Monthly Archives: October 2013

TED Chimamanda Adichie

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. Inspired by Nigerian history and tragedies all but forgotten by recent generations of westerners, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels and stories are jewels in the crown of diasporan literature.

School-centered Intercultural Harmony Program


IT IS TIME to create a world where people from different cultures and backgrounds will get along with each other!

There is a way, through our schools, that we can engage in a project that has the potential to dramatically shift the social fabric of the United States and the entire world to that of a new domain – a domain of respect, cooperation, and harmony.  How?

Visualize virtually every school that exists, public and private, elementary and secondary (and some colleges), being actively involved in intercultural partnerships similar to what will be described in these next paragraphs.  These partnerships can exist with other schools and/or within individual schools.

Suppose, for example, that you and I are both secondary school teachers.  Your students are primarily white and affluent; mine are primarily students of color and are not affluent.  Geographically our schools are close to each other, but the worlds our students live in are very far apart.  Our young people have pretty strong feelings about the other group, but their opinions have been formed without their having had the opportunity to REALLY get to know ‘the others’.   So you and I form a partnership.


A Partnership has four components:

*Preparatory Exercises

*In-House Curriculum Exchanges

*In-Person Exchanges

*Joint Projects


PREPARATORY EXERCISES (PE’s) – A series of exercises designed to increase the self-esteem of our students, teach them how to express their feelings honestly and respectfully, encourage them to actively listen to others, introduce them to the importance of honoring the qualities and opinions of themselves and others (while reserving their right to disagree), and challenge them to think critically about how they form their opinions.

IN-HOUSE CURRICULUM EXCHANGES (ICE’s) – Together you and I decide on an initial assignment to give to our students.  After the completed assignments are collected we exchange them.  My students read what your students wrote, and vive versa.  Each group then responds to the responses of the other group, and these too get exchanged.  And so on.  The responses may continue to be in writing (including email) and/or we may decide to use audiotape and/or videotape – or more recent technology.  This process continues throughout the school year.

IN-PERSON EXCHANGES (IPE’s) – Together we decide when, how often, and with what agenda, we will bring our students together to meet and interact with each other.  IPE’s may occur at one of the schools or at a ‘neutral’ site.  They may include doing a reading and discussing it, or engaging in an open discussion on topics that may have arisen via the In-House Curriculum.  They might include experiential exercises, watching a movie, or going on a picnic and just having fun.  (I have orchestrated more than a hundred IPE’s over the years, ranging in duration from three hours to four days.  In every case the large majority of students from both groups reacted with comments like “Hey, they were OK” and “I thought they were all going to be ‘such and such’ but most of them were really nice” and “When can we do this again?”)

JOINT PROJECTS (JP’s) – Those individuals from both groups who choose to will have the opportunity to work together in designing and implementing some form of community improvement or social action project.  This may include introducing an intercultural relations program, or a tutoring or anti-drug program, to local elementary students.  Or it might be a joint venture with Senior citizens.  Or something involving their parents.  It might be a Solution Plan, play, a video, a mural; perhaps a book.  The adults will support them and help them, but these joint undertakings belong to the students.  The JP’s will really break down walls and create an emotional bonding because students experience a roller-coaster of feelings while working cooperatively with young people from a completely different background – negotiating and processing to solve problems, supporting each other through difficult times, and rejoicing when their creation comes to fruition.



If the partnership you and I create exists over the course of just one school year imagine the effect it will have on the thirty to fifty young people who participate.  The large majority of students will make improvements – often substantial – in at least one, and probably more than one, of the following areas:  open-mindedness, interpersonal communication skills, respect for and understanding of other individuals and cultures, critical thinking, problem-solving, self-esteem, academics, attitude, sense of hopefulness, etc.  And think about the likely spill-over effect that the students’ new awareness may have on their friends and family members.

And this is just one partnership!   What if there were millions of partnerships going on simultaneously all over the world?!  Not just between whites and people of color, or rich and poor, but Israelis and Palestinians, Pakistanis and Indians, Irish Catholics and Protestants, Americans and Iraqis, girls and boys, gay and ‘straight’, visually impaired and sighted, etc., etc., etc.


And not just one year, but every year!!   What effect would there be if these partnerships became part of the curriculum in every school in the world?!

For comments, questions, or help in implementing this contact Roger Dennis at 212-662-8781 (


























Minutes- OLA- Mindfulness into Action_2103-10-10

OLA Meeting

October 10th, 2013

4 to 6 pm


  • Anna Healy
  • Courtney Furlong
  • David Weksler
  • Elisabeth Negrete
  • Fatima Farhat Mansoob
  • Maria Cecilia Salcedo
  • Mariana Vergara
  • Pierre Faller
  • Sandra Lesibu

4 – 4:30 pm   Reflections First Person Action Inquiry

4:30 – 5 pm   Reflections Second Person Action Inquiry

5 pm               Reception: The Inaugural Edmund Gordon Lecture,

6 pm               Educating Harlem Lecture Series Milbank Chapel


First person Action Inquiry – Collaborative Inquiry

  • It is about your own behavior
  • What did you find?


