SD 500 SelfDesign: Principles and Praxis
(3 credits) First Year Residency Workshop*
Learners in this course explore the three intellectual traditions that have informed the development of SelfDesign: holistic education, developmental and humanistic psychology, and systems theory related to autopoiesis. They investigate humans’ capacities for directing their own unfoldment at every age from birth on, that is, our capacity for designing self. Then they are introduced to the SelfDesigning praxis and tools and begin to develop understanding and skills that will empower them to employ these tools.
SD 501 Modes of Inquiry
(3 credits) First Year Fall Term
In this course we explore four modes of inquiry through which we know:
- The evolution of human consciousness as a species and its relationship to the evolution of the consciousness of each human from birth to adulthood
- The qualities and dynamics of story as an epistemological vehicle
- The four quadrant model of knowledge developed by Ken Wilber: including the Individual Interior, the Collective Interior, the Individual Exterior, and the Collective Exterior.
- The heart as a vehicle for knowing.
SD 502 Epistemological Foundations of Learning
(3 credits) First Year Winter Term
This core course explores both epistemology (how we know what we know: understanding the origin, nature and limits of knowledge) and ontology (the nature of human existence and, as part of that, the nature of learning). Learners examine the biological roots of life, cognition, language, and emotions, and investigate how these are conserved and altered in evolutionary and cultural lineages.
SD 503 Living in a Learning Community
(3 credits) Second Year Residency Workshop*
Each learner in this course is given an opportunity to facilitate the learning of the cohort and faculty by engaging the community in topics and activities chosen by the learner. In this way each learner can share her/his learning from the first year of the program and have the opportunity to engage colleagues in the trajectory of his/her M.A. program. The faculty share their own learning edges in the same manner.
*Both Residencies are required workshops. The credit-bearing elements of both courses take place online, as do all other SDGI courses.
SD 504, SD 505, SD 506 Directed Studies
(3 credits each)
Learners self-design each Directed Study with the supervision of a faculty mentor, and then conduct the study in dialogue with the same faculty mentor. The faculty mentor assesses the learner’s enactment and completion of the study. In our Directed Studies, the learner leads the study; the mentor assists and supports the learner in her/his study.
SD 600 Master’s Thesis in Self Design
The Master’s Thesis is significant original research in SelfDesign and a substantial written thesis. It may also be a significant project in the application of SelfDesign and a substantial documentation of the project.
NOTE: All electives offered by the Institute are open to all Institute learners.
SD 510 Evolutionary Aesthetics: Education, Imagination and Social Transformation
(3 credits) (Burgess)
Learners in this course explore evolutionary aesthetics: education as a living process, creativity as a learning process, and social transformation as an evolutionary process. They inquire into and consider the importance of creativity in education, of education in social transformation, and of aesthetic beauty in life, nature, the arts and sciences, health and healing, creativity, culture, and evolution.
SD 511 The Art and Architecture of Consciousness
(3 credits) (Burgess)
Learners in this course explore the patterns and dynamics of relationship reflected in the foundational processes of life and the deep structures of consciousness. They investigate and reflect on the ways these dynamics embody the essence and beauty that simultaneously describe the most basic and most complex of living systems, from fundamental patterns embodied by the natural world to social networks, sacred structures, psyche and soma, the subtle body, and processes of consciousness.
SD 512 Ecosystems of Education
(3 credits) (Sutton)
Education, like all other aspects of life, functions as an ecosystem with each aspect impacting all others. This is true whether we attend to it or not; the only issue is whether we work consciously with it so the child’s whole experience is in service of our educational goals and we all have a sustainable and healthy experience.
In this course learners explore the Enki Education Web, the underlying structure of the Enki ecosystem, as a tool to look at educational ecosystems in general. Each week students engage in short exercises at home that give them a personal experience of the particular “web thread” or principle in focus as well as specific reading on the topic. These “web threads” or principles include environment; rhythms; unity and diversity; body, heart, and mind; developmental mirror; activity of learning; teacher health; adult models; essential energy; family and community; and wisdom and vitality. In class we debrief this “field application” and reflect on the web principle from the vantage point of direct experience. In this way, the learners each have their own personal experience of each of the principles, which they then bring together in a collaboratively designed final project.
SD 513 The Neurobiological Foundations of Learning
(3 credits) (Staff)
How does learning actually occur in humans? The growing knowledge from the neuro- and cognitive sciences provides a rich and universal framework to better understand the needs of our children and teens, including cognitive development as well as emotional and motivational systems of the brain. The goal of this course is to provide a foundation in the basic functions (anatomy, physiology and pharmacology) of the brain as they relate to human development and the neurobiology of learning. With this knowledge educators will have universal frameworks and developmental guidelines to understand the principles of learning as they apply to all children and youth. The final project will focus on learners’ personal research interests about learning and the brain.
SD 515 SelfDesign and Its Historical Antecedents
(3 credits) (Marshak)
Learners in this course explore the historical antecedents of SelfDesign and their relationship to SelfDesign. The course considers the 19th century transcendentalists (Emerson, Alcott), the early 20th century spiritual evolutionists (Aurobindo, Steiner, Inayat Khan, Krishnamurti, and later, Montessori), and the “free school” movement from A. S. Neill to Sudbury Valley. Learners examine each of these prior paradigms of human development/unfoldment and will explore their similarities and dissimilarities with SelfDesign.
SD 518 SelfDesign and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
(3 credits) (Staff)
Much of the methodology of SelfDesign has evolved from the insights of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Learners in this course gain an understanding of, and initial skills in, basic NLP insights and techniques, with a focus on the strategies of excellence and languaging skills. The course focuses on practical applications—theory, example, practice, and discussion of each technique—and on how the techniques all fit together as a comprehensive set of tools.
SD 519 A SelfDesigning Path
(3 credits) (Meyer)
Learners in this course explore key elements of SelfDesign through class sessions and a thirteen-part multimedia workshop focusing on how the elements weave together to create a unique environment supporting learning through loving interaction. Exploration of personal beliefs, values, and family and cultural norms engage learners in articulating and clarifying their current values, beliefs, and practices about learning. Personal reflection through journaling will be combined with facilitated group interaction and discussion of the basic SelfDesign elements.
SD 520 Being Real in a Virtual World
(3 credits) (Meyer)
How can we effectively communicate with people we may see only intermittently online, or may never meet, and whose response to our communications cannot be measured through our traditional auditory or visual methods? Learners in this course explore the use of languaging techniques that override the efficient or distant tone virtual connection often creates, moving instead toward communication that develops, deepens, and enriches the relational qualities of our professional work.
SD 521 The Art of Deep Listening: Creating a Meaningful Relationship as a Consultant
(3 credits) (Meyer)
A key to excellence in consulting lies in developing our ability to listen deeply to the other, putting aside our assumptions, and continually finding a space of openness and curiosity. Our skills as authentic listeners are magnified when we hone our ability to listen. Learners in this course explore techniques that take us ‘beyond words’ and assist us in bringing forth the core needs and desires of those with whom we consult in a respectful, whole-hearted manner.
SD 522 Spirituality and the Developing Child: Recognizing and Nourishing the Spiritual Capacities of Children
(3 credits) (B. Luvmour)
Children of all ages have natural spiritual capacities. Critical issues that every adult faces are: 1) how to recognize the spiritual capacity of children as they grow and 2) how to support its optimal development. Learners in this course explore these issues, including the spiritual capacities of each stage in children’s development and how these capacities can be nourished by adults, and how children perceive love, truth, and the unknown.