. I am not defeated by failures I I I I I I I IEvidence2. I creatively solve problems that arise in my passage Li I I I LiEvidenceS3. I have demonstrated a desire to learn I I I I I I I IEvidence:4. I am more aware ofmy personal strengths I I I I I I LiEvidence5. I have sought ways to address my weaknesses Li LJ I I I IEvidence130da Vinci Self-Assessment1 = very dissatisfied 2 dissatisfied3 satisfied 4 = very satisfied 1 2 3 4High Personal Standards1. I aim to achieve my personal best Li Li I I I IEvidence2. I do not measure my achievement against other people I I I I I I LJEvidence:3. I have improved I I I I I I I IEvidence4. I set personally challenging goals LJ I I I I I IEvidence5. I am developing ways of learning that reflect my needs Li Li I I I IEvidence131da Vinci Self-Assessment1 = very dissatisfied 2 = dissatisfied3 = satisfied 4 = very satisfied 1 2 3 4Personal Responsibilities_____ _____ _____ ____1. I meet my deadlines Li I I Li I IEvidence2. I fulfill any obligations I have with my advisors, triad I I U I I I Imembers, and any other people involved in my passage.Evidence3. I have demonstrated personal commitment to my passage. I I I I I I I IEvidence4. I accept consequences and take responsibility for my I I Li I I I Iactions and decisions in my passage.EvidenceS5. I have positive interactions with my triad members, advisor, I I LJ Li I Iand others involved in my passage.Evidence132da Vinci Interim Report April/93Fear is what prevents the flowering of the mind.J. Krishnamurti, On EducationDescribe what you have done so far:What are some of the obstacles that you encountered and how did you overcome them?When is your next deadline?If there are changes, what are they and why?Explain what you have learned so far (use the back of this sheet if you need to):133Advisor’s Record(For anecdotal reporting during advising time)da VINCIAdvisor’s RecordName: Passage Date CompletedComments (Indicate date, Draft #, suggestions, problems and resolutions, etc.)134Appendix 5Passage ExamplesPilot GroupThe following documents are transcribed copies of students’ proposals. I have includedmy comments in brackets after underlined portions in an attempt to demonstrate part of theadvising process that took place in the Program. The actual comments were written on theoriginals. Typographical errors are not included.30-04-92Draft 1[-opening, background, obstacles?]TRY--I will write, illustrate, and publish my own children’s’ book. Because of my interest in writingand drawing. I need to develop & search for info [research skills] dealing with [including]people.--The program at my old school (English and writing) taught me a whole lot. My grandmotherwas a well known author & I learned a lot from her. My father also writes and is an artist. [Howdoes this tie in with the above proposal?]I fi that I know enough about book formats to be able to write a book. Publishing Iknow nothing about and I will have to ask people about that. [Rewrite this sentence. Who willyou ask?]--My greatest obstacle will be [1] getting it published. I am not really social and am not thatgreat at [2] talking to people that I don’t know (over the phone, etc.) It will be a great challenge.[3. Completing the task.]135Draft2K.S.April 11, 1992checked May 2 1/92.DA VINCI PROPOSAL [What Passage? Advisor?]Because ofmy love ofwriting and drawing, and my interest in the publishing process, Iwill write, illustrate and publish my own children’s book.In order to accomplish my goal, I need to further develop my research skills as well asbecome more confident and fluent when speaking with unknown persons. [Indicate how.] Ibelieve I know enough about book formats to successfully complete a story. I will undoubtedlylearn more while writing. The school that I attended in California (Y F) had a very advancedEnglish program as it was the main focus of the school. I obtained several awards in writing andthe district published one of my stories. I have always maintained reasonably high Englishgrades due to my interest in the subject. [Rework?]I know very little about publishing, but when the time comes, I will seek informationthrough the Writer’s Festival, the publisher of Chugalong’s yearbook and any other people/placesthat I come up with.My greatest obstacles will be: getting my book published, talking to people unknown tome, and completing the tasks that I set out to do. It will be a big challenge for me, but I knowthatlcan do it!136Passage ExamplesYear OneM.H.Career ExplorationStudying the Court of LawMr. DesprésOct. 19, 1992.Draft #2During the course ofmany months [specify time line. Rewrite] I plan to find out moreabout the court of law. I want to find out [as well as] what each type of lawyer does and whatsteps they had to go through to get there. I have been referred to four different types of lawyers.I will make the contacts needed then spend a day with each of them to learn about theirindividual occupation. Then I will decide which type of law interests me the most. Post-secondary schooling is definite. After getting the necessary knowledge of each type of lawyer, Iwill then go on to become a judge for Queen’s Counsel.I will spend a day with four different types of lawyers from Vancouver and Sechelt.