  • Mirror reflection
  • Lighting a candle honoring my family

[Sandra] Reflecting:

  • Realization: What am I doing with my goals to contribute to world peace?
  • 9 major sororities and Fraternities
    • What are their initiatives and the impact?
    • Academic achievement in college, in professional career and community?

[Maria Cecilia] Recognizing the third head

  • Being aware of what you are doing?
    • Missing the third head
    • Realization: prioritizes of family.
      • Journey within finding the master within
      • Trauma from past – going back inside and reflect in order to heal

[Pierre] AGIS program building block

  • Embrace vs. frustration
  • Human experience
    • Being present about emotion
    • Not resist what is happening
    • Surrendering to your emotions – enjoy the moment
    • Duality surrendering vs. resistance
      • Culture opposing resistance
        • Ego – thinking of self
        • Surrender to situations – letting go

[Fatima] Noticing self after 1 hour

  • Realization: wasting time in my life
  • Recognizing: from bottom of my heart benefits in this esthetics of exercises
    • Work, thought
    • Changing within one hour

[Elisabeth] Realization:  Be mindful of assumptions

1. Volunteering with 3rd graders– mindful enjoy children over adults

  • Trying not to have assumptions
    • Assumption of other volunteers

2. Group project

  • Aware shouldn’t complain about small things

[Anna] Helping mother after fall at bedside

  • Mindful of always being at the right place at the right time
  • Listening and sharing Mashur guided meditation

[Mariana] Juggling Kendrick and dissertation


Second Person Action Inquiry – Collaborative Inquiry

  • Epigenetics-Lipton 95% of our behavior is ruled by subconscious. In order to overcome our subconscious behavior:
  1. Habits
  2. Hypnotisms

1. Habits by implementing the reflection exercise daily

2. Hypnotism by listening to guided meditations we apply self-hypnotism

Mashur’s Guided Meditation (self-hypnotism)

Link to guided meditation: Life Harmonized

Pilots at high schools:

Lincoln HS

  • Columbia Reflection group
  • Promise a visit to Teachers College
  • October 17th, 2013 2:30pm-3: 15 pm bi-weekly advising

Dover HS

  • Students doing reflections
  • First person Action Inquiry
  • Next meeting Monday October 14, 2013 – 10:53 am weekly

Connecting both schools for alignment

  • Share how feel about pilot


‘Master Within’

  • Jon work with Roger Dennis – develop resources for elementary, middle and high school students.


  • MIV- send Anna Healy info of Alvaro Hernandez for Pilot emergence
  • MIV-Send Fatima gentlemen’s (Dan Booth Cohen) dissertation on peace making
  • MIV-Forward Information of Transformational Learning Conference

OLA next meeting Monday October 14th, 2013 from 1500-1700 203 Russell Hall

Minutes-OLA-Mindfulness into Action_2013-10-21

OLA meeting


From 3 to 6 pm


  • Anna Healy
  • Courtney Furlong
  • David Weksler
  • Jon Mannion
  • Maria Cecilia Salcedo
  • Mariana Vergara
  • Roger Dennis
  • Sandra Lesibu
  • Yvonne Dennis

Current location IUME

3 to 4 pm


First Person Action Inquiry

Anna Healy:

  • Mother experiencing the 3rd head on her own
  • Thursday pilot at Lincoln HS, Yonkers, NY

Courtney Furlong:

NexGen Arts Festival at Zembo Shrine Auditorium in Harrisburg, PA

David Weksler:

  • Group: Ballet Tech. NY, NY education and dance at Joyce Theater

Jon Mannion:

  • Autumn in NYC amazing

Maria Cecilia:

  • TOEFL test
  • Anxious- studying and doing her best
  • Anxiety – outcome
  • Excited – go to SIPA

Mariana Vergara:

  • Being present -seeing things we did not see before
  • 13moon
    • Women’s rights – Tracking the transition of women from Feudalism to Capitalism.

Roger Dennis:

Sandra Lesibu:

  • Meeting with Professor Perkins
    • Request: write conversation to be presented to Board
    • Building a circle of influence
    • What is your intention?
      • Consult on an international level and teach on a university level

4 to 5 pm


Second Person Action Inquiry

  • Mindfulness phone music app. 432Hz
  • Logo
  • Podcasts – second level and 3rd level in archives

Conference: Presentation in December 2013

  • Describe – How I came here
  • WDU website – ask members to go through process

Why we sit in a circle vs. at table?

