Exploring Teaching and Learning with Adolescents

An online, dialogue-based symposium for the holistic education community

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We learn from them

Adolescents remind us all to SAVE THE WHALES; each generation has a new take on the world’s problems. They remind us that we too believed the world could be a better place, and the injustice of inequality was not to be tolerated. Adolescents bridge childhood and adulthood, with one foot in each camp they have so much wisdom, compassion, love, energy, joy, and at the same time lethargy and fear. They want relationships, intimacy, privacy, acceptance, and recognition for their uniqueness.

Adolescents have far more to teach us, than adults could possibly teach them. They are our ancestors in a real generational way; they are both from whom we derived, and the future of humanity.

(Steven Arnold)

the earth community

At the secondary level young people need an opportunity to explore the science and history that reveals an understanding of humanity’s place in the Universe. Instead of history being taught as a succession of wars, it might be presented through the lens of significant contributions to the Earth community: individuals whose Great Work impacted the world. During these years learning is not limited within classroom walls but extends into the community and the natural environment. Exploring and studying nature in its habitat, living on a farm, developing eco-centric projects in urban settings and contributing to the welfare of others in the community are all aspects of right-behavior as a participant in the Gaian community of beings.

(Excerpted from Dr. Philip Snow Gang’s upcoming book, Educating for Write-action and Love)

The more we look at ourselves...

Adolescents have a lot to teach us. Humanity, in some ways, is in its adolescence. Learning about adolescents may hold the key to us learning about ourselves. The adolescent brain is in the largest time of growth second only to the toddler brain. It does not grow in size, but rather it grows by strengthening connections while pruning the areas that aren’t used.

The region of the adolescent brain that is under construction is that part that governs self-reflection. This is a key component of what we can learn from adolescents. The more we look at ourselves, the more we learn about them. The more we look at them, the more we learn about ourselves. Perhaps this is what humanity can do to more forward into its next stage of development.

(Julie Haagenson)

What is a TIES symposium?

The Symposium Experience:

  • Begins with a foundational video on secondary education.
  • Fosters inspirational dialogue with a global community of educators.
  • Leads to shared meaning on the importance of this critical stage in the development of the young adult.
  • Provides for continuing education credits for active participation.


Julie Haagenson, M.Ed.
Julie Haagenson, M.Ed.

Faculty, The Institute for Educational Studies

Julie received her AMS Secondary credential at the Houston Montessori Center. She is the originator and developer of the adolescent program at the Montessori School of the Berkshires in Massachusetts, holding the position of Director of the Adolescent Experience Program. With the thesis, Mutual Transformation in the Montessori Secondary Classroom, she graduated from TIES-Endicott College in 2009. Montessori and the TIES approach to learning follow Julie’s ongoing love for working with teens which has taken her from Costa Rica to Florida to Massachusetts.

Steven Arnold, M.Ed.
Steven Arnold, M.Ed.

Faculty, The Institute for Educational Studies

In 2002 Steven established New Zealand’s first Montessori secondary school, Athena Montessori College. His studies took him to Texas to receive his secondary credentials for 12 to 15 and 15 to 18, while completing the TIES MEd. with the theses: Loving School: Evolving from Microphase to Macrophase Wisdom. After teaching in Australia for several years, Steven came back to Auckland, New Zealand and created the “Peace Experiment.” a secondary school for ages 11 through 18. He has recently set up his own teacher training establishment called “Peace Development.”

Philip Snow Gang, PhD
Philip Snow Gang, PhD

Academic Dean, The Institute for Educational Studies

Philip Snow Gang, Ph.D., Academic Dean of The Institute for Educational Studies (TIES) M. Ed. Programs at Endicott College in Integrative Learning and Montessori Integrative Learning, is a pioneer in the field of integrative, systemic and transformative approaches to education.

For more about Dr. Gang, please visit his personal website: www.philipsnowgang.net

Philip is a Montessori historian who has been a conduit with three generations of the Montessori family and close colleagues of Maria Montessori from before WWII.

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