[Rewrite] This day will include going to court with them or interviewing them. I will beobserving both male and female lawyers. I will also be talking with at least one judge. [rearrange this paragraph]I have not had any experience with speaking with lawyers other than talking with my auntand her husband. Another uncle used to be a judge but he retired and passed away. [How doesthis tie in with the?] After research is completed. I will write a portfolio comparing the differentlawyers and present an example of a past case and how it was done and how I myselfwould doit. [rework this]I cannot find any risks involved. [travel? meals? types of questions?] I am willing tochallenge myself with this project by doing a lot more homework and study when I have sparetime. I will have to compromise my personal life with my academic time.137Computer Program [Type of Passage?]D.F.October 19Mr. Després [B lane][Draft #?]In my passage for da Vinci, I plan on [to] designing a computer program usingHyperCard that will be used to help out grade students that are having difficulty in math. Ichose math because it will be easier to do since I am a pretty good student in math. [Also, whatabout the needs of the student?] My passage will be broken down into two parts. Part one willbe to learn and understand HyperCard. Part two will be to use my new knowledge of HyperCardto design a computer program. In designing this program, I hope to help out [teachers in] W.S.Elementary School who would like to see my program as it progresses. There will be fewdifficulties that I foresee other than lack of knowledge and time. But those can be easilyovercome. [How? What are some of the strategies you can use?] To aid me in my project, M. L.has offered to assist me whenever I need it. So far, he has given me a book explaining how toprogram on HyperCard. I will work after school, during lunch and during my spare block tocomplete this my goal and hope to have it done by late Februarv/93. I will know it is fmishedwhen I think and the teachers at W.S believe that I cannot do anything more on it. [Somewhatnegative. How about considering the utility of it? Student like/dislike? What about celebration?What are some of the checks along the way you could do? Consider an actual schedule plannerwith weeks mapped out and specific products. Indicate also a timeline for me so as to keepabreast of your progress. This would also help you, too.]Community/Global AwarenessD.F.October 19Blane DesprésDraft #5In my passage for da Vinci, I plan to design a computer program using HyperCard thatwill be used to help out grade four students that are having difficulty in math. I chose math138because it will be easier to do since I am a pretty good student in math. My passage will bebroken down into two parts. Part one will be to learn and understand HyperCard. Part two willbe to use my new knowledge of HyperCard to design a computer program. In designing thisprogram, I hope to help out teachers in W.S. Elementary School who would like to see myprogram as it progresses. There will be few difficulties that I foresee other than lack ofknowledge and time. But those can be easily overcome by working during my spare time andafter work. To aid me in my project, M. L. has offered to assist me whenever I need it. So far,he has given me a book explaining how to program on HyperCard. I will work after school,during lunch and during my spare block to complete my goal and hope to have it done by lateFebruary 1993. I will know it is finished when I think and the teachers at W.S believe that thestudents will enjoy using my program. I am also going to get a group of students to try out mypilot and get their opinion on it so that I will have the option of both teachers and students.TimelinePhase oneNov. 16 to 19 work on project after school to complete pilot.Nov. 22 to 27 work during lunch to complete pilot.Dec. 1 to 4 complete pilot and show it to W.S.E.Phase twoDec. 7 to 12 after getting info from W.S.E. on pilot work to improve project.Dec. 15 to 18 work during lunch to improve pilot.139Community/Global AwarenessDa Vinci ProposalM.L.November 11th 1992Advisor: Blane DesprésRacial Discrimination“A prejudice is a vagrant opinion without visible means of support”Ambrose BierceMy personal passage will encompass learning about racial prejudice and intolerance.This poses a great challenge to me for I am interested in all aspects of interracialcommunications.It is my plan to attend an anti-racial discrimination course being offered by BritishColumbia Multicultural/Anti-Racist Leadership Programme. My strengths lay in my ability tounderstand and empathize with different cultures and people of those cultures. My friends haveincluded people of other cultures. I wish to obtain the necessary skills and knowledge to helpothers understand and have tolerance for all peoples. I want to develop leadership skills; toclarify and use language on issues related to race and culture; to experience and hopefully tovalue another culture; to foster a greater interest in other cultures and races; to identify somecauses of prejudices; to identify barriers between people and to increase understanding of oursimilarities and differences. I want to become a more effective leader in my school andcommunity. I want to become more aware of prejudices in my school and become more effectivein dealing with these conditions. At the end of this passage I want to raise a willingness andmotivation in others and to address these issues involving prejudice and discrimination in ourcommunity. In correlation with the concerns and ideas of other people