Book: Ingenious; Tina Seelig ‘Crash course on Creativity’

  • Study on creativity able to create more without a table in the middle
  • Table in middle bring separation
  • When standing we are more creative = especially kinesthetic learners

Creativity, Open source Stanford University

Progressive – creativity and creativity movements

  • Transition into 3rd head
  • Progressive thinkers – baby steps
  • Ex. having a class where everyone stand up


Dover HS in Dover, NJ

  • Fridays 2:30pm
  • 15 freshmen
  • Students creating club
  • Becoming more serious future entry university
  • Friday October 25th, 2013 Maria Cecilia Salcedo and Courtney Furlong

Pilot Lincoln HS in Yonkers, NY

  • Starts Thursday October 24th, 2013

Mindfulness into action club

  1. Training for NVivo
  2. Training for to be researchers IRB
  3. Research – How the kids transform
  4. Preparing the field
  5. Context presented to faculty
  • Ways for students – No theme- journal and articulate post-graduation
  • Experience going into all these schools
  1. Context of being mindful in schools [DW]
  • Sports
  • Community service
    • Collaboration with arts
    • Community clean up


Jon Mannion’s review on education – Researcher being a substitute teacher

  • Parents a now choosing high schools
  • NYC competition and family choice

Manhattan Center for Math and Science (Former Benjamin Franklin High School) – Leonard Covello [Roger Dennis]

Mission: Connecting the community with the school

Music frequency = sound is energy


  • When we sit in a circle we connect to the field
  • Divine intelligence will guide us and provide anything we need to have
  • Planning comes from future oriented attitude
  • Being committed to what we are doing it will come through
  • Focus on what we want to achieve
  • And we will go there
  • The Higher force is inside of you – It empowers you
  • Before you were afraid – you had doubts
  • Self manifest: if there are fears, then the self will manifest this in dreams
  • Personal with own fears = manifests in own dream

5 to 6 pm

Working Groups:

Working on the blog – Jon



Working on searching grants for Native Americans – Yvonne


Working in looking for a room for next meeting – Anna

Working in WDU class – Mariana


nowadays the issue is much bigger

you know, i’ve been a social justice advocate for more than fifty years

but nowadays the issue is much bigger
it’s about how to save all of our lives – and our health
all the anger vented in these left vs. right tirades is playing right into the hands of
all the world’s corrupt governments (which is most of them)
and the greed-inspired corporations

who are poisoning our water, the air we breathe, and our food supply
at such an alarming rate that our grandchildren (and maybe our children) are
not going to stand a chance!
it is time for the regular, everyday people of the world
no matter our religion, nationality, sexual or political persuasion
to come together
and be on the same team!

Roger Dennis article: Learning vs schooling

Most of us agree that education is extremely important, especially for kids of color and poor kids.  But what do we actually mean by education?  Are we talking about real and holistic learning, or are we talking about young people earning degrees?

Well, in a profound way it could be a moot point.  Because there is a road to take wherein our young people can do both at the same time, i.e. learn and grow to their fullest academic and humanistic potentials, AND get accepted into colleges – including those considered the best colleges – at an equal or probably even higher rate than those who stay on the usual education path.

We’ll tell you more about the college piece in a few minutes, but first a question: Why go off the usual schooling path and take the non-traditional one?


(1) The simple answer is because most mainstream schools do more harm than good to most of our children.

(2) Because we want our children to be safe, happy and healthy in life, not only physically healthy but also emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

(3) For our children to be safe, happy, and healthy, many realities in today’s world need to change, AND SOON!

(4) Thus, along with academics, our children should be learning communication skills (how to listen effectively, how to give their opinions assertively rather than timidly or aggressively); cooperation and collaboration skills; how to be empowered and resourceful, and creative problem-solvers; how to respect themselves and others, especially those who are ‘different’; how to think for themselves and search for truth! Etc. And…

(5) Students should not only be learning all the holistic skills just mentioned, but they should be learning about what is really going on in their communities, their nation, and throughout the world.  Both the good and bad stuff.  Of course the focus for most of our younger students should be on all the good things going on in the world, but later on our children need to learn about – and learn how to effectively deal with – the real world and its many challenges.

(6) Throughout their ‘education careers’ our children should be encouraged, and helped, to figure out who they are – what they believe in, what special gifts they have, what kind of life will make them feel happiest and most fulfilled, etc.

If our children spend a significant amount of time in educational settings or learning centers that focus on these six areas of development, pretty much every one of them will end up happier and healthier, and better prepared for life.  They will be more optimistic than are most young people in today’s world.  They will have hope.  They will be driven by their dreams instead of being scared by them or not even being able to see them!