in our group I plan to helpwith placing a representative on student council. I want to help by increasing the number ofpeople who are aware of such discriminatory actions by inviting them to sit in on one of ourmeetings. A small group of us will express our concerns to the staff at Chugalong Secondary.This presentation will tell of our feelings and how we believe that together we can bring aboutchange. During the course I will keep a record of our progress in reaching our goals. This recordwill encompass the dates and times of our formal meetings and the events that we will hold. This140will be an ongoing record that I will present with my Da Vinci proposal at the end of the year1993.141Appendix 6GRADUATION DEVELOPMENT SITE1991/92 FINAL REPORTThe following document represents a report to the Ministry of Education, Site DevelopmentBranch at the end of the first year of the da Vinci Program. It is included here as a formalsummative report that was submitted by the da Vinci team.SiteName of Site: da Vinci Program, Chugalong SecondarySchool District:1. Describe how your work explored issues within the Intermediate/Grad Program.The da Vinci Program emphasizes self-directed learning. The learning activities tend tobe ‘passages” (learning experiences) within or in a combination ofPractical Skills,Community/GlobalAwareness, Artistic Endeavour, Career Exploration, Physical Challenge,andlor Philosophical Inquiry. During the passage, a student learns by doing, by study, and byreflection.The experience of taking such a learning process, designing a proposal for implementing,and then implementing the plan within a regular secondary school setting was challenging,exciting, and rewarding for the teachers and students. For every success, there was a roadblock.The teaching team needed to be the epitome of the kind of self-directed learners they werefostering. We sought ways; the seeking every bit as important as finding the ways. This, initself, is the challenge of the Intermediate and Graduation Programs.The Issues•The active participation ofthe learners in assuming responsibilityfor the direction oftheirlearning.Self directed learning is very different from teacher-directed learning. In implementingthe da Vinci Program, the team had to take a very different approach to teaching: we had to stopdoing things for the students, yet we also had to assure that the students learned how to do thosethings for themselves. A personal relationship developed between each teacher (advisor). The142advisors taught the students the components and skills of successful independent learning, andthen guided them through their struggle to follow the process. Setting clear goals, acting onthem, and revising them as necessary became the key to the students’ success.As students went through the da Vinci process (designing a proposal, completing apassage, self-evaluation/presentation/celebration, and wrapping up), the value of a balancebetween independence and collaboration became apparent. The eloquence and finesse that thestudents demonstrated in negotiation, self-assessment, and presentation was astounding. Yet,they still needed the support, insight, and professional/experiential background of their advisorsand mentors. The learning process became a true partnership, and, as a result, the students weredeeply engaged in their learning.The focus on the needs and interests ofthe learners.The concept of the da Vinci Program appealed to learners with a wide range of abilitiesand interests. The self-directed approach meant that each student could, with assistance, devise apassage that would focus on needs, learning styles, and interests. For example, students whowere not highly skilled in learning processes such as reading and writing were freed to learnthrough manipulation and experience. In designing their passages, their self-evaluation, and inthe sharing of their experiences, these students saw the value of developing stronger reading,writing, and speaking skills. In many cases, they actually showed an improvement in these skillsas an offshoot of their passage process. On the other hand, gifted students were free to challengethemselves in learning domains that they might otherwise avoid. As well, they were able toexplore an idea much further than classroom and curriculum structures would normally allow.The personal benefit of the self-directed approach could be seen most easily in the excitementand pride the students took in their learning as well as the relationships they developed withadvisors, mentors, and fellow da Vinci students.•AdvisementAdvising was and still is the most challenging aspect of the Program for the da Vinciteam. Changing the role from learning experience controller, central and sometimes soleevaluator, and disciplinarian to advisor meant changing the way students regarded us. It also143meant that colleagues needed to understand our goals in becoming regarded as advisors, and howthe da Vinci activities, as well as the philosophy, would fit into the regular school program. Thechange from teacher to teacher-advisor was a slow one, requiring us to get to know individualstudents well and relating to them beyond their courses. Once again, modeling the profile of aself-directed learner was of key importance. When the students understood that we were on ourown “walkabout” in terms of learning how to be an advisor, the shift in how they regarded ustook place. Many colleagues became interested in the advisor concept, but some remainskeptical to this day.The value of advisement is extraordinary. It plays a central role in helping to focus thestudents on their educational, career and personal goals. At the same time, it provides a forumfor students to explore how best to meet those goals. Through dialogue and sharing of ideas, thestudents increased their self-awareness and became much more confident about planning andachieving goals. They were much more willing to be candid about failures and disappointmentsin an atmosphere of trust and encouragement, and came to regard the process as not one offailing, but of re-evaluating goals, and of learning from experiences.Further to the benefit advisement provides for students, it creates a strong connection toparents and to the community. The da Vinci advisors worked with parents as students embarkedon their passage processes, and many parents became more strongly linked to the school as aresult. As well, in searching out mentors who would assist the students with their experiences,the advisors became much more aware of the resource people in the community. This, too,occasionally led to community members becoming more closely connected to the school.The issue of time is foremost in the success of advising. Advisors and students must havetime to meet on a regular basis. Without constant contact, the support system breaks down.Finding time in a regular school timetable was difficult.•Assessment Evaluation, and ReportingThe da Vinci passage “proposal,” or personal learning plan, is central to the Program. Asa negotiated learning contract, it provides a framework for the students’ goals, their action plans,their instruments for measuring success, and their means of self-reflection. In many instances,144designing the passage proposal was every bit as challenging for the student as the learningactivity itself. The proposal process was rigorous, with an emphasis on personal excellence, evenin the presentation of the proposal document. The students rose to the challenge, and sawlearning how to make a proposal as valuable as the passage experience itself.As well as a passage proposal, da Vinci students use a self-reflection device used byLeonardo da Vinci himself: the notebook or journal. For many, exploring how to create and usea journal was again as valuable as the passage experience. Students were encouraged to usemany different ways of recording information and observations in their journals. Some sketchedand wrote poetry. Others used their journals as a formal tool for recording information and madethe journal part of the presentation of their completed project. All of the students found thejournals valuable in self-assessment, and in writing their “wrap-ups” (formal reports whichbecome a transcript of their learning experience).The sharing of their learning experiences (demonstration of learning outcomes) withothers through celebrations and wrap-ups opened up a whole new realm of ways to assess,evaluate and report for the students. Presentations, performances, demonstrations, portfolios,slide and video documentation became as valid as essays and tests. In fact, the students and theadvisors saw an added value, in that these methods described the learning process as well as theacquired knowledge or skills, and allowed for conclusions about personal growth.The da Vinci team sees the whole issue of assessment, evaluation and reporting as the onearea where there is much work yet to do. The site development project allowed an exploration,which revealed that the potential for alternative evaluation methods is vast. As well, thearticulation with post-secondary institutions needs further exploration. The team will focus onthis aspect of the da Vinci Program as it continues to grow and develop.What the Issues Revealed•The da Vinci Program experience illustrated and provided affirmation to the students andteachers involved that the vision of the Intermediate and Graduation programs can be broughtinto reality.•The present structures of secondary schools need to be flexible in order to accommodate an145exploration and implementation of interpretations of the Intermediate and Graduation programs.•That students and teachers involved in self-directed learning programs need to concentrate justas much on the process of learning as on the learning outcomes. In order to do this effectively,the role of the teacher changes, and the skills related to self-directed learning must be identifiedby the teacher and internalized by the student. Further study and exploration of advisement; self-directed learning skills and methods; learning styles; needs assessment; goal and action planning;and assessment, evaluation, and reporting will be necessary.2. Describe how your work initiated change at the classroom and school level.It is a question Marshall McLuhan would appreciate: did contemplating the da VinciProgram initiate change, or did contemplating change initiate the da Vinci Program? Perhaps itis better to think of the Program’s implementation as adding to an atmosphere of change atChugalong. The spirit of innovation is catching, and many teachers and students are exploringthe concepts of the Immediate and Graduation programs in their own way. The possibleinfluence of the da Vinci Program is still moving through the school; the distinction betweenclassroom and school change being