The same CANNOT be said for students who attend most public schools – and mainstream private schools!  Most of these students – even those who excel in their schools – will leave those places less healthy than they were before they went there.  Most will have accepted the erroneous belief that one’s worth should be determined by extrinsic rather than intrinsic values.  For example, what is my GPA?  Which college/s did I get into?  Instead of: Do I respect myself and others? Am I a good listener? Do I think for myself and do what I believe is right, even when my stance might be unpopular?

Because their self-concept is usually based on how others perceive them, students from most public and mainstream schools are less confident, less sure of themselves. Their critical thinking and communication skills are usually inferior.  Some will have a certain amount of confidence and hope, but seldom to the degree that they would have if they had attended schools or learning centers that allowed them to flourish holistically! But many, especially in today’s profoundly challenging world, will feel depressed, powerless, scared, confused, lost.

Now, if your child is happy in the school s/he attends, and is learning both academically and humanistically, then of course leave her or him right there!  But make sure you know what the options are, because when your child gets a new teacher next year s/he may begin to dislike or even hate school.

School should be a place that kids ‘can’t wait’ to go to.  Sunday night, and late summer, should be times of great anticipation, not times of dread.

Now to the ‘getting into college’ question.  Children of legal school age who leave the regular school system – with parent or guardian’s consent – are considered homeschoolers.  (By the way, not to worry; if you opt for homeschooling you do not have to do any teaching!  Of course you can if you want to, but you do not have to – there are other people available to teach, and other ways, like apprenticing, for your child to learn; and we will tell you more about that in another writing.)

There are now close to two million homeschoolers in the United States; the number is growing every day.  On average, homeschoolers score at the 85th percentile in Reading, Writing, Math, etc., which makes them very qualified to do college level work.  In addition to their high scores, homeschoolers usually come across more accomplished and more confident on their applications and in their interviews.  AND they usually do better when they get to college than their ‘mainstream-schooled’ classmates.

Stanford University recently accepted 27% of their homeschooled students but only 13% of their traditionally-schooled applicants.  Harvard, Brown, Columbia, Bard, MIT, etc.  They all take homeschooled students!  (some with high school diplomas or GED’s; and some with no kind of diploma at all)

Here are some links:  (This one pertains more to young people with low academic skills, but much of the info relates to high-scoring homeschoolers too)   (excellent blog; Canadian-based but much of the info works for all homeschoolers)


OLA – Mindfulness into Action_2013-10-3


RH 202 1600-1800


  • Anna Heely
  • Courtney Furlong
  • David Weksler
  • Elizabeth Negrete
  • Mariana Vergara
  • Nadia Eran
  • Roger Dennis
  • Sandra Lesibu

Systemic Therapy training

Systemic Therapy or Family Constellations work has a powerful, healing and reconciling effect on a spiritual level, which mirrors itself in a positive way in the physical body. It was discovered by Bert Hellinger inspired by his 16 years observing the ancient knowledge of the Zulus in Africa.

Senior Planet proposal [David Weksler]

Lecture-Video clip – Education children acting like scientists [Elizabeth]

  • Cognitive abilities vs. non-cognitive abilities to be successful
  • Developing resultants
  • Building portfolios

Singing mantra concert [Maria Cecilia]

  • Finding meditation for self
  • Being in action
  • Inner voice being at peace when singing mantras

Mindfulness work group at TC [Elizabeth]

Concentrate on the present moment [Nadia]

Being in the third person [Mariana]

  • Observing your own behavior
  • Please read:
  • Action Inquiry by Bill Torbert, 2004
  • Collaborative Inquiry by Bray, Lee, Smith & Yorks, 2000

Creative Live – Learning channel [Roger Dennis]

  • Free online
  • Mindfulness and yoga

Norway government grant for Latin America research facility [Mariana]

Discussion of Second Person Action Inquiry

Re: TEDx Brain storming meeting

  • Need for technology in education
    • Is education flat?
    • Need for diversity in TEDx
    • Recording be interactive idea more of an experiential things than a lecture
    • What will the focus be? Theme?

Speaker- Stacy Robbins

Received with Victoria Marsick a grant for diversity initiative

Curriculum of adult learning leadership developing program

Develop master’s program curriculum to meet needs of students

  • Student voice – What do the students need?

Collaborative processes -What is design thinking?

• Methodology proven and repeatable problem solving protocol that any business or profession can employ to achieve extraordinary results.

Collaboration – ‘standing on the shoulders of others’

  • What has already been done?
  • Where are the students coming from?
  • What is the learning environment?

Bring together people who care:

  • Faculty
  • Students

Wine and cheese gathering October 17th, 2013 2000-2100 Check AWILDA

Advisor- Victoria Marsick

  • Ways to get involved
  • Check adult learning website- how must we develop Adult learning…
  • Teachers College adulating learning and leadership page


  • OLA
  • Dean’s Fellowship program [Stacy Robbins]