difficult to maintain. The change in the way some studentsapproach their learning, the way some teachers are designing learning experiences, and the waysome teachers are working together best highlight the Program’s influence.From da Vinci to the classroom and beyond•The Program sparked an interest in enrichment activities and in sefdirected learningWhile the da Vinci Program includes self-direction within the school curriculum, studentswho wished to explore concepts more fully saw the da Vinci Program as a vehicle to do so. Theycould work with their classroom teachers or people in the community as mentors, or evenindependently. Further, enrichment opportunities were there for all students, not just those whowere achieving high grades or who would be considered gifted. Other students, not eveninvolved in the da Vinci Program, became intrigued with either the idea of enrichment itself orwith a particular activity that a da Vinci student was doing. Many students, not initially in theProgram, “tagged along” or took part in an activity, out of pure interest or in order to support afriend. The existence of the Program made it “O.K.” to become involved in extra or self-directed146learning.The success and enthusiasm of the students who took part in the original da Vinci sitedevelopment project in the Spring of 1992 could not be ignored. The administration andcounselors at Chugalong, along with members of staff and school district officials supported theda Vinci teaching team in creating a locally developed course. While molding the Program into acourse meant that some of the ideals had to be compromised, the response of the studentsconfirmed that it was worth the risk. Twenty-five per cent of the school population, from gradenine to twelve selected the da Vinci course as an elective for the 1992/93 year. After an interviewprocess and time to become familiar with the rigors of the Program, not all of those students feltready for self-directed learning, and have withdrawn from the Program, but there remains ten percent of the students at Chugalong who are enjoying the opportunities the Program presents. As aresult, the history of the Program became that of Phase One: the pilot project, and Phase Two: theimplementation of the Program as a course option for students.•The proposalprocess created a powerful learning andplanning toolThe process of envisioning, goal setting, and identifying measurements of success, whichis part of a da Vinci “proposal,” has had a powerful impact on classroom activities and on thewhole school. It is a pattern language, or a way of doing things, that makes sense and serves wellto effectively communicate goals to others. As a result, the idea has caught on, with individualsand groups now using the proposal process. The proposal process has been used outside of theda Vinci Program:-by students wishing to negotiate an alternative approach to a classroom assignment,-by students wishing to negotiate extended leaves from school for family holidays oreducational experiences,-by students wishing to negotiate acceleration or slow-downs in coursework in order tobetter facilitate learning conditions,-by student/teacher partnerships seeking support for a personalized learning programfrom the School Based Team,-by groups wishing to organize within the school(such as the graduation class),147-by groups wishing to propose special activities (such as the student council).•The concept oflifelong learning is becoming reflected in practice and internalized by the schoolcultureOne of the principles of the da Vinci Program is that of passages: self- or co-designedlearning experiences achieved over time. Allowing time to be a variable in learning, rather than aconstant, brings into focus the value ofmastery during a lifelong process. Shifting to that way ofthinking has resulted in many classroom teachers at Chugalong using the concept of Incompletein reporting to parents. Rather than failing a course, students are given the opportunity toidentify, with their teacher, which required learning experiences are not finished, or not done to asatisfactory level of achievement. Students are then supported by teachers, counselors andadministrators as they work to complete the required learning through a MAP (mutually agreedupon program).The da Vinci advisors and mentors are seen by the da Vinci students as learners, too,sharing a passion for a subject, or learning itself, with younger people. This, like the mythologyof a culture, becomes internalized by those involved in the Program. As the teachers who arepart of the da Vinci team deal with their regular classes, the self-directed, lifelong learnerapproach influences lesson designs there, too. As da Vinci students and those who are not in theProgram become comfortable with the approach, they are beginning to request other teachers toconsider designing lessons in that manner. As a result, the da Vinci Program’s emphasis onauthentic experiences, in real environments when possible, has inspired many other Chugalongteachers to design learning experiences in the same manner.•Incorporating the Program contributed to a needfor a complete change to the school timetableThe Chugalong staff had been contemplating a change to the traditional five by eight,rotating timetable for quite some time. However, the need to preserve course offerings during atime of staffing cutbacks, combined with a need for flexibility in order to accommodate the daVinci Program, brought about an amazing shift in the way we saw the structure of our schoolweek. The result was a new timetable, designed specifically to meet the needs of our school.The new timetable, implemented in September, 1992, provides flexible time for students and148teachers to use in a variety of ways, while preserving the integrity of regular courses. Thechange in the timetable has provided the opportunity for students and teachers to explore theeffective use of time in new ways.•There has been a movementfrom the tendency to work in isolation to the tendency to workcooperativelyda Vinci students, while pursuing their self-directed projects, discovered the value oflearning with someone in an advising and/or mentoring role. They had someone to share in thejoys and frustrations of their learning process. The assessment and evaluation of theirachievements were in their control, and so the students became much more open, both toidentifying their own strengths and weaknesses, and to constructive critique. This opennessabout the learning process was taken even further when students began to develop relationshipswith each other. They formed supportive groups in their triads, often becoming as interested in afriend’s accomplishments as they were in their own. Once again, this attitude carried forwardinto the regular classes, where students are now more enthusiastic about cooperative learningactivities. They will even propose the approach if a teacher has not originally presented it as anoption for tackling an assignment.The da Vinci teaching team also discovered the value of planning and workingcooperatively, building the Program on the strengths of a team, rather than on the skills ofparticular individuals. This, too, has carried on into the regular classes, with da Vinci teammembers joining with other staffmembers, and with associations of colleagues developing basedon subject interests or teaching styles. In fact, another formal teaching team has formed atChugalong in order to better deliver the grade eight core subjects, and there are a number ofteaching partnerships evolving.•The space and the facilities at Chugalong are used in a different mannerAs with most secondary schools, Chugalong was not built or equipped to facilitate selfdirected learning. The operation of the da Vinci Program, and the opportunities that the newtimetable permits, means that there needs to be space for large groups of students to meet, and formany individuals to function in a supervised yet less structured manner. The school, especially149at certain times of the day, has had to move from being a series of one-room schoolhouses underone roof to a flexible space that could provide everything from privacy for individuals to a spacewhere almost all of the students could interact. The computer labs, the library, the foyer, and thehallways have undergone the greatest change in use, but even classrooms are affected.The computer labs are used extensively at all times of the day. Any available computersare used, even while there are classes going on. It is not unusual to see students using the labslong before school starts in the morning and well into the evening. The types of computerservices needed has changed as well. Students and teachers are needing computers, modems,equipment and programs that will allow them to do everything from animated computer moviesto distance communication with businesses and other learning institutions.The library has had to absorb hundreds of students working independently on da Vinciprojects, on homework assignments, or on independent studies and correspondence courses. Attimes there is almost no room for classes to use the facility. The kinds of learning resources thatself-directed students need are scarce, and this has placed a new kind of challenge on theshoulders of the teacher librarian.The foyer and hallways have become places where students congregate to talk and to dotheir work during flexible time and breaks. At present, they are literally sitting in front of theirlockers by the hundreds. There is much work to be done yet to plan how to best use the existingschool building and to plan for future furnishing, renovation and expansion.What reflecting on changes revealed:•That an atmosphere of change allows many initiatives to occur simultaneously, and thatinitiatives impact on each other and the entire school. Isolating a change that is distinct to theclassroom, or distinct to the entire school is difficult. Change causes shifts in thinking and invalues that flow back and forth from classroom to school, from student to student, fromteacher to teacher, from students to teachers, from school to parents and fmally from schoolto community.•That the da Vinci Program has contributed to the atmosphere of change at Chugalong,sometimes serving as a catalyst and sometimes serving as a foundation. The changes in the150classroom and in the school that are connected with the Program have been accepted more orless, depending on individual students,’ parents’ and teacher’s understanding of the principlesof the Program and the desire for change. The da Vinci students and teaching team aregrateful for the support they have received from the Superintendent, School Trustees, theschool administration, colleagues, students, parents, and the community.151

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